Zero Tolerance in a “Tolerant” Society

Every day we hear about the heroic acts of our men and women in uniform, we see them on the news and in movies, we teach our society to be grateful for what they do to keep us safe. So, why does society punish our children for wanting to be like them when they grow up? For using their imagination, and pretending to be that hero in their make-believe games? For wanting to play cops and robbers, or being brave enough to want to defend other people? This year there have been multiple incidents of children being suspended from school for just that.

zero toleranceIn Michigan, a third-grader’s mother made cupcakes for her son’s class, and decorated them with toy Army soldiers, which were confiscated because the soldiers were holding guns. In Maryland a second-grader was suspended from school for nibbling a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun, and waving it around. Also in Maryland, an 11 year old boy was suspended for telling other students that he wished he had had a gun to protect the students who were killed in the Sandy Hook massacre.

In Pennsylvania, a 5 year old was suspended for 10 days for telling her classmates “I’ll shoot you, you shoot me, and we’ll all play together”, referring to a Hello Kitty bubble gun. In Virginia Beach, Virginia a boy was suspended for 9 months for playing with an air soft gun in his own yard while waiting for the bus. In Suffolk, VA a second-grader was suspended for two days for pretending he was a Marine (like his father), and his pencil was a gun.

I remember when I was a kid, we could pretend to be anything we wanted…the sky was the limit; not political “correctness”. Should our children no longer look up to the soldiers that fight for our country enough to want to be like them? Should we no longer allow our children to simply be children, and let their imagination run wild? Should we make guns taboo, only pushing children to want them even more?

It is unfortunate that we live in a world where being politically correct and “tolerant” means that we have to hide and suffocate our desire to express ourselves out of fear of others not being tolerant to us. That instead of educating our children about why they shouldn’t do something, and teaching them the correct way to do things, we allow society to teach them that we should just ignore the problems. We need to take the time to actually educate our children when it comes to firearm safety, instead of saying “guns are bad because I said so”.  When will the American people realize that the problem does not lie in the tool that is used, but in the mind of the person holding it?