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Crumbling principles

I’ve marched at Greenham. Held hands around the perimeter fence. Had a postcard on my wall for years proclaiming ‘War is No Game. Why Buy War Toys?’. And yet here I am, mother of a four year old, shamefacedly caving in to a bombardment of requests for a toy gun. I’m not proud of it. I know children (but let’s face it, it is usually boys) can make a gun from any known household object, and I have done the whole ‘real guns kill people’ speech. Worst of all, it was cheapness that did it. I’d promised a reward for daily practice of trying to write his name (feeble again there - about to start school, a number of his friends can write their name already, so I did this despite my spiel of “In Germany they don’t start school until age seven, and they do fine, so they’ll be no pressurising in this household.”). We went to the Big Kids toyshop on School Hill, and the object that most appealed under £30 was a cowboy set for £2. Its attractiveness clearly enhanced by our refusal to buy anything similar in the past. The slippery slope had started with toy swords (also war toys, but since not much in current usage, seemed not so bad), went on to bows and arrows, and finally ended up here with a set of two Lone Ranger rip-off plastic ‘Masked Man’ pistols in holsters, a set of bullets and a black mask. Pretty exciting in truth, kemo sabe. EC

Gun law: OK, you can have one then, as long as there’s a safety catch