Every once in awhile I read something that sounds politically correct, but is so ridiculous that it makes me cringe. It happened recently. A news report from London discussed the fact that children will not be given free tickets to watch any of the London 2012 Olympic games.
London City Hall is giving 125,000 Olympic tickets to school children to go to various venues, but they’ve decided not to give tickets to any of the shooting sports events. These events are the 10 meter air pistol, 10 meter air rifle, 25 meter rapid fire pistol, 50 meter pistol, 50 meter rifle prone, 50 meter rifle 3 positions, double trap, trap, and skeet. The Mayor decided that attendance at these events might stimulate teenage gun and knife crimes. Oh please. This is so ridiculous that it defies description, but of course the anti gun folks think it is right on.
We have lots of shooting sports activities in this country specifically for kids. There are several reasons for these programs and I’ve written about them before. They teach kids gun safety, leadership skills, and a host of other character-building qualities for kids. Why do kids want to participate? Shooting is fun. Consider the ‘Kids ‘n’ Guns’ program run by 4-H. The 4-H website notes that they use shooting sports to teach youth development, ‘helping young people develop self-confidence, personal discipline, responsibility, teamwork, self esteem and sportsmanship.’ ‘It provides a positive experience for youth and promotes the safe and ethical use of firearms.’ ‘It reduces gun accidents.’
Then there is the National Archery in the Schools Program. This a huge and growing program where hundreds of thousands of school kids learn to shoot bows. There is also the Scholastic Clay Target Program for public schools. All do the same as the 4-H program. Yes, but what about Columbine? We hear that one all the time. Do you really believe that the nut cases that carry guns into the public schools and kill people participated in the above programs and ‘learned’ how to use guns to kill people? Guns are out there, and the above programs teach safety and responsible use. Studies show that parents of kids in the above programs support what they see their kids learning. Maturation, leadership, etc.
Are we to believe that kids who watch shooting sports in the Olympics are more likely to participate in crime? Violent gun shooting videos may be such a problem. Television violence may be such a problem. But the shooting sports in an Olympic venue? Poppycock. In fact, the shooting sports in the Olympics is another way to get kids to look at guns in a different light, just as the above-mentioned youth shooting programs do.
Interestingly girls enjoy the above programs as much, or more, than boys. They are great shooters, but now we are to believe that when they watch Olympic shooters, they are more likely to commit crimes with guns. Poppycock.
I am not a fan of being politically correct. To follow through with the mayors concerns about kids seeing violence at the Olympics, then we also need to prevent children from watching fencing. It could precipitate them bringing swords to school or the play grounds. Even worse would be boxing. Pretty violent. Not sure about the track events either, because you have this guy firing off a gun to start every race. Then there is the javelin throw. Now there is a rather intimidating weapon that might be a problem in the play ground.
It does make one wonder how politicians buy into such logic on various issues. It would have been refreshing for the mayor of London, when presented with the idea that giving tickets to kids to watch the Olympic shooting sports would lead to crime, to stand up and tout the benefits we see in kids participating in shooting sports. And there are data to prove that. But right now, in England and the United States, we are a bit skeptical about various statements made by politicians. Hearing one espouse common sense would indeed be refreshing. Right now it’s all poppycock.
The story does not end here, for the above policy brought huge outcries from former Olympian shooters and many others, and so one week after the Mayor’s edict, he rescinded it. The fact that he did something that was so ridiculous in the first place should alarm us all. Bad enough, but this stuff is becoming all to common. The Knife Rights organization ( www.kniferights.org ) keeps us up-to-date on restrictions on owning and carrying a knife. Remember the days of carrying a pocket knife? There are people trying to bring this to an end.
Knife Rights recently noted that a person who used a one-hand opening Gerber pocket knife in his work was arrested for carrying it. New York District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, brought the charges, and this citizen faced one year in jail. However, the Knife Rights Foundation stepped in and got these frivolous charges dropped. Let’s see now, didn’t I read that the city was deeply in debt? Yes, I’m sure they are, but they have enough money to go after these ‘criminals’ who carry knives in their work belts, that they use every day. Hmmm. Do you see a disconnect here?
The Rutherford Institute ( www.rutherford.org ) is dedicated to protecting human rights. They recently reported the story of a veteran public school teacher in Chicago after he displayed a screwdriver, 2-inch pocket knife, a wrench and a box cutter to grade school children in his class during a ‘show and tell’ session. The school administration is considering disciplinary action and possible termination because he supposedly put the students in a dangerous situation, even though they had no access to these dangerous weapons of mass destruction. Give me a break.
Common sense has left our country in favor of political correctness. Thank goodness for groups such as Knife Rights and the Rutherford Institute for attempting to bring some sanity back to the United States of America.