Thursday, April 3, 2008

Boys will be boys?




Yesterday while I was at work my son and his friend were playing basketball in his friend’s front yard. Two other boys, a sixth and eighth grader, snuck up and began shooting them with airsoft rifles. My son told these boys to stop, it wasn’t funny, it hurt. They did not stop. My son came home, told our sitter what was going on and got his own airsoft rifle and safety glasses and went out to scare them away. His gun was not loaded and he was shot several more times including once in the forehead. The babysitter began screaming at the instigators from an upstairs window and the kids rode off on their scooters.

Just as these kids were leaving my husband arrived home - dropping middle daughter off from ballet. He had to go back to work but was infuriated by the offending boys’ behavior. He called their parents. The boys said, “aw, shucks, it was nothing, we were just having airsoft wars.” And the father said, “oh, they were just having airsoft wars.” My husband was livid. My son had (has) welts all over his body.

This parent’s lacksidasical attitude angers me. Airsoft guns are NOT toys and there is no such thing as, “just airsoft wars.” And, really, there is no “soft” about it - watch this YouTube video to see what these guns are capable of. These weapons (yes, I called them weapons) need to be used in a controlled environment with appropriate protective gear and adult supervision. At risk of sounding like Ralphie’s mom - they can put an eye out (or worse). And, shockingly, I’d prefer my son remain visual through out his life.

The American Journal of Pediatrics flagged airsoft guns, as well as, BB, pellet and paintball guns as “...dangerous weapons capable of killing and maiming”. The report, Injury Risk of Nonpowder Guns, goes on to state that “...a persisting problem is a lack of medical recognition of the severity of injuries that can result from these guns, including penetration of the eye, skin, internal organs and bone... the potential seriousness of pneumatic weapon injury is frequently underestimated ... injuries from air guns should be treated in a manner similar to those from low-velocity powder firearms.”

This afternoon we got a call from one of my son’s friends. He left a message on our machine warning my son not to go outside after school because the shooter was plotting to return for another round. We called the shooter’s mother. She, thankfully, was livid and pulled her son out of school then brought him to our house to apologize to my son (who stayed home today). I don’t know what further action she will take but sincerely hope this boy is punished, not only for shooting my child but also for lying about the circumstances surrounding this event.

My son and I had a long talk about peer pressure, responsibility and honesty. He’s a great kid and I absolutely hate to see him targeted. I am proud of him for being honest and brave. I’m also glad he did not return fire on these children but am not happy he retrieved his own weapon. This incident is a mere preview of the teenage years to come. Oh lawdy!

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I picked my daughter up from school and relayed the day’s events.

She responded, “Oh crap!”

“Don’t say that,” I replied, “it’s not very lady-like.”

“I’m not a lady,” she said, “I’m a kid.”

“Okay then, it’s not very kid-like.”

“Do you know how many kids say crap?” she retorted

Well isn’t that just crap-tacular?!!

"And the world spins madly on...."

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Today is Love Thursday at Shutter Sisters. And this post is all about love. I love my son. I love my children. I want them to be safe, happy, healthy, honest, courageous, forthright and kind. And I want them to have eyeballs, two a piece, for ever and ever.

4 comments:

Green Eyed Girl said...

That is one dangerous "toy". I can't believe kids are allowed to play with them!
Hopefully this bully gets punished and realizes that he could have seriously injured someone.
Happy Love Thursday!

Deb said...

Holy crap, I watched that video. And they let kids have these? Why

Bridge said...

Our son has an airsoft rifle and I like you, have been shocked to find out that kids actually have "wars" with them. It has prevented many a overnight for our son. :(

earthmama said...

Crap is the word around here. We're very sophisticated in New England. My 4 year old has taken to shouting, "You having a crap attack?" whenever he passes by a closed bathroom door. Ah, the pride! I'm such a lucky mother. Hope your son's welts clear up quickly : )
Lisa, homeschooling mother of 4 (3 of which are boys)