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We have been trying to have lots of lazy days lately. Valkyrie and I have been sick and coughing for waaay too long, and the kids have coughs too. So we haven't gotten out of the house much.

Today, we decided to venture out to the coffee shop. It's a nice, sunny day; we are feeling better; and some time relaxing over coffee is always fun.

We get there, and are settled in. At this point, I notice a mommy and about 4 to 5 kids coming in together. The youngest is a little boy, who can't be much older than Kjersti, carrying a bright orange toy gun. I notice that he notices us, and the kids, and contemplates us for a few seconds before returning to the gaggle of his family, who are ordering at the counter.

Kjersti needs to use a napkin for some reason, and like the good sweet girl she is, after it gets dirty she decides it needs to go into the trash. She sets off on a mission, uttering "trash" in her sweet, cute voice. Her path takes her right through the gaggle of people at the counter. Sensing potential for trouble, and wanting to help Kjersti anyway, I follow.

Sure enough, the scene I had been dreading has happened - there's Kjersti, stopped, puzzled - and the little boy with the big orange gun in both hands, pointing it right at her.

Out comes my authoritarian voice: "Do NOT point a gun at my daughter!" I follow with "I know it's a toy, but I don't care! You do not point guns at my daughter!"

I think everyone in the store was shocked. The little boy looks stunned and scared, and starts to cry - and he promptly gets the gun taken out of his hands. I herd Kjersti on to the trash can, help her put the napkin in the trash, and return to our table, ignoring the family at the counter. On the way back, one of the ladies who works at the shop says to me in a low voice "Sorry about that."

Crisis taken care of, Kjersti and I return to our seats, and to our scheduled family relaxing. A few minutes later the mother of the gaggle walks by and apologies, and I try to gracefully accept the apology.

Me being who I am and questioning my choices .... I wonder, should I have opened up and thundered like that? Or should I have let it slide ... even though it was pretty obvious that the other family was not very concerned about the threat a gun posed, since they had allowed their toddler boy to play with it.

Seriously, I don't think I had much choice. A threat to my kids is guaranteed to bring out of me the full rage and thunder of a momma bear protecting her cubs. The scale of the threat was miniscule - but I hope the kid learned a lesson anyway.

See, I think toy guns are not acceptable toys for kids. One aspect of playing with toy objects that kids do is mimicing what adults do with those objects, and learning how to deal with those objects, in preparation for the real thing. I firmly believe that a place and time exists for guns - but if you have one, and you point it at another living being, the only reason you are doing so is because you are about to shoot and kill that other living being. So if you give a kid a toy gun, and allow them to point it at other people, you are teaching them that it's OK to casually point guns at people. And if they learn this from a young age, they will have an easier time using the power a gun represents to intimidate or harm others in the future.

Now, I'm wondering if I have to get rid of the nerf guns and super soaker I have in my closet.
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