Balloonland

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A Lot of Dead Lego Cops – Boys and their Obsession with Guns

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The Boy had a birthday sleepover with a friend at a hotel. The friend brought a gift, a Lego police boat. The kit included two police figures, one criminal figure, two sets of handcuffs, and no firearms whatsoever. Yet, when I go to the bathroom for 5 minutes, on return I’m greeted with:

“(voice-simulated sound of shotgun being cocked) BLAM! I shot the gas around the boat and now all the cops are burned to death!”

A little weapon-play is inevitable with boys. I’m OK with a couple of occurances of “I take my shooter and shoot your guy,” or “Pew pew pew, you’re dead!” I draw the line at graphical descriptions of gun operation and gun-related destruction, most especially the holy grail of them all, the sound of a shotgun being readied to fire.

 

Boys, sadly, are interested in power, especially over other boys of their age. It probably derives from the male need to scare off other males from females, good hunting grounds, and the like. Any casual statement of personal ability or unsubstantiated fact will usually cause a superior claim to be brought out:

“I once (beat this game, built a 2-storey sandcastle, stayed up till 1 AM)”

“Oh, I’ve (doubled up your claim) and regularly do so.”

or,

“I read that the (train locomotive type partially based on reality) can pull up to 300 cars of coal.”

“Really? I read that that breaks its engine.”

Guns are a device that magnifies you personal power, increases your escalation abilities way more than an absurd made-up statistic. Our (global) society at large has been a victim of this gun-charm for decades, and is only recently trying to shake it off.  Children are totally subject to the entire history of this obsession through the vast catalogue of historical media considered to be “Children’s Cartoons,” and casual/accidental viewing of CSI, movies, and other adult entertainment where guns are still a big deal. And of course, video games.

Playground Gunfights

So I guess this is why when I’m at the Boy’s school, a very anti-violence alternative school where bullying is rigorously prevented, and no competitive  sports or educational activities are used, that at recess I get to see a wide range of gun-related activity.  Pistol-whippings are pretty common. Leaping out from behind a tree and blasting one or more/ordering them to surrender seems like the only option when you’re a boy who incidentally  “gets the drop” on others. For two boys, “Gun One-upping” is a popular game:

“Pow! I shot you with a (a handgun from a popular shooter game)!”

“Ka-chunk! BLAM! I shot you with my (technical combat shotgun name from a video game)!”

(Simulated jamming a clip into an automatic weapon) “Powpowpowpowpow! I got you with my (video game submachinegun type)!”

(Motions of picking up large weapon, loading its chambers) Now I’ve got my grenade launcher!

Immortal Lego People

My solution for Lego-related violence: the modular nature of the minifigs makes extreme injury easy to recover from. A figure that loses its head is merely incapacitated until it gets aid from a friend. This partially derives from Lego Universe’s unfortunate caving to online game tradition and its use of minifig modularism as a source of immortality.  Sure, this caves to violent play and may reduce the impact of someone being injured, but I think it reduces the value of shooting people up as a way to win a situation – you no longer have the “I’ll kill you all!” powertrip in play.

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Written by balloonhed

February 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm

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