Toy : Gun-Control

I’ve handled plenty of real guns before, while serving obligatory National Service in the Navy as a gunner cum seaman, and when returning occasionally for reservist training. I’ve handled rifles, handguns, signal pistols, missile-launchers and machine-guns with live rounds. But it’s really very different, guarding a real gun versus fiddling with a toy one. There’s not much joy in the first because it’s a deadly weapon with much responsibility involved, while the latter gives room for silly boyish fun.

A few days ago, I noticed a plastic air gun that fires foam bullets selling at the neighbourhood 7-Eleven. Since it costs only a few bucks, I bought one for fun. (See picture above, snapped with iPhone’s ‘Polarize’ application with a faded retro tint.) If you think that’s childish… here’s news for you. It’s not my first toy gun as a grown-up! It’s joining the ‘accidentally’ growing collection of a water pistol, a cowboy gun and a spark gun. (All cheap ones though.) While fooling around with the new gun, I reflected… What’s the deal with my fascination with toy guns? Isn’t it high time I grew out of them? Here are some ruminations (or rationalisations!)…

Guns are interesting because they are instruments that have the power to project something fast and furious beyond themselves, with the ability to defend or kill. It’s the illusion of great power in one’s hands. But it is never real power if not guided by wisdom or tempered by compassion. But since my fascination is with toy guns, the projectiles are harmless – just foam, water, light and sound. Even so, I don’t shoot folks with them; I just surprise some! It made me wonder what I really wish to project effectively from myself.

Surely, not foam or water; surely, nothing to hurt anyone; what’s left is light and sound. May I readily project the illuminating light of wisdom that dispels the darkness of ignorance, like a sharpshooting laser ray gun. May I readily project the healing sound of Dharma when I speak through spoken (and written) words. Incidentally, I’m not the only non-kid who plays with guns. There’s an article in The Sunday Times’ Lifestyle section on local guys who are really ‘obsessed’, who play war games with nerf guns, that also shoot foam bullets!

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