Anti-Gun Mom Realized She Was 'Desensitized' to Guns at Laser Tag Party

Daylight! Hangover! #facepalm

I'm old enough to remember when laser tag guns and vests were first advertised on TV. It looked awesome to we young folks and I desperately wanted a set. My parents declined to get it for me, noting that unless other kids in the neighborhood had them, they'd be useless.

And I suspect other parents presented similar arguments to my friends, which is why none of us ever got them.

Someone eventually figured out how to get around that argument. Businesses popped up offering laser tag, where you'd pay a few dollars and get a bit of time blasting away at your friends and family. They started hosting parties like minigolf places and Chuckie Cheese do, and it seems to be a lucrative venture for some people.

But for one anti-gun mom, it's a symbol of something wrong with our society or something. Why? She claims she realized she'd become "desensitized" to guns while her kid was at such a party.

How does a strict anti-gun proponent make sense if a woman straps a flashing flak vest onto her six-year-old son so he can be ready to fight? She does it with a weary smile, because she doesn't want to be seen as silly. Let me paint you the picture: a small, dark room filled with 25 first-graders battling for room to display their gun stances. "Show me how you hold your guns," the bubbly brunette woman said. "You can shoot each other anywhere — the body or even in the face. You can also shoot the squares on the walls."


He headed down and comforted the boy who was rubbing his calf. "Are you okay now? Want to get back out there?" the dad shouted. And just like a good soldier, he smiled, got back in gear, and cradled his weapon. For me, a mere month after Veteran's Day and the Paris terrorist massacre, I didn't know how to process the experience. And now, after the San Bernardino massacre, I feel just as confused over whether children playing with toy guns is problematic or innocent fun.

I stumbled out of the darkness now that my son was relaxed and off on his own. I sank down to the hallway floor as a father with four kids stepped up to the window. "Five, please," he said. "That will be fifty dollars," the attendant replied. "Fifty bucks?!" the youngest child questioned. "Yup," the father said. "For fifteen minutes." They excitedly ran down the hallway and prepared to fight. I know this isn't the real world of guns and fighting, but I couldn't help but wonder if it's harmless fun or the next step to desensitizing my child to guns. There's no real discussion about this question amongst the parents. I mean, how can this be harmful? They're just having fun, right?

She's upset, of course, because her kid actually did have fun and wants to have a laser tag party himself, thus breaking her rule of never allowing her kids to play with toy guns. Then again, she also argues that it started earlier, that she'd let her kids play with water guns and things like that.

Yet this is part of the problem with anti-gun parents who seem to have this fixation that playing with toy guns might well lead to violent outcomes for children.

That's absolute nonsense.

What she's upset about is that she hasn't done a very good job of creating the kind of paranoia in her children that she, herself possesses.

See, these are toys. Laser tag guns aren't even particularly gun-like in many ways. They have the rough outline, but they don't look like anything you'd see in a gun store. Most water guns don't either.

It's not that the author is "desensitized" to anything. It's that the part of her brain that she thinks should be screaming at her about the danger recognizes that there's absolutely nothing wrong. It's not screaming because those aren't actually firearms for crying out loud.

Instead of trying to restrict guns from one's home, it would make a lot more sense to use toy guns as a way to impart firearm safety lessons at a time when there are absolutely no chances of an injury should they falter. That's what my father did with me, though I didn't understand it at the time, and it's what I've done with my kids.

But some people are so freaked out by the possibility that someone they care about might possibly own a gun that they want to cut their children off from gun-shaped objects entirely.

Yet I hate to break it to her. Unless she's watched her children like hawks, they've found a way to play with guns even if she didn't want them playing with toy guns. After all, gun-shaped sticks were a perfectly satisfying substitute in my youth and they still are today.

What gets me, though, is this whole paranoia about anything remotely firearm-shaped in a child's hands. Real guns? Oh, absolutely. I'm right there, but this isn't about kids getting hold of real firearms. No, this is about them enjoying toys, as if everything has to be a political statement.

But you know what? I hope it is. I hope them playing with toy guns makes them pro-gun in the future. I hope they buy tons of firearms and their mom freaks out about it but can't do anything.


Because this is America and we have a right to keep and bear arms, one that's protected by our Constitution, and moms who don't like it can learn to deal with disappointment.