This was originally a facebook post I made in 2015 in response to one of the numerous mass shootings our country has endured. Sadly, it's still relevant today and even sadder is the fact there have been so many shootings I honestly can't remember which one prompted this post. I chose to repost this here because a) I'm proud of this post and b) it is kind of the stylistic template for what a lot of the pieces on the nonfiction section of my site will be.
When I was little, say 3-5, I wasn't allowed to play with my older brother's Transformers toys. Looking back, it makes sense. I mean, I had just barely mastered not pooping in my own pants so why would I be trusted with complex actions figures that have tons of tiny, very breakable parts? Just because it makes sense doesn't mean I was happy about it at the time though. I'm sure I cried on more than one occasion after reaching for Optimus Prime and being told "No, you're not old enough for that toy yet".
And it's not like my brothers took a perverse joy in denying me access to their Transformers. I have great brothers. They love the heck out of me, they love Transformers, and I'm sure they couldn't wait to share that love with me. However, they understood it was best for everyone if I waited until I was old enough. Afterall, it was pretty much inevitable that I would break a Transformer which would mean two things 1) I would get in trouble for breaking said Transformer 2) They would no longer be able to play with the broken Transformer.
So, for a long time, my brothers had to keep the Transformers in their room on a shelf that I couldn't reach. I would go into their room and look at that shelf with all the jealousy my little four year old body could muster. Eventually, I was able to play with the Transformers but only if one of my brothers got it for me and taught me how to properly transform it. So I started out with the easy ones, Cliffjumper and Bumblebee, and slowly progressed onto more difficult Transformers. When I finally reached the age where I could play with Transformers unsupervised, I did so very carefully and with a lot of respect, because I understood that playing with Transformers was a privilege.
So, even though I hated that rule when I was little, I'm very glad my parents handled it that way. They could have just said, look, toys are toys and they all have to be shared equally. My three year old self would have been very happy with that, but I would have realized the mistake when I got older and we had a house full of broken Transformers. They also could have said, hey, if Robby can't play with Transformers then no one gets to play with Transformers. But that wouldn't have been fair to my brothers. They were the ones who spent hours watching Transformers. They were the ones who recorded the episodes on VHS for repeat viewings. They were the ones who carefully read the directions every time before transforming an action figure for the first time. They were the ones who knew all the lyrics to "The Touch" by Stan Bush. They were responsible Transformers owners.
Now I won't lie to you and say we had a perfect household, we had our problems. But you better believe that an epidemic of broken Transformers was not one of those problems.
Which brings me to this: I won't say guns need to be banned entirely. I will say, however, that I think guns in America should be regulated to the same extent that Transformers toys were regulated in my house growing up. I don't think that's too much to ask.