Put Away Childish Murderous Things (Commentary on "A child-size rifle with cartoon skulls,...


The ATF (and the FDA, by similar measures) have failed in many ways while compromising the principle of effectively regulating life threatening commodities. They ceded on the side of profit and profiteers a long time ago. Marketing taps into cultural veins, and in turn helps to create, boost and steer them. It's a vicious cycle.

Guns have been part of that conveyance/purveyance since the first Wild West shows that played to settlers, farmers and ranchers during the great expansion. It portrayed the culture to its own, thereby presenting them an identity they could then further celebrate, while the rest of impressionable America emulated cowboys, outlaws, rough riders, soldiers, territorial urban and suburban gangsters etc.

I remember candy cigarettes and bubble gum cigars. Joe Camel was eventually deemed overtly and improperly geared toward children. Kids have been seeing beer commercials since they were old enough to see a TV from their playpens. For a time, liquor commercials were barred from broadcast media. Health warning requirements and other disclaimers continue to provide stopgap loopholes for corporate deniability. I know I'm not alone in finding most of those Rx ads borderline ghoulish, but that's a kind of other story.
I was somewhat astonished not by its presence, but the magnitude of the cultural marketing of children's toys that included not only these toy assault rifles, but reams of posters venerating historical gangsters when my wife and I recently stopped by a Flea Market just south of Los Angeles.

I realized that Al Pacino as Scarface was a turning point that's hence headed more directly in the direction of more seemingly martyred Narco kingpins much more current, tangible and championing violence.  
The Far Right media continues to cultivate the mental illness they cite as the "true" problem, but there is wiggle room within the taboo realm of safety regulations. Legislated lines have been periodically drawn, most of which succeeded in moving the status quo ever so slightly toward intractable progress.

This current cultural moment presents not only mass casualties at our daily doorsteps, but an all too overdue opportunity for such a legislative step.

For fetishist adults and kids that aspire to "have one just like it", these combat devices should be banned and taken off the market. They should be safely locked away with the grenade launchers, tanks, jet fighters and candy cigarettes. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.