Toy guns targeted after Paris attacks

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Geoff Charles (Dolgellau Fair 1956)

As a consequence of heinous acts of terrorism in Paris, Toys ‘R’ Us stores are temporarily withdrawing toy guns from sale in France.

Less plastic pistols, less violence.  This does not make any sense to me, firstly because it appears as a temporary decision (a truce?). Second, because brutal video games are not targeted.

I was a tomboy and fond of all kinds of dummy weapons. I had a large collection of plastic replicas, from cowboy pistols to bows and suction cup arrows. Like many kids, I fought against imaginary enemies. I do not believe all those children (including myself) turned out to be serial killers or even guns addicts,  later in their life.

So playing with a toy rifle is temporarily bad but virtual killing in a video games is OK…

Illogically, video games like “Grand Theft Auto” or “Call Of Duty” are not removed from the shops. I suppose that profits raised by electronic games are juicier than by plastic toys. So playing with a toy rifle is temporarily bad but virtually killing cyber people in a realistic video game is always OK.

I am certainly not stating that warlike video games have necessarily an impact on young minds, nor do I want to demonize video games. Those games could perhaps work as a way to let off steam  but on the other hand,  they are getting us used to extreme violence, to a trivialization of violence. They may even have an influence on our emotional intelligence. Could they reduce our empathy or make us numb in the long run? Or am I simply getting old and obsolete?

Jihadists have surely been exposed to video games, like most kids today and most youngsters will grow up to be responsible and sensible human beings. A record held by Prevention Center against Sectarian Drifts related to Islam (CPDSI in French), claims that video games like “Assassin’s Creed” and “Call of Duty” may lead to “leaving for a real confrontation” (Le Figaro, Nov. 11, 2014). However, the subject remains controversial: “Violent Video Games Are Linked To Aggression, Study Says But There Are Not Enough Evidence To Suggest That They Are Linked To Criminal Behavior.” (Time, August 17, 2015).

Plastic guns may not have an impact on young minds (unless they’re weak-minded) but they do have a HUGE impact on our environment. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch located in the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California, has become the largest ocean garbage site in the world. Twice the size of the State of Texas, this massive trash patch is sadly not the only one. The North Atlantic Garbage Patch is hundreds kilometers long and drawing off 200,000 pieces of debris per square kilometer. The Indian Ocean Garbage Patch was discovered in 2010. In fact, there are trash vortices in the five major oceans. (From “Life in plastic, not so fantastic”) To my opinion, this is the main and urgent issue. Just saying.©

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