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07 December 2008

Because Ten Year Old Boys With Cap Guns Are A Threat. . .

. . . To our way of life, the Newton County School System has declared a war on innocent child's play.

You may have heard this or even seen it on the news.

In Newton County, the home of ten year old Alandis Ford was stormed by six sheriff's deputies who demanded that Ford produce a $5.95 cap gun from Wal-Mart before arresting him on charges of possessing a weapon on school property and terroristic acts and threats.

This all came about because Ford's mother, Tosha, bought her son a toy gun that was similar to the ones he was studying about in school.

"It kind of reminded me of the [soldiers'] guns that I was studying," Alandis said, "because I had brought pictures home of the gun and stuff, and that gun that I had reminded me of the revolver" depicted in his textbook [Source: 11Alive.com, "10 Yr. Old with Toy Gun Arrested, Fingerprinted", December 5, 2008].

Little Alandis made the mistake of taking his toy gun to school and then the adults proved once again that zero tolerance equals zero thinking on their part.

Lt. Mark Mitchell of the Newton County Sheriff's Dept. told 11Alive that even though his investigators quickly realized that they were dealing with a ten year old kid and his toy gun, "In this day and time, we do not take anything lightly, whether it's a toy gun or a real weapon, for the safety of the kids and everyone involved, the safety of the school. That's our main concern."

"A toy gun is a toy gun," Lt. Mitchell said, "to be played with and for kids to have fun with. But when kids use it the wrong way, just like anything, then it can be scary."

Now when I was in the first grade, I remember a classmate of mine brought a cap gun to school. He was showing it off to the other kids and the teacher ended up taking it from him. The lesson learned there was quite simple. Don't bring toys to school.

What lesson can be learned from this incident?

That our society is becoming one based on fear and not on logic. Because something may be scary, we must act quickly and decisively to stomp it out.

In the words of American journalist Dorothy Thompson, "The most destructive element in the human mind is fear. Fear creates aggressiveness." Fear of another Columbine-like shooting created zero tolerance in our schools and fear is creating the aggressive responses we're seeing to seemingly innocent situations such as the one involving ten year old Alandis Ford and his $5.95 toy gun from Wal-Mart.