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Disarming the toy box
Providence program destroys children’s toy guns

By Maria Cramer
Globe Staff / December 19, 2010

PROVIDENCE — Dominic Johnson, a 10-year-old fourth-grader with a fledgling Mohawk, brandished his black, long-nosed toy gun and caressed the muzzle appreciatively.

“It’s like a shotgun mixed with a rifle,’’ he said, as his mother, April, told him to stop pointing it at nearby children.
Soon it would be junk.

Dominic joined dozens of children yesterday at the annual Toy Gun Bash in the gymnasium of Pleasant View Elementary School. There, they lined up to toss their toy guns, from dainty purple water guns to camouflage-painted pistols, inside the Bash-O-Matic, a large black, foam creature with churning metal teeth and the shape of a cockroach spliced with a frog.

Prodded by Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, who wore a fuzzy Santa hat, the children stared curiously as the Bash-O-Matic mashed up their guns and digested them into a plastic bin near its tail.

“He ate it,’’ squealed one delighted little girl.

’Tis the season for joy, peace, and grinding up plastic, orange-tipped AK-47s.
For seven years, Providence municipal and law enforcement officials have organized the event around Christmastime as a way to raise awareness of the dangers of playing with guns, real or fake. The event is a mix of the macabre and the playful, a children’s version of the gun buyback program in which adults trade firearms for gift certificates.

Yesterday, younger children ran through a rubber obstacle course while officials told the older children the story of a 14-year-old boy who police nearly shot after they confused his air pistol with a real gun.
In exchange for their toy guns, all the children received wrapped presents that were indisputably not violent — dolls, stuffed animals, and board games like checkers.

Some children were not thrilled with the trade.

Malik Hall, a round-eyed second-grader, looked apprehensive as he stood in line with his favorite toy, a thick, blue gun with plastic sword underneath the muzzle. The 8-year-old was furious when his mother, Amanda, told him he would have to give it up. Yesterday morning, he tried to hide it under his pillow, she said.

“I’m worried,’’ she said. “He might cry.’’
But when it was his turn, Malik strode dry-eyed and with quiet dignity to the Bash-O-Matic and fed it the gun. When his mother approached, he said nothing.

“You don’t want to talk to me?’’ Hall asked. He looked at her stonily and left to retrieve his gift.

Hall said she had no regrets. The 26-year-old mother of six said she has been trying to wean her only son off toy guns for years. In kindergarten, he brought a pop gun to school and shot at a classmate when the child refused to return his toy truck.

The police and representatives of the state’s children services department rushed to the school, and the boy was expelled.

“He had it in his pants like a gangster,’’ Hall said. Yesterday, she had six other of his guns to feed the Bash-O-Matic, but she admitted she had let Malik keep one, a small pistol that shoots rubber targets.

“I mean, he is a boy,’’ she said.

Many of the children at yesterday’s gun bash were not making anything like Malik’s sacrifice.

Some parents confessed that they bought guns just a couple of days before the event so their children could get a gift or watch the Bash-O-Matic do its work.

“He likes the feeling of breaking things without getting in trouble,’’ said Dominic’s mother, April Johnson, who bought his gun just a couple of days ago.

One parent was motivated by tragedy.
Ardella Powell, 28, who came with her four children, said she wants to see the guns destroyed because it helps her cope with the violent death of the father of her 11-year-old son. The man was gunned down in 2003.

“I tell them that this is for a good cause,’’ she said. “It’s not just for a toy.’’
About 200 children attended the gun bash, said Jim Baum, a prosecutor with Lynch’s office who helps run it. The event used to be held four or five times a year, but budget cuts have forced them to scale back the program, he said. City and state employees donate many of the toys, along with nearby businesses.

“We hope it makes a difference,’’ Baum said.
Diane Levin, professor of education at Wheelock College, said police and parents coming together to destroy toy guns sends a powerful message to children.

But adults should follow up with children to explain the complexities of weapons and violence so they can more efficiently counter the seductive image of guns in movies and video games.

“It’s one piece of what needs to happen around this issue,’’ said Levin, coauthor of “The War Play Dilemma.’’ “There is also this side of [children] trying to understand why are there guns there, and why do people use them? When kids are getting all kinds of other messages about guns, it’s a more complicated issue than just having one day about how guns are bad.’’

Feel-good nonsense for the mommies and school staff. Stunts like this probably have the opposite effect on the kids, but it will be years later before little Johnny goes berserk. :s0131:
Seems to be a matter of the parents not willing to teach their own children the safety aspect and just wanting the issue to go away. Definately a sad state of affares when the child grows up and has to defend themselves because of the police only being minutes away. Well at least they will know how to play checkers and have tea parties with their dolls and stuffed animals while waiting in the camp for their turn.
Building a future generation of gun hating voters. Getting them ready for the next big ban push. :s0131:

Guns are evil johnny! Here, play with this doll. :s0112:
Just more of the incremental indoctrination by the progressive liberals. Find out what the people can take and indoctrinate real slow. When the people figure out what they are up to, they hope it's too late to stop.
I guess all the criminal cases are closed and the crime rate is down to nothing in Providence. The Attorney General has the time to bring his scary toy gun eating monster to a school and promote his agenda. Been doing it for seven years? If I were a taxpayer in that town, I would be furious.

Who paid for the Bash-O-Matic and the dolls? How many kids were traumatized by the thing?

Why aren't the kids learning things like math, reading, science instead of running around a rubber obstacle course and telling stories? Sounds like romper-room not a school. I'm surprised they found the time between global warming lectures and recess to do this.

Again, if I lived there, the next time they wanted to raise taxes "for the children" or "public safety", this would all be thrown in their faces. They must have plenty of funding if they can waste like this.


But adults should follow up with children to explain the complexities of weapons and violence so they can more efficiently counter the seductive image of guns in movies and video games.
This is a bizarre statement - explain the complexities of weapons? Heck most of these parents probably would not know a .22 from a .222 and they are being relied upon to provide the recommended follow up? My daughter definitely understands the complexities of weapons - especially when she sees a 1911 or Winchester scattered on the coffee table!
All three of my teenage kids are growing up with guns in the house. Despite Dad's near borderline obsession with All Things Firearm , my oldest daughter will shoot with Dad, but doesn't beg to, and neither my son nor youngest daughter has any interest in doing so at all. Since the 'fruit is not forbidden', as it were, my children find Dad's firearms as about as exciting and enticing as my tablesaw or the family's toaster.

All three of my teenage kids are growing up with guns in the house. Despite Dad's near borderline obsession with All Things Firearm , my oldest daughter will shoot with Dad, but doesn't beg to, and neither my son nor youngest daughter has any interest in doing so at all. Since the 'fruit is not forbidden', as it were, my children find Dad's firearms as about as exciting and enticing as my tablesaw or the family's toaster.


And that is the best way to have it.


as children mature they will rebel against these events and become "more" consumers of guns. The male children will likely become the consumers, however, if the program chair was a women, the girl children will likely model the woman chair's ideolody.

I assume this is Providence, Rhode Island. These are "Easterners" with a very narrow, if not, frightening mind set. Rhode Island is basically a haven for slum thinkers and armchair ideologues. Would you want to send your Western teen to Brown University or the University of Colorado. Which school would represent "Western" thinking. Would you expect your western college student and hypothetically, a graduate from one of the Western States schools with a degree in teachering to be politically supportive of being an anti-gunner. ****, guns are part of our Western culture and saved lives in both WWI and WWII so these bozos could be free thinkers.
Do the Boy Scouts of America still have a Merit Badge for 'Marksmanship"?

I hate the idea of these pukes teaching anything to kids.

I want a law passed the teaches the 'Bill of Rights' and 'Washington State Constitution' in public school.

How can anyone know their Rights are being violated if they don't know what they are?
I don't see the problem.I don't like the idea of toy guns anyway.
Guns aren't toys.

As far as this crap doing anything to the kids? The parents should be teaching the kids right from wrong anyway.
This should have no effect.
And while you're at it, teach them that the proper way to deal with something you disagree with, is to destroy it.

Bash-o-matic indeed. Feed some of those school administrators into the damn thing.
If this kind of thing happens at my son's school when he starts, I will have him absent from school that day, and I will take him shooting instead and give him some real gun safety education.
That's a classic example of brainless-simpleton "remedies".... :rolleyes:

I'm on the downhill side of 43 now, and I had all sorts of toy-guns when I was a kid. We played "Army", and "Cowboys & Indians" ALL the time, and we made the toy guns look as realistic as possible too. That being said, I never (nor any of my childhood friends) went off the "deep end", BUT in today's "social environment" I have kept the "toy guns" my children have had to "Super-Soaker" water guns, and even that was a brief excursion as they moved on to other things that captured their attention.

My main reason for "restricting" the toy gun thing for my kids is that IMHO kids are "wired" differently these days with all the first person shooter video games (they're playing HALO-3 as I type...LOL), gang-culture "glorification" in the schools and "pop culture", etc. Also, during my 8-yrs. of Army service I have seen first hand (and re-live it daily) the terrible damage you can do with firearms, and decided I din't want my kids trained to take pointing a firearm at someone as a idiotic fool would.

I have 16 different firearms in my "ever growing" collection that I have let my six kids participate in to the degree they are interested in it. They have handled them, shot them, helped clean them, and most importantly RESPECT them, but they are ALWAYS locked in the gun-safe when not in my DIRECT control... but that just me. :s0155:
Every morning I wake up, I make sure I thank GOD (if there is one) for not having any kids.

It's been 11 years since I've gotten out of school (finished high school)..... 11 years ago I was much younger and dumber lol but even then I knew that the public education system was a joke, can't imagine what it's like now. Oh guns are so bad, that is why the police carry them. If I ever became a parent, I would teach my kids all about guns, the good and the bad. Anyone with half of a brain knows that education is the key..... educate your kids and they will have a brighter and happier future. Why don't we focus more on teaching kids a second language at an earlier age and not wait till they are in high school? instead of teaching them useful things at an early age we brainwash them and have them color books like humans with mental RE TAR DATION. Why don't we focus on good and healthy foods in our schools? why don't we focus more on school budgets and actually providing education to the kids? Oooooh how about helping kids with their problems so they don't come back to school and shoot up the place or go commit suicide because they were being picked on made fun of? but I guess it's just a lot easier to brainwash

Parents also need to understand that it's their job to make sure their kids are getting the education they need.... some people just take their kids to school and drop them off and assume it's all good, they don't know what the schools are doing to the kids. If I had a kid, there is no way in heck I would let him or her attend public school.... are you kidding me?
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