They were already familiar with guns and death -- way more so than their parents at the same age, or their grandparents.
The industry’s strategies include giving firearms, ammunition and cash to youth groups; weakening state restrictions on hunting by young children; marketing an affordable military-style rifle for “junior shooters” and sponsoring semiautomatic-handgun competitions for youths; and developing a target-shooting video game that promotes brand-name weapons, with links to the Web sites of their makers.
The pages of Junior Shooters, an industry-supported magazine that seeks to get children involved in the recreational use of firearms, once featured a smiling 15-year-old girl clutching a semiautomatic rifle. At the end of an accompanying article that extolled target shooting with a Bushmaster AR-15 — an advertisement elsewhere in the magazine directed readers to a coupon for buying one — the author encouraged youngsters to share the article with a parent.
“Who knows?” it said. “Maybe you’ll find a Bushmaster AR-15 under your tree some frosty Christmas morning!”...NYT
All that was the result of years of research and marketing to kids with a speed-up of marketing efforts a few years ago. The industry claim "no harm!"
But psychiatrists are saying "nonsense"! The industry (manufacturers, the NRA --of course! -- and a variety of similar weapon boosters) have teamed up in an effort to assure the real guns are as familiar as toys. No matter that they're being shoved into the hands of children who are, generally speaking, "impulsive. " And guess where their tax-exempt "shooting sports foundation" was set up.
The shooting sports foundation, the tax-exempt trade association for the gun industry, is a driving force behind many of the newest youth initiatives. Its national headquarters is in Newtown, just a few miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, where Adam Lanza, 20, used his mother’s Bushmaster AR-15 to kill 20 children and 6 adults last month.
The foundation’s $26 million budget is financed mostly by gun companies, associated businesses and the foundation’s SHOT Show, the industry’s annual trade show, according to its latest tax return. ... Pointing to the need to “start them young,” one study concluded that “stakeholders such as managers and manufacturers should target programs toward youth 12 years old and younger.” ...NYT
No surprise, I guess, that the Times' research into the industry's documents show the industry has tried to persuade elementary schools to set up target shooting programs. They did counsel, though, that human silhouettes not be used as targets for that age group.
Junior Shooters' editor assured Times reporters that "Semiautomatic firearms are actually not weapons unless someone chooses to hurt another person with them, and their image has been unfairly tainted by the news media. There is no legitimate reason children should not learn to safely use an AR-15 for recreation..."
Irresponsibility is what drives just about everything, from addictions to the antisocial use of weapons, that damages us. If you live (as I do) in a rural area populated in large part by people who behave responsibly with their guns, and then look at someone like Mrs. Lanza, her fortress and her troubled child, you see people who live at the fringes, troubled, and with no evident grown-up sense of responsibility to community.
People who have opted out of that responsibility to community are way more likely to fantasize that they are under threat. As we know from our experience with the gun marketers -- hey, all they're in this for are profits and t'hell with the consequences! -- gun marketing has discovered the threat fantasy and are playing it up. People who don't like guns have been known to swing to the other extreme. They won't believe they're safe (or in some moral paradise of their own invention) unless all guns are abolished.
I like the President's candor about gun ownership -- his tolerance and his clear-headedness.
And goodbye military or "military-style" weaponry.
“Up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time,” he told The New Republic in the interview, conducted Jan. 16, just after he unveiled his gun proposals.
Asked about his family, he said, “Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go up there. And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake.”
He added that the experience with guns in rural America differed dramatically from that in urban America. “If you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were 10, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family’s traditions, you can see why you’d be pretty protective of that,” he said.
“So it’s trying to bridge those gaps that I think is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months,” he added. “And that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes.”...NYT