Finger Guns: The Gateway Weapon?Monica Bielanko
While the debate about assault rifles rages around dinner tables, in bars and in Washington, D.C., the finger gun controversy is heating up as well.
Yep. Finger guns. Flash your finger gun at school and you will most certainly find yourself in the principal’s office, you trouble-making hooligan, you.
That’s what happened to a 6-year-old in Maryland. According to the New York Daily News, the elementary student pointed his finger gun at another student and said “pow.” Administrators were quick to react. Calling the incident ‘serious’ the principal promptly suspended the kid and sent a letter home to his family.
“[He] threatened to shoot a student. He was spoken to earlier today about a similar incident,” the letter read.
The finger guns happened about a week after the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary. I don’t want to appear insensitive in light of that recent tragedy but it seems to me that jumping all over a kid, a kindergartener, throwing around some finger guns is a complete overreaction.
Is this what society is going to focus on in the wake of gun violence? Finger guns? Seriously? How about taking that energy used to react to the finger guns and apply it toward checking in with another kid who may be having emotional trouble? The kid is 6. Kids play. Who among us hasn’t had a fake Lightsaber fight? Are finger guns really that much different? Fake gunfights aren’t even the problem. Someone who chooses to walk into a school or a movie theater or a mall and murder innocent people has a lot more going on than unchecked finger gun offenses.
The kid’s mom, Robin Flicker, is understandably upset about the whole thing and has lawyered up. Her attorney says “They could have called the mother in. They didn’t do that. They just said, You’re suspended.’ Five years from now, when someone in Montgomery County looks at his permanent record, they’re going to see that he threatened to shoot another student.”
Absolutely ridiculous. And yet, finger gun offenders across the country are coming under fire. Police are currently investigating a 13-year-old Tamaqua Middle School seventh grader in Pennsylvania who made a gesture with his fingers in reference to a gun while pointing at fellow students. As WFMZ reports, the boy was suspended and charged with disorderly conduct.
Commence slow, sarcastic clap for the Pennsylvania State Police.
Finger guns are not the time to get all puffed up with authority y’all. But America – land of the free and also the land where folks demand the right to own assault rifles – is rife with finger gun crackdowns. The aforementioned students are just the most recent in a long string of finger gun offenders. Google finger gun suspensions and you’ll be reading articles all day. So this is how it is, then? In addition to teaching our children to keep their fingers out of their noses we must also warn them about the danger of drawing their finger guns?
Am I in the minority here by gently suggesting that finger guns are not the problem? That finger guns are, in fact, a very normal part of childhood? Or are finger guns a gateway weapon? Are they just the initial sign that your little finger gun offender is heading down a dangerous path?
You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.
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