Just when we thought the NRA couldn’t get any more desperately idiotic, they’ve put out a supposedly “educational” video about gun safety for children. The video, which the NRA just recently released (watch here) follows the adventures of Eddie Eagle and his “Wing Team” when they find a gun in a park.
The characters break into song to instruct kids to run away from guns as soon as they see them, and to tell a grownup instead. Eddie Eagle has been around for years, but his efforts to teach children proper gun safety are in vain for a variety of reasons. The first is that, if kids come into contact with a gun, they’re more likely to inspect it and play with it than they are to leave it alone and go get an adult.
Besides that, this video barely addresses finding guns at home, in places and with people children are supposed to be able to trust. The bulk of the video is based on these characters finding a random gun that some random stranger left under a random bench at the park. Because it only touches on the idea that guns might also be left out at home, it’s misleading for children. It might even tell them that the gun they find on the bed, in the nightstand, or wherever else at home, is not as dangerous as the unfamiliar one in the park.
In other words, children don’t understand guns. There’s a lot they don’t understand about the world, which is part of being a child, and why proper education is so necessary.
But even that might not help. ABC News did a report on exactly this type of thing, which shows that education and information on the dangers of guns that’s targeted to minors has roughly zero effect on their behavior when they’re actually presented with a gun. The report, which followed the actions of 50 teenagers finding disabled guns, showed that even those who had just received warnings about guns agonized over telling an adult, and they also played with the gun, even going so far as to point it at each other.
We live in a culture where guns are idolized, revered. They’re symbols of manliness, of machoism, of toughness. They can be sex symbols, too. We treat them like toys and props, and not like the dangerous weapons they are. The NRA furthers this culture, too; they don’t do anything to fight it and promote actual gun safety, as they did up until about 40 years ago. Children pick up on that culture, and see guns either as cool toys, or, at the very least, not something they need to respect.
So the NRA’s new video is, at best, a sad, pathetic attempt to brighten their image in the face of a growing number of accidental shootings at the hands of children. Gun safety videos are great, but they won’t do zip until influential groups like the NRA stop with the ammosexuality, and start pushing a cultural shift back towards understanding and respecting the very real danger that guns represent.
Featured image via screen capture of NRA “Eddie Eagle” video.