This might be just another cute picture of little boys playing war if it weren't for the fact that it's church sponsored.
The details are below the fold....
This picture is by AP photographer Jerry Wolford and a thumbnail was running in the Charlotte.com The Day in Photos section on the left sidebar.
The caption made my heart sink.
Preschoolers at the First Presbyterian Church march in "Army Day" in Greensboro, N.C. The children competed in "basic training" events such as the balance beam, hoop jumping, and crawling through tunnels to earn their walkie-talkies, plastic rifles and vests.
It might seem impossible, but it has left me as close to speechless as anything I've read, heard or seen in a long time.
I understand little boys (and girls) like to play with toy guns and they like to play army. My brothers did and so did I. We also played cowboys and Indians. These were neighborhood games and we weren't in preschool!
Never, in my wildest dreams could I imagine a church sponsoring an event where little boys are given guns. Last I checked Greensboro isn't a military town. That might make it a little more understandable. Spring is a time for field day activities at schools, but usually fun is its own reward. That a church would choose to give out guns, helmets and kiddie kevlar is simply stunning.
The picture leaves you wondering where the little girls are and what their activies and prizes were. I'm sure they got to do something fun like roll bandages.
I'm not even going to touch on the parenting issues this raises in my mind. Anyone who has had a child in a church preschool knows that nothing happens without parental participation. What in God's name were these people thinking 'cause you know they didn't sit these kids down and talk to them about responsible gun use now did they?
And the kid with the gun in the air? Just who taught him that jihadist pose?
Update: The good news is that this is not church sponsored. That was my main concern. First Presbyterian has said they do not allow children to play with toy weapons. Their response is pretty strong and is in the comments below and at Ed Cone's site.
We just arrived home from school activities this morning, so I'm about to call the church. I wanted to get this update posted as quickly as possible and will post anything additional that I get from the church. Also I removed "Presbyterian" from the title, since it wasn't church sponsored, but left the rest.
Update II: I just spoke with the Associated Press office in Raleigh and the caption is being changed. I was the second person to call about this. Sadly, this photo was seen in quite a few markets all over the country. Hopefully, they will continue to run the photo for a while with the new caption.
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