What would you do if your kiddo came running, frantically trying to get in the house, holding this? Would your first thought be oh, it’s just a toy? Or would the panic from your kiddo make you think, even for a split second, that it’s real? This happened to me, a second amendment pushing citizen, and my first thought was not that it was a toy. One of our kiddos found it near our home, and he didn’t know it wasn’t a “real” gun either.
Now, imagine if you are a law enforcement officer and you’re called to neighborhood because someone saw a kid with a gun. It’s winter, and the kid has their hood up, so you can’t see their face. As with most kids these days, they have earbuds in, with music blaring, completely unaware of the world around them. You don’t know how old they are, their skin color, or even their gender. All you can see is someone with a gun, who isn’t responding to you. What would you do?
We used this experience to talk to our kids about safety. Toy safety. Gun safety. Life safety. Possible crime scene safety. Being aware of our surroundings. Being respectful to authority.
Unfortunately, perception can alter reality. And unfortunately, people rarely assume the best case scenario. I can have all the talks I want with my kids, but I can’t alter anyone else’s perceptions or assumptions. Maybe we could all be a little more aware.