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End glorification of guns

August 2, 2011

Dear Sir,

I would like to take this opportunity and applaud the St George's team for a good victory and the groundsmen for creating a spectacular arena, great job! I must state I'm a devoted Somerset fan but I have no hesitation tipping my hat in response to two wonderful days of cricket. I thought this would be a fine opportunity to introduce and expose my three sons to an event of this magnitude allowing them to witness thousands of people convene at one venue. How amazed they were! To my dismay, along with my sons' and perhaps many others, we had to be subjected to many preteens walking and running around shooting cap guns. I must highlight that a few were just having innocent fun pointing their weapons in the air or toward the ground.

Some were in the company of adults, nevertheless this gun situation is not and should not be a point of glorification nor entertainment for our young males, no matter how innocent it may appear. These are not the good old days where three or four friends played a clean innocent, illustrious, portray of cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians these are not those times where you might want to hang your cloak of justification and simply say we did it when we were younger.

Times have changed. What was once fun and entertaining has manifested into a deadly reality, so although some of these young males were in the company of a respectable adult bear in mind this equation, figuratively and literally. No matter how respectable the adult and how innocent the fun what starts off as a figurative act has the propensity to become a literal response. Keep in mind a young male received 35 years last week for shooting his friend in the back. As I mingled with my sons and coached them with their queries we came across a bunch of older males in their late teens and early twenties engaged in an altercation right in the midst of hundreds of onlookers, throwing bottles at two other males — one of the bottles hitting a victim square in the head.

The victims returned with a few friends only to be halted by the police and to a solid round of applause from spectators. As the tea interval started I ushered my sons onto the field so they would see the ground from another perspective as per usual many people took to the field. Just when I thought we had escaped the unpleasant distasteful sound of these cap guns two preteens can be seen running through the crowd and pointing their guns at one another, walking up to their peers pushing their weapons into their peer's backs and heads and letting their shots ring out.

My sons, as impressionable as they are witnessed, this deplorable act. I told my sons those boys are not acting right and what they are doing is not nice. To enforce my point and make the whole experience influential I called one of the boys to me and asked to see his gun. When he gave it to me I did my best to crush it into many pieces, of course he was not impressed and very upset. I approached his accomplice and took his gun and did the same. Remember I have my three sons, 16-months-old in my arms a three and four year old by my side. I was soon set upon by two women who demanded to know why I bothered their sons. I tried to explain that what they were doing is not right. As I was being accompanied off the field by a few respectable men and women that really understood what had happened and saluted me in my stance one of the boys out right told me “f**k you”.

What are you teaching your sons, remember your principles today will be Bermuda's problems tomorrow. Bermuda — it is time to stop going to work in your nice clothing, hair done to a point, leather brief case and your square toe shoes, and stop giving your children what they want to entertain themselves, stop drinking, smoking and cursing around your children as if they are some of your peers and start being health character building parents.

At the end of the day I believe many got the point, it was never intended to discourage these young boys. In today's society gun violence is like never before, with many shootings and multiple murders. My sons have seen me cry for my friends but more so for the sons and daughters they leave behind. Here we have parents that want to entertain themselves and others that they are willing to provide their children with the funds so the children can entertain themselves. Blackberries, video games, inappropriate DVDs, the list goes on but in this case cap guns. Parents have to be more vigilant. It's one thing to have a great career and look good in the face of society but how are you raising your children?

The great Edward Ice Water Smith always says he did not just grow up, he was brought up. In other words he was raised. Bermuda, what are you doing are you (raising), bringing up your children or are they just growing up? The question begs a response! I would like to appeal to all sports clubs and the different venues that house public events to start censoring and questioning what these vendors will be selling. Although you are not 100 percent to blame you must share some of the responsibility. After all these are your events.

To the vendor I am telling you stop exploiting our young people, be more decisive and conscious as to what you are selling. These are not the good old days anymore. Don't expose our children to hidden dangers, masking them as innocent fun. Now knowing this it would be very sinister of you to continue on this way for the sake of economic gain.

So who gives me the authority? My community and the state of it gives me the boldness. My God, my Father, my Daddy my brother and The Holy Spirit, that's who gives me the authority!

JOSHUA W. BUTLER

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Published August 06, 2011 at 8:00 am (Updated August 06, 2011 at 8:42 am)

End glorification of guns

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