April 4, 2007

Alarmist Ravings of a Paranoid Mom

Spike and I went to dinner last night at Red Lobster. There was a fifteen minute wait to be seated so I cozied in next to the lobster tank and observed the final, boring moments of their damp lives. In this mild melancholy, I looked up at the entrance of a small family. There was a mother, father and a young son. The boy looked about seven and brandished a small plastic pistol. He jumped around his parents legs and aimed at them mischievously while making those amazing gun noises that only little boys are able to make. His dad played along and grabbed the pistol and holstered it, Clint Eastwood style in his jeans pocket. Then he flipped it out to point at his son. The boy squealed with delight. The mother stood to the side and smiled affectionately at her boys.

I was surprised at how affected I was at their harmless play. Spike leaned over to me and commented that we would never let our kids have toy guns. Of course not, I agreed. But we have a girl. What do we know about raising men? Do boys need this kind of play? Is it harmless? Inevitable?

My daughter is mild mannered and I've never had to consider whether or not to buy toy weapons for her. She has eyes only for fluffy animals. I have a feeling my rigid stance at the restaurant will be tested when we have a little boy who cries for battle each moment of his existence. Then we'll see gray areas. Do you buy him boxing gloves? Swords? Guns that are brightly colored? Let him play with guns as long as he don't point them at people?

I take care of a friend's children once a week. Usually she just drops off her two little girls and it's two hours of tea parties and dress ups. But sometimes she brings her 9 year old son. I am consistently amazed at how different the play becomes when he comes. Recently the girls were sitting primly in the family room enjoying a pretend picnic when the boy came in with a basketful of plastic food. "Can I join your picnic?" he asked the girls. "Sure!" was their sweet reply as they eyed his contribution. The boy then looked at me conspiratorially, motioned to the plastic fruits and whispered, "these are all bombs!" He set the fruit down on the table and watched with glee while the little girls unwittingly ate bombs for their picnic. It made him ridiculously happy.

And that's what little boys are made of. They'll find a way to blow up little girls whether or not you physically arm them. They'll use spoons as guns to hold up the Cabbage Patch Kids. They'll employ their deadly ninja powers to obliterate any obstacle you put before them. This exuberant, puppy-like will to destroy is one of the crazy reasons why we adore them. But do we disservice them by putting actual toy weapons in their hands? I'm surprised that stores even sell realistic looking toy guns anymore after all the school shootings we've experienced in America.

So I ask you mothers of men: what are your rules for raising Hercules? How do you encourage strength and confidence while also instilling a respect for life? At what point do you begin worrying that your child has crossed some line and is becoming the next Mike Tyson? This girlie girl's mom has no idea.

55 comments:

Adrienne said...

Not that I can pop in and give mom advice, but if it makes you feel any better, Francis often slings our cats over one shoulder (head facing back, cat-butt facing forward), makes explodey noises and refers to it as the "shoulder mounted cat launcher."

He's 26 and he can make our household pets into weapons of mass destruction. Reason number 2,468 why we should not be allowed to have kids.

glittersmama said...

Sports?

The Wiz said...

I'm sorry, but isn't this the same blog that recently posted a video of boys shooting things randomly?

Sarah said...

Ahh, the gun post! That was entertaining. But like I said in that post, I don't get it. Now a shoulder mounted cat launcher, that's just common sense.

Awesome Mom said...

I wish I could help you. Grew up in a family of girls so I am pretty girled out. So what happens next? I give birth to two boys. They are still young enough that they have not discovered guns or any other weapon. What I am planning on doing is not buying them weapons (unless it is a super cool sword cuz who does not like a good sword fight) and just see what happens. If they ask for a gun like toy I will take it into consideration.

Toni said...

I have 2 boys, 13 and 4. I have NEVER encouraged 'weapon' play. They will do it anyway. It has to be in their DNA. Although David is outta that stage, Luke is entering it. I would love it if they didn't do this, but fat chance of that happening. Neither boy has every had a gun, toy or real, but they will pick up a stick or whatever, and it is a weapon. I figure they are using their imagination, so why fight it?? I would never win.

The Wiz said...

I'm just saying, if you have boys and don't want them to play with guns, keep them away from your BIL, and anyone else in that video.

Melinda Beth said...

Not to worry. I don't think all little boys are murder-hungry ravenous imps. My 4 year old son came downstairs this morning and instinctively told his little sister how pretty she looked in her dress. He has a plastic knight's sword that he only occasionally uses when my daughters want to play "slay the dragon." I love to dote on his natural tendencies towards tenderness. Hmmm....maybe he's gay. I'm going to go buy some waterguns and slingshots.

The Wiz said...

Oh, and boys will turn anything into a weapon whether they have the toys or not. Bananas, their hands, sticks, what have you. It just happens.

drainey said...

ah, sarah, you amaze me. You aren't too tired and pregnant to tolerate a debate, let alone start one!

With my 10-year old son I decided to wait until he asked for a gun or a sword. He NEVER DID. He never made improvised homemade weapons either. Once in a while he waved a stick around or threw a rock, but not to any great extent.

If I had a son that was truly interested in that stuff, I would let him do it. The percentage of boys with toy guns who become murderers is probably the same as the precentage of girls with dress up clothes that become ballerinas.

I think the real obstacle here is getting past what other parents think of us. I am impressed by the family in the restaurant for being thier own happy selves, even in public.

Basic Black with Pearls said...

Can we be non-PC here? I think the reason boys naturally play aggressively and make things into toy weapons is that they grow up to protect their families and fight for territory, just as the lower species. If there were no one willing to take up weapons and fight in real life, we wouldn't be sitting here on our padded rears blogging peacefully into cyberspace. I'm for peace, but I'm a realist. The world is an aggressive place. Someone's got to man the front ranks. The history of the world turns on battles won and lost, like it or not.

As a member of a "lower species," let me just tell you that when I go to the dog park, I realize in one big hurry what aggression is like. Good thing I'm so big, black and strong or those other dogs would run right over me! As it is, they're quite impressed by my size, my grace, my sleek beauty, my powerful jaws and very large and sharp teeth.

annie said...

I was raised the oldest of 5 girls and 1 boy (the youngest). I didn't see much of his life since I left for college when he was 2.

Now I am the mother of 1 girl and 4 boys! Raising boys is an experience every single day. My daughter is calm and generally quiet. My boys play, loud, hard and wild. They have many toy weapons and play battle/combat constantly. I honestly think they are genetically programed that way. I have seen them make a weapon out of sticks and bite a piece of toast into a gun shape. Boys will be Boys! Embrace it.

Sarah said...

Now that the non-PC dog has weighed in, this debate has some real teeth to it. I agree that boys being competitive and aggressive (to a certain extent) is a good thing. It's facilitating realistic gangster role play that makes me scratch my head.

Somewhat unrelated scrap of info - on the local news the other day they showed a spot on some local parents who were arrested for teaching their one year old to smoke pot. I think he'd be much better off with a few fake guns instead.

amyjane said...

My little boy is only 17 months old and I can attest that boys are in fact very different from girls. He is WAY more physical in his play, inclined to run and yell, and likely to bodyslam his AG Bitty Baby doll. But he's also prone to wrap the dolly up and pat it to sleep, help cook in the kitchen and throw his arms around your neck and exclaim, " I wub you, mom!" I think there's a lot you can do to socialize the male instinct and drive without killing it. (no pun intended, of course)

Janell said...

Have you considered the possibility of when theoretic, gun-loving little child becomes old enough to enroll him in classes at a local gun range teaching gun saftey? That way you can set him up ever week, let him go get his target practice, and, hopefully, gain a healthy respect for them.

Elizabeth said...

There have been some interesting studies done on this subject and especially the nature vs nurture aspect. Here are links to a couple of articles: Baby X experiment, How Parents Raise Boys and Girls

Ben Everton said...

Toy guns don't kill people. Your evil brother in law kills people.

I think you're missing the most significant part of this story: the kid had a day that was willing to play with him. That is a hundred thousand times more of a determining factor in his development than whether or not he plays with a toy gun.

If I had to guess whether the recent spate of school shootings was due to kids playing with toy guns (as they have done for 200 years) or due to the disintegration of the family... I think I'd put my money on the latter.

Ben Everton said...

* and by "kid had a day" of course I meant "kid had a dad."

Adventures in Baby Fat said...

I can only say what we do with our 4-year-old. Teach him to play with them safely, don't point about people and educate him what real weapons are for.

HOnestly, if they're predisposed to that kind of play, they're going to do it whether it's with a Barbie doll or a toy gun.

Don't be surprised if your son plays guns while watching one of the Disney princess movies. That's a head scratcher for ya!

Sarah said...

Great point about the dad, Ben. I also loved Rainey's suggestion that girls are no more likely to end up ballerinas because they dress up like them.

Ben Everton said...

So what would you do if your little boy liked to dress up and play ballerina?

(Answer: Have your daughter execute him with a toy gun)

CACKEL said...

Adrienne, you guys should FOR SURE have kids. What little kid woudn't love a dad with a "shoulder-mounted cat launcher"? He sounds like a fun guy.

Ben Everton, I was so happy to see that you showed up in the discussion. When Ben Everton talks, something witty and interesting is bound to be said. Good points too.

Silly Marie said...

My husband buys some sort of weapon for our nephew every year for his birthday. It kinda cracks me up. I agree with jenell and drainey. You don't have to be the initiator in the weaponry, but if they want them, let them play and teach them safety while at it.

I mean, we had water guns when I was little and I didn't grow up to be a psychopathic killer. =)

s'mee said...

3 boys, 2 girls, -all grown, hippy peace loving tree hugger of a mom...here's my 2 cents:

My girls were not allowed to play with Barbies, Boys were not allowed to play with weapons, neither were allowed to play with commercially pushed (cartoon)toys (My Pretty Pony etc.)or toys that implied fighting or war, i.e. Skelator, etc. We spent an enormous amount of time creating and going to cultural events.

That said the girls dressed the cat, and the boys tortured it. The girls put flowers on pretty much everything and the boys shot sticks, launched pillows, and froze live animals replicating the Nat Geo movies we rented.

All three boys are now very burly manly men in macho type careers who enjoy watching a good ballet as much as blowing up a buildings. The girls are both feminine and feminist and enjoy the ballet as well as rock climbing.

D-I-L allows her two boys to have swords, but not guns; and they "save" and "rescue" people as opposed to killing them...yeah, right..lol

Bek said...

My boy is only two but I have one thing to say...

PARK.

If I don't take that kid outside at least once a day he goes crazy. Boys are more like puppies. If you don't give them an outlet for their energy, they will find one..

BTW...my son turned doll bottles into "cars" by age one and at the tender age of 18 months bent a Barbie in half and had the perfect gun.... many, many other things have become guns.... that is just how they are wired. I draw the line at giving them ACTUAL play guns but don't get too upset if they pretend it...

as for raising a good boy, I say encourage his tender side. When they are little they want to be just like mom..they want to play house and do the things that they see their moms and sister doing. Some parents get weird about that, I think it is great. I can raise my son to be an intelligent, caring and tender black man in this society by teaching him to emulate his father AND his mother. Plus, if they have an older sister, it is guarenteed that he will have another "mother". Nurtre the tender..... don't be in too much of a hurry to make them NOT be a "mamma's boy"... .kwim?

drainey said...

Let me say one other thing, since the discussion is going heavily toward the "boys will be boys" side. I think it is very poor reasoning to allow something simply because "they are going to do it anyway". That is what liberals say before they give condoms to seventh graders. We should base our decisions on higher-level thinking than that. Its shallow, and we here at H'wood Flakes are NEVER shallow.

emma jo said...

Being the mother of three girls I am probably not qualified to even comment but I hate kids "playing" with guns. In fact, I'm such a snob about it, I recently called the sheriff and reported the group of young boys that play war around the neighborhood with their air soft pellet guns and then watched in glee as he came and got them in trouble...was that wrong? Light sabers I could maybe handle.
But honestly, in a world where kids are shooting people in schools and shopping malls we willingly buy them these things to let them pretend? Don't even get me started on video games...

Azúcar said...

Well, as a liberal (thanks for the political plug, Drainey) let me say that me and my VERY non-political husband do not encourage or purchase anything that could be weapon related.

Our boy WILL turn everything into a train, a freight car, or transport of some kind, but has never attempted weaponry. Growing up, my brother never had that stuff either.

We throw out swords, guns and other things of their kind that people give to us. So we're on the Adam and Sarah side of things. I don't necessarily think it's inevitable, but it's certainly discouragable if that is your parenting wish.

Azúcar said...

p.s. I've never given a 7th grader a condom.


9th grader, sure...

CACKEL said...

The part of the blog that made me laugh was the part that said "...after ALL the school shootings we've experienced in America."

I mean, there must be like 1 or 2 a year per school!!!! Probably every single kid in the US has been shot at at school, at least once. If the evil NRA/Toys R Us lobbyists would stop providing real and toy guns to our kids, they wouldn't have to have metal detectors and bullet proof vests in the 3rd grade.

Adam said...

wow. rainey, way to take it to the next level. azucar, good job sticking up for liberals (and i won't bring up the fact that your tax dollars, have, in fact . . .)

it reminds me of when Helen Thomas (former white house reporter for the Washington Post) came to BYU and said that president bush was the most conservative president she had ever seen. she was clearly surprised when the marriot center erupted into applause, and quipped "am i in enemy territory?" pretty funny.

i don't know why it reminded me of that. mostly i just wanted to share a funny story.

amanda, i don't think anyone really thinks that there is a real connection between toy guns and school shootings. i think the point (at least my take on it) is just that after columbie etc, it is more surprising to see a little kid brandishing a fake gun. kind of the same as know, its really surprising to see cigarette adds, where as it wasn't so surprising 30 years ago. we sort of "lost our innocence". not that guns are bad, of course (geez, troy, no need to jump down my throat); just after school shootings involving such young kids, it does take me aback. obviously i have lived in CA too long.

Sarah said...

Hey, I didn't name the post "Alarmist Ravings of a Paranoid Mom" for nothing.

Azucar, I'm glad you piped in. Liberals are generally the ones who want the guns taken away - I guess I'm a liberal too. Dirty me!

Melinda said...

Wait, Adam, so were you kidding when you told Sarah you weren't going to let your boys play with guns? Come on, what's your policy? Cause we want to use it as ammo against you in a few years-- Either four or six, depending on who pops out tomorrow night. Or Friday night... Certianly by Sunday.

Colleen said...

A couple of years ago at a barbecue, DH and I saw a fantastic example of the difference between little boys and little girls. Water guns were passed around and the boys were chasing each other around whooping and hollering, brandishing their weapons. Then I saw the most darling little girl using her gun to water the flowers. Priceless.

I don't like real guns and won't allow them in my home, but I haven't thought much about toy guns. I don't particularly like them and probably won't buy them, but I won't make a fuss if someone else gives one to one of my kids.

C & A said...

The comment about the startling lack of school shootings was me, not Amanda. She wanted to distance herself from that one.

A good rule of thumb to live by on all these liberal topics is: If Jesus isn't that worried about it, you shouldn't be either. And how do you know what Jesus is worried about? His servants, the prophets (Amos 3:7)

So if Jesus is much more worried about piercings, working moms and computer porn than guns and CO2 emmissions, line yourself up with that and you'll be just fine.

That's what all 4 of the active Mormon liberals in the world don't seem to grasp. You don't try to get God and the church to come around to your point of view...it is the reverse.

CACKEL said...

Sarah, you need to allow anonymous comments again so the "C" in cackel can comment without people thinking it is me. Adam, C was sure that you would know it wasn't me commenting.

I wasn't going to even comment strongly on either side, but to be honest, I bristle when I hear something extreme from either side. I don't buy toy guns, but I don't freak out and start throwing them away when people give them to my kids, although they generally make it to the dumpster quickly enough since they are usually from the dollar store. I think it is a good opportunity to talk about how to use weapons respectfully. I do allow swords, and we have strict rules about not really hitting when my two little boys "sword fight". Maybe that is teaching them not to hurt people rather than vice versa.

I grew up in a non-gun family, but when we lived way out in the country in a totally unsecured house that had been broken into twice before we had moved in (we found out AFTER we had already moved in), I REALLY wished that I had been taught how to use guns safely so that I could at least feel like I would be able to protect my kids when my husband was on business trips.

Since I am somewhat scared of guns, because I know nothing about them, I am glad that some people out there LOVE guns and want to be soldiers and police officers since I would be petrified at the thought of doing anything like that.

I think that parents' views on respect toward life is taught to their kids in a lot more ways than what plastic toys they have in their house. But I probably would have been shocked at the little boy too.

drainey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sarah said...

Ha Ha! I deleted a comment. I'm the Queen Empress of this blog. Everyone play nice or I'll do it again.

Janell said...

Eh worst case, and veering off topic, these kids with an affinity for guns can always trade an illegal weapon in for an xbox.

Clyde said...

Now more then often I have the same questions! That's what occurs to every mom who is concerned about their little child and doesn’t want to loose common sense when something like toy guns are introduced. Boys are born with games in mind: wet willies, wedgies, jump-like-a-monkey on the stairs, trampoline contest on the couch, blah blah blah... that's what friends and my husband told me. So you just let them be.

They said this to me too: If you know who they’re with, where they are and they have a coin in their pocket to call home, they’ll be just fine.

I personally think that toy weapons should be avoided until your son perfectly understands the meaning of them so he can choose to play or not under a parentally controlled environment. Childish-looking plastic swords, squirt guns, etc. are okay at a certain age. That said, I'll add that there are so many unexpected & entertaining ways to get them in trouble/hurt that will make you laugh before they are aware of what toy guns represent, like these fine examples.

Being a mom of three girls for the last 6 years has given me plenty of knowledge and experience with tea parties, playing princesses dress-up, and etiquette at a Barbie-theme party. And practically everything in our house is in some sort of variation of pink. Of course this was before I got a boy myself in November. Just 4 months later is enough to see how different they are: my wonderboy can pee a 360 degrees perimeter around himself while being changed, can put his whole hand up to his fist inside his mouth, bonk heads with you by accident and smile at it. Go figure!

My point here is that you will protect yours from all the bad and dangerous things that could happen for a while. But when school and outside friendships begin he'll have more experience and outside influence. I think that would be the time for you as a parent to explain to him about good and bad choices.... Until then you just live the day by day and pick-your-battles one at the time to make their world safe and lovely.

I don't know if this could/may/can give you some light at the end but at least you'll know other mothers out there are having the same questions about when is good to say yes or no.

And you're not paranoid, dear Sarah... Just very pregnant. :)

Heather O. said...

Great thread. And lots of good comments.

I like the comment about how that kid had a dad who was playing with him, and how much more important that will be to his ultimate development than his choice of toys. I think that's key, and we shouldn't lose sight of how influential fathers can be for the good.

Just my 2 cents: My 5 year old began using everything as a gun after he saw the movie, "The Fox and the Hound," which, in retrospect, is not a cute little Disney show at all and is one that I probably should have censored. There's LOTS of shooting in that movie, and I've convinced that's where my kid learned it. It was all down hill from there.

Everything, EVERYTHING becomes a gun--sticks, bits from his marbles game, shovels at school, legos. Still, for whatever reason, I'm not comfortable buying him toy guns. I allow swords, as many of the mothers here have commented, and lightsabers too. One of my son's favorite things to do is play lightsabers with DH. Dh does engage in MUCH more agressive play than I do, but he doesn't encourage play that involves guns. Lightsabers, yes. Wrestling, yes. Tag, yes. We also don't play military games, or let him watch G.I.Joe type stuff, or play with G.I. Joe-ish toys. I have no idea why the violence in "Star Wars" is more acceptable to me than big marines blowing people up, but there you go. Perhaps I'm just schizophrenic.

Would my son be a tame, mild mannered boy if I hadn't shown him Fox and the Hound? Hmm, doubtful. I figure he would have gotten it somewhere, or at the very least, from other kids. I don't pretend that it's a phase, but I'm encouraged that my other boys I used to babysit who were obsessed with guns seemed to have avoided being jailed for mass murder. I try not to make a big deal out of it, try to correct my son if he engages in shooting actual people rather than his pretend bad guys, and encourage other interests as well.

And I have to say, no casualities at our house. So far, at least.

Ben Everton said...

First of all, thanks to "Tailgunner" Adam McCarthy for naming names and by outing who stands behind the little blogin names.

Second, I do agree with C. Maybe he said it a little "Ann Coulter" style to get the liberal's dander up, but the fact of the matter is that the words of the living prophets are often directed at avoiding the very evils that constitute the core of the "diversity" and "tolerance" that the liberals advocate. Justice has demands as well as mercy.

Vice is a monster of such frightful mien
that to be hated needs only to be seen,
Yet seen to oft, familiar with its face,
we first endure
then pity
then embrace.
-- Alexander Pope

I think most so called LDS liberals are somewhere in the pity phase. According to Elder Holland, that will make your kids fall squarely in the "embrace" category.

Sarah said...

I know it's a lot to ask, but could we find some way to rise above the "republicans good, liberals bad" argument?

Julie said...

My 25 yr old boyfriend still eats PB&J sandwiches into a gun shape and chases our dog around the apartment making gun noises.

:)
I know it's not advice but it's a pretty funny mental picture.

CACKEL said...

Good thing you're not in labor Sarah, so you can be here to delete all of the nasty comments! JUST KIDDING. Hopefully this kept your mind off of your misery yesterday though. It is interesting where the toy guns discussion went.

Heather, that was interesting about the Fox and the Hound. I would say that Disney was in on the evil Toys-R-Us/ NRA conspiracy, except that when they put out the movie Bambi, the sale of deer tags went way down the following year.

Farrah said...

Sarah, I hope you don't mind me commenting on your blog. I am not sure if you remember me. I grew up in Dallas and am the same age so Annie and Catherine. I came across your blog from Dane's blog.

I just had to comment here. I am not quite sure how the subject went from letting your kids play with toy guns to Mormon democrats are bad.

It has always been so interesting to me that conservatives are for protecting life- prolife, but are so for death-NRA, death penalty. And that democrats are so for letting people make their own decisions- pro abortion and so against guns.

It makes no sense to me, but I really like Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader), who is a conservative democrat and also a faithful LDS member. One thing I read about him really made me think:

Reid also insists it is easier for a Democrat to be a good Latter-day Saint than it is for a Republican to be a good Latter-day Saint.

"One of the reasons I feel so strongly about the philosophy of the Democratic Party is that we're concerned about people who have little," Reid said. "Look at the programs we've pushed: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. Republicans opposed those, every one of them. ... I don't see how a person who cares about their fellow man could oppose these programs."
Las Vegas Review-Journal

And how sad is it that most of his opposition comes from the LDS community. He stated that once his son came home devastated from a trunk or treat activity because someone had a picture of Sen. Reid with the devil.

If we are to be good LDS people- I think we need to be somewhere in the middle. There are good and bad from both sides of the political spetrum.

So come on people, whether or not we let our children play with toy guns has nothing to do with being a conservative or liberal and nothing to do with whether or not we are a faithful member.

Katherine Shirek Doughtie said...

I do want to concur: boys make weapons out of everything. The only way to stop it is to cut off their hands (or at least their index finger and thumbs). Which is, you know, a bit on the violent side itself.

The one kid I know whose parents are adamantly anti-weaponry can tell you more about calibers and gun configurations than any other kid I've ever met.

Remember that old phrase: guns don't kill people? People kill people? It's not about the guns, folks: it's about the person who is pulling (or not pulling) the trigger. Liberal or not, there are certain moral values we can all instill in our kids. Like, duh, it's wrong to hurt other people.

(Oh and by the way... it's not all sugar and spice on the girls' side either. I've seen girls absolutely demolish each other -- and my sons -- with their poisonous words. Whoever saw the little girl watering the flowers was not around when she made her her best friend cry by excluding her from the "watering flowers" club.)

Glo said...

Whether or not boys are naturally violent is a good deal less important than what their grown-up fathers are teaching by example! Boys are boys...but men? My brother-in-law has somehow managed to avoid pretending to pull a gun on his son. Or pretending that carrying guns into restaurants is "normal" for adults.

The boy is, indeed, being a boy with all that natural testosterone-based power. The dad, however, should, maybe, be shot. By a sleeping dart. And then taught parenting classes.

a concerned said...

farrah, i agree that it is silly to have senator reid portrayed as the devil. i think he is wrong to the extreme, however, in saying that is is easier to be a democrat and lds.

all good members of the mormon church or any other christian church hold helping the poor as a very fundamental tenant of their faith. but it is a giant leap to go from their to saying that the government should force you to do so. i can care a lot about my fellow man and still think that it should be up to me, not the government, to determine the extent to which i decide to help my fellow man. (i realize, of course, that there are lots of circumstances in which it is appropriate to force people to contribute money to the common good, for roads and stuff like that. but those aren't seriously debated by either party. me paying for someone else's foodstamps is not in the same league as me paying for a road which i use along with everyone else).

which brings me to my next point, about the whole pro-choice/pro life thing. i don't think republicans are any less in favor of "choice" than democrats are. they (republicans) are just worried about who is making the choice. they safely assume that the baby would rather be alive than dead, and so they don't let the mother deprive the baby of that choice. i think most republicans and democrats would agree with the classical liberal idea that you have the right to make any choice you want so long as it doesn't injure another person. they just disagree about whether or not a fetus is a person.

obviously, unwanted pregancy is a tragedy. republicans just prefer not to have such a tragedy compounded with the death of a baby.


one last thing: you can be pro death penalty and pro gun and still be interested in protecting life. the point of having a gun in your house is so that you can shoot someone so they don't shoot you. there is a very defensible, logical argument (as well as lots of evidence) that more legal guns lead to less crime. it is therefore wrong, in my opinion, to think that being pro gun is somehow being pro death.


likewise, the point of the death penalty is killing those who kill, thereby discouranging other people who would kill. the distinction between killing a muderer and killing an unborn child is so easy to articulate and defend, in my opinion, that i honestly don't see why the two get mentioned in the same breath so often.

citymama1 said...

My brother used to shoot his (and mine) friends with his BB Gun. He was just accepted to a grad program at Stanford and is now fairly well adjusted and no longer shoots anyone. You never know.

Elizabeth said...

Woah, does citymama1's brother know your brother, Sarah? Creepy small world moment.

C & A said...

Farrah,

I liked your post, you sound like a reasonable person. However, you are mistaken about Dems/Libs being more concerned about the poor and downtrodden.

Republican policies such as helping people get off welfare roles, helping companies grow and compete and hire, and protecting the innocent show just as much if not more compassion than the liberal opposites.

Think about it, if it were shown that pornography causes divorce and abuse to increase (and it is shown) do you think any liberal on earth would dare lift a finger to limit porn and help reduce the abuse epidemic? No way. Free speech is being allowed to look at porn in a public library at taxpayer expense.

Would a liberal ever lift a finger towards promoting child birth within wedlock, or any policy encouraging fathers to stay with thier families and raise thier kids? Even though that would greatly help the children, a liberal wouldn't touch it. Because they don't care. They love to fund welfare and promote affirmitave action because it keeps them in power.

Now I'm not saying that republican politicians are always any better, but the policies they promote do get better results for the oppressed.

And, the Republican ideals are indisputably more in line with those of the church. That may not mean anything to you, but it should. Think about the following issues and where deomcrats stand v. where the church stands: Gay Marriage. Abortion. Pornography. Traditional family units.

That is why some people (not me) think Reid is the devil. Because he knows better, but he would rather maintain his power and the cushy jobs for his sons, than stand up against his party, for his church, on these and other issues. He may say he is pro-life, but he is more than happy to lead a large organization that isn't and enjoy all the perks and the power.

There are large-scale deceptions afoot and a lot of people fall for them. If you were a screeching liberal, I wouldn't waste my time, but you sound like a thoughtfull person, so there may be hope yet! I'm not saying the republican party does everything right. But on those few issues where the church does take a stand, that should tell you what kind of people to vote for.

Azúcar said...

Would a liberal ever lift a finger towards promoting child birth within wedlock,

Yes.

or any policy encouraging fathers to stay with thier families and raise thier kids?

Yes.

Even though that would greatly help the children, a liberal wouldn't touch it.


Yes, I would.

Because they don't care.

Yes, I do.

They love to fund welfare and promote affirmitave action because it keeps them in power.


I just don't even know how to answer that.

Maybe someday we can meet for lunch and I'll tell you about my side. These falsehoods and generalizations harm discourse. Just as you can't paint all conservatives into a corner, you can't place all liberals into a corner--no matter what the talking heads would have us believe for their own devices.

Anyway.

To rise above as Sarah asked, my husband is as apolitical as it gets. It is from him that much of our mutual lack of desire to own weaponry of all stripes proceeds. He was the one who witnessed extraordinary amounts of school violence--daily. He was the one who lived in a rage-filled corner of society. It is from his impetus that we've thrown out violent toys and choose not to have weapons in our home. Yes, we have much parenting ahead, but this is what we're choosing because it's what works for our family.

acte gratuit said...

I was the mom who NEVER allowed toy weapons into the house. AND,despite being raised on All-Disney-Movies-All-The-Time, I wouldn't allow Max to watch them because they all seem to have some tragic or violent scene.

I tried to nurture his sensitive side, but even when he played princess dress-up with his girl friends, he insisted on using every magic wand as a sword.

Recently, I've somewhat changed my position. Why am I trying so hard to erase any trace of manliness from my son? No, I'm not saying you have to love weapons and violence to be manly. BUT, honestly, I DO expect my husband to be strong, and brave, and fearless, and my protector and I hope my sons will be those things too to their future wives. And frankly, the way you let your kids play can influence that. So Max now has a pirate sword and a pirate gun and some knight-in-shining-armor armor. But hopefully we're teaching him respect for himself and others to counter-act his desire to slay us all.

I'm also trying to teach him that there are in fact "bad guys" in the world. That's why police have guns to protect us. And why soldiers go to war to defend us. But, as he told me the other day, "Heavenly Fatho and Gesus pwotect us the most, huh Mommy?"

I think he'll turn out okay.

melandrick said...

I have to chime in as "one of the 4 active Mormon liberals out there". Just a thought: why is it nessesary to insert the word Compassionate before Conservative to make the desired impression? What attitude is implied without it? In my scripture reading, I've heard the Savior stress compassion and love above all other laws, with all other laws hanging on those.
And to the gun topic, it's just dangerous to be too casual about weapons. My husband grew up on a farm and knew a kid who shot and killed his brother and another kid who shot and wounded his brother. They were just boys playing like boys play. They had real guns. Casual guns- just not smart. If guns, then education- gun safety.
We have two sons, one 7 yrs. old, one 2. When 7 yr. old plays guns, he automatically loses it if it is aimed at a person. We do archery and he knows not to ever point his bow and arrow at anyone. I SO agree about the influence of the media as far as violent tendencies go. I would suggest to a new mother of a boy, or any child, to be careful about the media they are exposed to -violent cartoons, movies, and especially video games(some of these are virtual homocide practice that kids spend hours and hours at). Cause Alexander Pope was on to something.