Super Soakers Are the Gateway Toy for Serial Killers

Here’s a fun year-end activity one school came up with for its students: exchange your toy guns for a book! As this article reports:

Principal Charles Hill maintains that children who play with toy guns may not take real guns seriously. “Playing with toys guns, saying ‘I’m going to shoot you,’ desensitizes them, so as they get older, it’s easier for them to use a real gun,” Hill said.

A follow-up report on the radio said super soakers are among the toys turned in. Super soakers? Do they know how hot it gets around here in the summer time? Oh well, maybe the kids can throw water balloons and squirt each other with hoses. Wait a sec, that won’t work either. Those kids will probably pretend the balloons are grenades and the hoses are flame throwers!

And besides, haven’t these people ever seen kids who can’t afford toy guns? They pick up sticks and imagine they’re rifles or bazookas. And if no sticks are around, they point their fingers and say “Bang bang!” What will the school officials do next year, cut off the fingers of toy-less kids who say “Stick ’em up!”?


My own feelings about carrying a gun aside, the danger of desensitization is real. It’s just that they are focusing on the wrong thing. You see, the world desensitizes us to the real threat.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12.)

And as horrible and senseless as gun violence is, Jesus told us we are not to fear it:

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28.)

If schools want to insist that kids shouldn’t play with toy weapons, even when school’s out for the summer, I suppose it’s going to happen. I’d rather we concentrate on teaching about how to deal with the real battle going on around us all the time, though, a battle won only in Jesus. And he won it not by beating anyone up, nor by taking away their weapons. He won it by losing his life.

You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,
because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.

Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! (Revelation 5:9, 12.)

It’s because he was slain that Jesus is worthy of all honor that exists in the heavenly realms. Amazing.


So what should we be sensitive to? I tend to think it’s not the remote possibility that a kid playing with a super soaker will grow up and want to take up a firearm and hurt somebody. We should be sensitive to the things of God, focusing on who he is, our relationship to him and what he has to tell us in his word. As Jesus told Peter when he focused on the wrong things:

You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns. (Mark 8:33.)

I’d rather not have merely human concerns. I’d rather have in mind the concerns of God.

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15 Responses to Super Soakers Are the Gateway Toy for Serial Killers

  1. Tim gotta love the rationalization of today’s society. In the business sections we will read about how important and significant innovation is. Then we will read about how companies are struggling to be innovative and the reason we are losing jobs is because of our lack of innovation.

    Yet, this quote remind us of how we are stifling our kids creativity and imgination.

    “Principal Charles Hill maintains that children who play with toy guns may not take real guns seriously. “Playing with toys guns, saying ‘I’m going to shoot you,’ desensitizes them, so as they get older, it’s easier for them to use a real gun,” Hill said”

    I was one of those kids who picked up sticks, in fact we would compare them as to OK “That stick can be a rifle, that one is a machine gun, that one is a pistol. Then we would play hide an seek, build imaginary forts so forth. Today I own no gun, never have, just no desire to.

    Now I would imagine that there are kids that do pick up firearms one day and take it to the next level, one would be ignorant to not think so. However as your post points out Tim, the issue is not in becoming desensitizated.

    Rather in the developing of as you say “Sensitization” to those things and only those things that can bring the imagaination in proper alignment. May we remember to encourage our kids imagnations while being “sensitive to the things of God, focusing on who he is, our relationship to him and what he has to tell us in his word. As Jesus told Peter when he focused on the wrong things.”

    I am thankful for grandparents and parents who chose not to hinder my imagination but rather make sure it was aligned with its orginal created purpose.

    Thanks Tim for a good read! :

    • Tim says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Patrick. I think God redeems imaginations as much as he does the rest of who we are, and the type of play you describe as a kid is exactly the type that God can use to develop us into the people he wants us to be.

  2. Jeannie says:

    It’s kind of funny, but your point about desensitization got me thinking about Northanger Abbey! I watched the movie version not long ago and in one scene Henry talks to Catherine about what he had earlier, half-jokingly, called “vampirism” in their home. He explains what he meant — how their father’s coldness and cruelty drained away their mother’s life — and says, “No vampires, no blood; the worst crimes are the crimes of the heart.” I think this relates to what you’re saying about the danger of focusing on desensitization to the wrong things.

    • Tim says:

      Nice connection, Jeannie. In NA, General Tilney certainly had become desensitized to his family. I think if his daughter Eleanor had stayed under his roof for a few more years her life would have been drained away as well.

    • KSP says:

      That is a brilliant comment! 🙂

  3. Erica says:

    You’ve got it right there. I lived in a rural town where basically everyone owned a gun. I shot my first gun when I was only five years old and grew up learning gun safety. My brother and I would go at each other with super soakers all the time. But I also grew up learning about Jesus every day from my parents. That was the big focus our lives and that’s what made the difference.

    • Tim says:

      Good point, Erica. Without Jesus even the most pacifist philosophy is meaningless, and with him we can rightly understand how to treat those around us with God’s love (whether that includes recreational use of firearms or not). Your parents raised you well!

  4. Adriana says:

    Very sensible post, Tim. Around here we do have some rules regarding super soakers though — like no soaking Mama on Sunday morning!

  5. michellevl says:

    I was one of those parents who insisted that I would have no toy guns in the house…until I saw my sons in the backyard playing army using sticks as weapons, just as Patrick noted above. Fortunately for my little warriors, the first generation of SuperSoakers hit the market at around the same time. Those plastic, neon-colored guns were loaded with fun, not mayhem, so I relented and bought a couple. They were the only toy guys they ever owned, but they got hours of entertainment out of squirting each other, the house, the neighbors, the trees, various cans, and an occasional slow-moving squirrel.

    I appreciate your application of this lesson to make the point that our biggest challenge as parents is to sensitize our kids to the nature of the battle going on around us – and to hear and obey the Lord’s voice in the midst of it. Great reminder, Tim.

    • Tim says:

      Thanks Michelle. Do you remember what squirt guns were like when we were kids? So wimpy and anemic! I can’t imagine the mayhem I would have engaged in if super soakers had been around for me to play with back then.

  6. KSP says:

    We used a squirt gun to help break our dog of some bad habits. Very humane and effective.

    • Tim says:

      That would have been effective on our last dog too, since she hated water. She wouldn’t even get close to the edge of the pool. let alone go in. I’ve known dogs where the squirt gun technique would be meaningless, though, since they were the type who ran to every gushing garden hose and tried to swallow all the water for themselves!

  7. Aimee Byrd says:

    It’s like telling someone not to think of a pink elephant…

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