A politically incorrect Christmas?

Mitch Dorr

As I write this column, the noise in the background is of my three sons actively trying to kill each other…. well, not exactly. Each of the boys received Nerf dart guns from Santa. Who would have thought that Santa and the NRA would ever form a pact? I wish they had formed that partnership when I was five years old!

My oldest boy, Adam, got the Nerf dart machine gun that fires off 35 darts as fast as you can pump the action. The35-dart drum on that gun looks like a cross between oldschool “Tommy Gun” and a new sci-fi gadget. Paul, our youngest boy, also received a dart gun, but because of his age, he was limited to a six-dart magazine. Jacob, our middle boy, received the Nerf bow and arrow (more like a cross-bow) and is flinging those arrows (more like bombs) wherever an enemy lies. Even our preschool daughter, Rachel, received her first handgun, which is only a single shot Nerf gun. Needless to say, she gets back-up protection from mom and dad.

While many people don’t like toy guns, I love them. I want my kids to be able to play around and have fun while using their imaginations. Cops and robbers, good guys and bad guys, hunting for deer and bear, etc. are all acceptable games at our house. We even have a full body target at home.

As a parent it is my responsibility to teach the difference between “make-believe” and “real life.” We don’t currently have television programming, so that helps, as the idiot box has never played substitute to a parent in our house. Our kids have all seen my hunting rifles and know how important it is to be safe and cautious. When I take them bird hunting in the fall, there are clear cut rules that they have to obey. If they don’t, then no hunting with Dad!

One of our boys got his first B-B gun for Christmas from Grandpa this year. I am looking forward to teaching him how to shoot and how to be responsible with his new gun. He was being taught the importance of safety from the time the new Daisy came out of the box. “Don’t aim at anyone, even when it is unloaded”; “Never assume your gun is unloaded”; “Here is the safety”; etc.

Many people don’t like guns and I understand that. I do like guns and think it is a fundamental right of American citizens to own one. However, with that being said, I also think it is an incredible responsibility. Our young people need to be taught the importance of safety and caution. Thatcomes directly from the influence of involved parents, grandparents, and guardians.

Last night, I was playing Big Game Hunter on the Nintendo Wii when a bear came out of the woods and attacked. The three kids jumped over the couch and peered over the cushions while I tried like mad to fend him off with my Remington 12-gauge shotgun. Who says you can’t teach the difference between make believe and real life?

Mitch Dorr, a Cook County High School Class of 1993 graduate, is now a social studies teacher and coach at his former alma mater. Mitch coaches Vikings football and boys’ basketball. Coach Dorr’s comments do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the ISD 166 school board or administration.


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