So, a little bit of praise for my son. He likes to play video games, and he loves all kinds and platforms. He plays multiple emulators on my computer from Atari 2600 to Super Nintendo. He plays my PS2 and PS3. He loves the music, the action, the way the games are put together, and the challenge.
Meanwhile my wife has a bit of a freak out when he plays certain video games, like Black Ops for instance. He enjoys the shooting and the bombing and the stealth and the screaming Rambo maneuvers into the fray. She worries that it’s fostering some of the wrong tendencies.
Yesterday, the father of one of his friends showed up to take *his* boy shooting. He and Iain were playing video games together at the time. The dad brought an AK-47, the real deal with a folding stock and a forward grip. This is a gun Iain uses often in the game. His friend was awed, his other friend was awed. They wanted to look at the gun, hold it, see what it was like. They were surprised how heavy a real assault rifle is.
Iain… wasn’t interested. At all. When offered to hold the AK he merely said “Nah, it’s okay.”
I asked him about it later, why he didn’t want to see what a real AK-47 was like. He told me “I don’t know. I just think real life guns are scary.”
I grew up around firearms. They don’t scare me, and I’ve lost the childlike awe of things that go boom. I still enjoy shooting, and I still think firearms are pretty awesome. Hell, one of my favourite online shows is FPS Russia, where a guy with a fake Russian accent shoots some of the most exquisite guns in the world. I have favourites – I don’t think there’s a better carrying weapon than the Glock 30. I think the Mossberg 930 is one of the best shotguns I’ve ever used. I’ve shot an AK-47, but I prefer the AK-74 because I like the smaller cartridge and the improvements made over the standard AK-47 design. I love guns but I don’t own any.
One of the first things my dad taught me about guns is that they aren’t toys. They are weapons. Guns are designed for one purpose — to kill things. Guns don’t make anything, they destroy. Guns are useful, they’re interesting, and they are deadly. Always treat a gun with respect. In short, yes, real life guns are kind of scary.
My nine year old understands this fact, even though he’s killed more people (in video games) than Chuck Norris and Rambo combined. He loves playing video games where you shoot things, yet he has no desire to hold, let alone use, a real gun. I’ve thought about taking him out to the range, renting a couple of guns, and teaching him how to use it. Now, ya know, I think I’ll wait. If he wants to learn, he knows where I am.
Besides, you don’t have to buy ammo for a video game gun.