March 26th, 2015
The Kids-With-Dildos ‘Gun Safety’ Ad Isn’t Just Weird, It’s Dangerously Misleading
There’s a new “gun safety” PSA from a group called Evolve that shows little kids sword-fighting with dildos that’s captured the imagination of every blog that wants to get “dildo” into a headline (which is to say, all of them). But the seemingly benign message behind the deliberately provocative premise is a dangerous lie.
Consider yourself trolled once you’ve watched this ad, which features the aforementioned dilduel, in full view of chagrined mom whose (pair of?) dildos made their way into little hands, with the tagline “If they find it, they’ll play with it, so always lock up your guns.”
Aside from the fact that these two kids clearly need a few weeks at Mace Windu’s Simulated Meatsaber Academy, the first thing that comes to mind is that this message is marginally more palatable than that of the NRA, which insists that it’s all about keeping guns away from kids, while also telling its members that if they lock up their guns, their families will be murdered.
This has led some commentators to forgive the group’s bullshitty “no political position” position on guns, in hopes that the ad will do some good. From Wonkette:
While we generally find the no-position position on anything, really, to be some bullshit, we’ll put up with it if it means that some timid mom or dad somewhere will actually say “oh hey, Jimmy’s Mom, could you please tell us if you have a trampoline or if you let the kids eat candy or oh also too do you keep guns in an easy-to-reach cupboard?”
This requires ignoring the vast differences between gun culture and dildo culture, because aside from their similarities as surrogate penises, there’s little common ground there. Dildo owners don’t bring their kids along for dildo-using trips, or dildo practice, and you’re not going to rent a dildo at a dildo range and have it jump in your kid’s hand and kill him. Most kids don’t know you have a dildo, and won’t spend every available minute alone looking for it.
That’s fine, though, clearly the intent here is to model something that you don’t want your kids to find and play with, in a memorable and provocative fashion. Mission accomplished, I guess, but the entire campaign ignores two crucial facts.
The first is that it’s already not working. Despite widespread and comprehensive awareness and education, 40% of gun owners with children do not lock up their guns, so even if you don’t own a gun, or you keep it locked, your kids are still at risk when they leave your house. Now ask yourself how eager people who won’t even talk about guns with their doctor are going to be to assuage your anxiety when your kid shows up for a birthday party.
But let’s say you decide to keep your kids from ever leaving the house, and keep your own guns locked up, nice and safe. What the dildo people aren’t telling you is that even locking up your guns doesn’t work:
Keeping a gun locked and keeping a gun unloaded have protective effects of 73% and 70%, respectively, with regard to risk of both unintentional injury and suicide for children and teenagers. These ﬁndings were consistent for both handguns and long guns (riﬂes and shotguns).
Now, there is one other thing that parents can do to keep their children more safe from guns, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics:
The best way to keep your children safe from injury or death from guns is to NEVER have a gun in the home.
- Do not purchase a gun, especially a handgun.
- Remove all guns present in the home.
- Remember that young children simply do not understand how dangerous guns can be, despite parents’ warnings .
- Find out if there are guns in the homes where your children play. If so, talk to the adults in the house about the dangers of guns to their families.
This won’t be 100% effective, of course, because you’ve still got to worry about your kids visiting other kids whose parents not only don’t want to hear shit from pediatricians, but want to make it illegal for pediatricians to counsel anyone about children and gun safety.
It is a start, though, and if Evolve is really committed to humoring gun owners into thinking they’re not horrible people for keeping guns and children in the same place, they could at least explain that even if you lock and/or unload your gun, you still have to pay really fucking close attention, because even locked or unloaded guns have the success rate of a middle reliever pitching to a utility infielder.
Because at 73%, the guns still have a .270 batting average
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