A serious discussion about Toys R Us, approriateness, and parenting

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I wrote about a Florida Mom who wanted Toys R Us to pull Breaking Bad action figures from its shelves; she argued that the toys are inappropriate for children and therefore shouldn’t be sold. Her petition reached 9,000 signatures, and the retailer gave in. The toys, it announced, were on “indefinite sabbatical.” Aaron Paul, an actor from Breaking Bad, responded quickly and with force – much moreso than his costar had. He supported a counter-petition which has far exceeded the number of signatures that the original one received. This argument goes back and forth.

The argument made by the pro-toy group is that these action figures aren’t for the kids at all; they are for adults who collect action figures. They aren’t sold with the Barbies and the GI Joes, and the clerks know better than to sell them to small kids. The anti-toy group argues that these toys glamorize meth.

At the end of the day, the two groups are talking past each other. The point that neither of them is making is that responsible parenting should be key.

The first time I shot a real gun, I was 34. I took five shots in a skeet shooting tournament, hit one target, and promptly lost. However, I had shot toy guns before – water guns, nerf guns, whathaveyou. I don’t think that these toys were similar to the real thing, mind you. But that’s the point. Toys R Us sells guns to children. Where are the protests; where is the outrage? Wal-Mart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Bass Pro Shops will sell REAL guns to children. Where is the outrage there?

There generally is none. Kids, after all, can’t just buy a gun at Wal-Mart. They need a parent to buy it for them. Parents take responsibility for the actions of their children. There are school shootings – another one happened on Friday. As we look for answers, we talk about violent video games, and we talk about guns. But nobody talks about taking the guns off of the shelves. There’s no will to do that. We did institute a video game rating system, so parents would be educated – they have to buy some games for their children. Parents have to make the decision to let their child play certain games. And we, as a country, have decided that for now, that’s okay. Some people aren’t happy with the solution but it is a good one.

Parents choose to buy guns for their children. We may not all agree with it, but we leave the decision to the parents. Parents choose to buy violent video games for their children. Parents decide what is right for their children. Except here. Here, one mom in Florida decided that the Guppy can’t play with these toys. I don’t get the ability to choose for my own daughter.

What’s next?

 

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