LEGO Gun Book Causes Online Tizzy

Posted on May 18, 2012

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Parents preoccupied with creating a conflict-free Utopia for their kids would seem to have little to fear from a Danish toy maker, an ingenious and enterprising British youth, and a small San Francisco publishing company.  Yet this trio causes much handwringing in the May 16th edition of "The Mommy Files," an online parenting blog published by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The source of the anxiety is LEGO Heavy Weapons, a guide to building toy guns out of LEGOs.  The author is Jack Streat, a 17-year-old resident of the United Kingdom, and the book is published by the San Francisco imprint No Starch.

For a culture of "inclusiveness" that's nonetheless determined to exclude the Second Amendment and its advocates, the book is bad news indeed.  LEGOs are everywhere, even in the homes of enlightened progressives who would never dream of letting a Nerf gun or cap pistol contaminate their children's "cruelty-free" play spaces.  The idea that the makings of gun-like objects might already exist under their own roofs must come as a shock … unless, of course, the parents have actually observed children at play.  If a stick is not available to serve as a rifle, a boy will chew his grilled cheese into the shape of a pistol.

Those youthful impulses of adventure and self-determination run deep, as the book's author vividly illustrates.  Even modern Britain's determined effort to demonize and eradicate civilian access to firearms could not suppress the creative impulses that turned a bin full of interlocking plastic bricks into a functional scale replica of a AKS-47U (the second of four models detailed in the book).

The Mommy Files does its best to provoke righteous indignation and gets some traction with a random British father, who in a rather un-English display of temper whines that "it's just wrong, wrong, wrong."  Yet even the developmental psychologist the blog consults cannot muster much concern.  "Play is play," the doctor states, adding that research has not shown that playing with toy guns can lead to aggression.  But, argues the blogger, these guns are realistic.  "They're not realistic," responds the doctor.  "They don't shoot. These guns are related to the impulse to create, not the impulse to kill."

We agree, which is why at least one ILA staffer has pre-ordered a copy for his own eight-year-old LEGO fanatic.  Jack Streat should be commended for the effort and intelligence evident in his creations.  The only thing "scary" about his book is how some are overreacting to it.

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