Conner Jay / The Press Democrat / AP

When I was a kid, I used to love playing with pistols. They were my favorite toy out of all the battery-powered electronic cars and planes that I had. I don’t know what motivated me, but those tiny pistols used to make me feel smarter and braver than anyone else around. And no, that was before I met James Bond.

As I grew, I realized that guns were not a good thing. Even in the right hands, guns can do a lot of damage. Unless you want to be in defense, there is absolutely no reason to toy around with a gun. And even if you want to be a member of the Army or other armed forces, you don’t need to show off your gun tricks at home or in public.

So, I ditched my most favorite toy. I was probably 16 or 17 at that time.

I wonder if Andy Lopez was alive, would he have thought the same way when he would turn 17?

If you are unaware, a 13-year-old boy named Andy Lopez lost his life because two police officers misunderstood a toy gun he was carrying for a real weapon and shot him to death. According to TIME, police officers believed the gun he was carrying was a real AK 47, stopped their car, chirped the siren and asked him to drop the gun.

Instead of following officers’ order, the kid started to turn around to face the officers, still holding on to his toy gun. Fearing that the kid might start shooting, the officers had to fire some round which took the life of this innocent little kid.

Little did the officers know that the gun he was holding was actually a harmless toy.

It’s not the officers

You should read the full report on TIME for more information and a little bit of background on such fatal incidents. But I’ll talk about this incident in particular.

We all know that in recent weeks, there have been multiple shooting events at multiple places across the United States. With those in mind, I can’t possibly blame those two officers because they must have thought the same thing when they were in a “to shoot or not to shoot” question that needed to be answered and acted upon within seconds. If the kid was indeed holding a real gun and had an intention of opening fire, the officers only had time to take him down before the kid finally faces them. And I’m pretty sure the officers had no way of recognizing that gun as a toy and were forced to open fires at the kid.

He might be a kid, but he could still do damages if what he was holding was a real gun.

It’s not even the kid

When you know that what you’re holding is identical to a real gun, and when you hear a cop asking to drop what you have in hand, you can realize that the guys are serious and you should obey them very carefully. Or else you run the risk of getting shot.

But Andy was 13. He had no possible knowledge that when a cop asks to drop the “gun”, they are dead serious. Failure to listen to them may cause unrepairable damage. Clearly, he had no idea why the cops were asking to drop his gun. Perhaps he didn’t even realize that the policemen were asking him to drop the gun. He might have just wondered what the guys in the back were shouting at. Holding on to his dear toy, he was turning around when he was shot seven times and died on the spot.

We all understand this is a very, very sad incident. But we should also understand that we can’t blame those policemen, who are currently on leave due to investigation, for what happened. Imagine what you would have done if you were in that situation. If you don’t act quickly, you run the risk of getting fired at. What would you do?

It is the gun

So who’s responsible for such an unfortunate incident? I will rephrase the question before answering. What is responsible for this?

I know I’m right. It’s the gun.

The first thing that came to my mind immediately after I read the story is: why do kids have to play with toy guns? I mean, guns are not good, right? Imagine what would have happened if there were no guns in the whole world. Of course, bad guys would have continued doing bad things in their own way – but without any guns. Therefore our good guys wouldn’t need gun as well.

Knowing that guns are bad, why would people make toy guns, or why would parents buy their kids toy guns? I find no point of toy guns except that for making movies or stage plays.

I might sound stupid, but I’m very serious about this. If you read that article over at TIME, you already know that some sort of brightly colored marks on toy guns are required so that they can be easily distinguished by law enforcers. When they aren’t, bad things tend to happen. And there is at least one such unfortunate event every year.

So, with sympathy in my heart for the 13-year-old kid who didn’t know what was coming to him for his innocent actions, I agree with the legislation that toy guns either be banned or certain replicas not be sold to minors. Because I assume if the person was 20-year-old instead of 13, he would have known the situation was serious and the first thing he would do was throw the gun away to make the officers feel safe. He would have the knowledge that the situation was serious, and just holding on to the thing would bring deadly consequences.

What do you think about this? Should toy guns be banned or stopped being sold to minors? Can’t that be an effective way to reduce and permanently stop such horrible incidents from happening again?

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