After Christmas on Vulcan I would call my best friend and ask him what presents he got. We could compare notes and then meet up to play with our toys or to show them off. (Because Christmas is so much better if you got cooler toys than your friends.)
If this year we were playing war, I needed a big gun like, the Johnny Seven O.M.A. – One Man Army Gun – Topper Toys 1964
The best selling boys toy of 1964! Seven guns in one, which included: Grenade Launcher, Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher, Anti Bunker Missile Launcher, Armor Piercing Shell, Rifle fires 10 Bullets, Slide Bolt Action Machine Gun, Detachable Cap Pistol which fires shells. Detachable Stock & built in Bi-Pod. Over 3 feet long!
Description from Time Warp Toys
“You’ve won with Johnny Seven, the one man army gun!”
As you can see from this commercial, we were training to become the leaders of squads of commandos in World War II, so we wanted needed armor piercing shells and anti-tank rocket launcher to take out the Nazi tanks and save the world.
Later, during the cold war, we were training to become spies. Spies were cool. You worked alone, your gun needed to be concealed, you brought it out at the last minute to take out the bad guys. We also did covert ops with hidden communication methods, which was cool. In our fantasy world nobody knew we were a spy, until we saved the day from the commies.
“You might think I’m an ordinary guy, but in the sinister world of counter espionage I’m known as Agent Zero M”
Doesn’t Kurt Russel look cool?
TV advertisers understood all this, they knew what we wanted and started cranking out the toy guns and the ads.
Some people, *cough* moms *cough* didn’t understand why we needed guns
Moms didn’t understand our need for guns, They confused our heroic fantasies with the real world.
For some reason they thought shooting enemies or being the hero was a bad thing. Worst, they thought about the kids on the other end of the guns playing the enemy who might not have a Johnny Seven, who might want to protect themselves.
In the real world, you don’t run toward the gun fire. You are careful with where you point a gun and who you point it at. In the real world you protect yourself from gunfire by finding cover and wearing protective gear.
Some manufacturer must have listened to concerned adults and made the Super Helmet Seven.
I mean seriously, a helmet? For Christ’s sake, you might as well put a big “kick me” sign on the kids back. Also, what is the play value of a helmet? Zero. They just sit there and protect you, they don’t let you be the hero.
As I grew up I learned the difference between reality and fantasy. I learned logic, and the problems with making decisions based on emotion instead of reason, and how my human half didn’t want to listen to reason.I learned about statistics and media hype and how facts can be ignored with a good emotional story or clever tag line.
But the little boy in me missed the gun action fantasy. I missed comparing whose toy gun was bigger or stealthier . I especially missed being the hero and taking out bad guys with my perfect shots. Eventually I found other action adventures, others ways to be the hero and other ways to protect myself and my family.
But not everyone wants to let go of their fantasies, so they transform entire states into their castle, where their rights, skills and decision making power are perfect and overrule other’s rights.
In this fantasy world showing off a big gun intimidates the bad guys. In this fantasy world a hidden gun gives them a license to kill.
Media hype of mass shootings is used to ignore boring statics of thousands of negligent and accidental shootings.
Wanting to be an action hero doesn’t make you one
As the year unfolds I’m going to be reminding people of how dangerous the concealed gun carriers heroic fantasies are to the rest of us.
I’ll also use some statistics, like this one: