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Fairy tales packing heat

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Monday, March 28, 2016 07:30 am

NRA Family, the National Rifle Association's family-oriented website, has caused quite a stir by "updating" classic fairy tales by arming the protagonists with guns. They've done two so far — "Hansel and Gretel," in which the kids, guns at the ready, rescue two other kids from the evil witch, and "Little Red Riding Hood," in which Grandma holds the Big Bad Wolf at shotgun point until help arrives in the form of the friendly huntsman. In neither story are guns actually fired, which is kind of a cop-out, but never mind that. i might have also have armed Red instead of Grandma, but never mind that, either.The group of course says it has only the best of intentions — it's for the children, don't you know:

The NRA said the stories, written by Amelia Hamilton, whom the NRA calls a "conservative blogger" and "lifelong writer and patriot," are part of an effort to promote responsible firearm use by children. The accident prevention program it oversees has helped teach more than 28 million kids about how to stay safe if they find a gun, according to the NRA's website.

Most of us probably grew up having fairy tales read to us as we drifted off to sleep," the NRA said in an editor’s note announcing the series earlier this year. "But how many times have you thought back and realized just how, well, grim some of them are?"

Naturally, gun-control groups aren't buying it:

But the revisionist take on some of well-known children's favorites, which appear online, are drawing complaints from gun-control advocacy groups that call the altered tales a disturbingly depraved marketing campaign.

"The NRA continues to stoop to new lows in the hopes of shoving guns into America's youngest hands," Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said today. "It must now advertise deadly weapons to kids by perverting childhood classics with no regard whatsoever for the real life carnage happening every day. To be frank, it's pathetic."

Regular readers know me as a staunch defender of gun rights and the Second Amendment, but I have to say this time I think the NRA may have gone too far. I don't argue with the need to promote responsible firearm use by children, but is this really the way to go about it? 

I think we have to ask ourselves some uncomfortable questions here. Consider "Little Red Riding Hood's" unchallenged assumption that immediately resorting to firearms is the right answer. Shouldn't that be the last option considered, after all else has failed? Shouldn't we give negotiations a try? Maybe not unilateral negotiations at first, but a joint effort involving Grandma, the huntsman and other forest creatures. That could pave the way for a Red-Big Bad one-on-one in which a mutually agreeable truce could be achieved.

And why do we immediately jump to the conclusion that the wolf is the villain? Instead of trying to shoot the poor creature, why aren't we asking why the wolf is the way he is. Was he really born that way, or did his environment make him that way?

How did society, in other words, fail the wolf? Has he faced a lifetime of "othering" that made him feel like an outsider? Or perhaps he has always been tormented by smug little girls with picnic baskets who call him names and hurt his feelings. How would we like "Big Bad" put in front of our names all the time? Maybe what the wolf needs is a safe zone in which no one can say mean things about him.

Certainly a bit of counseling is in order to help the wolf understand the traumas that shaped him and the neuroses that drive him. Only when he accepts himself can he escape the  pressures of low self-esteem that cause him to act out in inappropriate ways.

A change of environment would certainly help. It can't be healthy living in the forest with all the other predators, who must constantly reinforce each other's negative behavior. We need to get the wolf into a clean, safe habitat. And since the goal is to have improved human-wolf interactions, that means we need to start thinking about locating their dwellings in our neighborhoods, even the best ones.

The more we delve into is, the clearer it is that it can't be handled strictly by the private sector. Obviously some government intervention is required, and I hate to say it, but it's probably a job for Washington. I don't know that a Cabinet-level Department of Health and Wolf Services is required, but we at least need a Wolf Bureau, perhaps in the Interior Department, or maybe Agriculture.

Let's remember we're all in this together. With love and compassion, we can overcome anything.

Next, I was going to talk a little bit about trans-species bathrooms, but perhaps we should save that for another day.

Oh, and why are Hans & Gretel considered the heroes when they are clearly a couple of bratty trespassers who won't leave an old woman alone? Give her the gun so she can yell "Get off my lawn!" with real authority. 


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