In honor of Father’s Day, the White House tweeted out this picture on Saturday of President Obama shooting water guns with his daughters:
The image is of course completely harmless, but it’s amusing in light of schools’ recently cracking on students for having toy guns or even making references to them and a moral panic over toy guns’ leading to a culture of violence.
Last month, a six-year-old student was given detention after “traumatizing” classmates with a Lego gun the size of a quarter. A few weeks ago, several students were suspended from school for playing with a nerf gun — that had been brought in at the request of a teacher for a class lesson. And in the most ludicrous story yet, a second-grader was suspended from school in March for chewing a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun. The student recently appealed the suspension and was denied by the acting superintendant.
But some gun-control advocates have applied their moral outrage consistently, and gone after President Obama. On Twitter, Columbia professor and MSNBC commentator Marc Lamont Hill criticized the White House’s picture. After describing President Obama generally positively as an “anti-gun president,” Hill wrote that the toy was a “military style water gun” which contributes to “gun culture” by normalizing “violent behavior, language, and imagery.”
He wrote in one tweet:
As I’ve said many times before, toy guns, shoot ‘me up games, etc. contribute to a dangerous culture of violence. That’s my issue.— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) June 17, 2013
And in another:
On a deeper level, I worry that too many toys (especially male toys) encourage our children too be aggressive rather than imaginative.— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) June 17, 2013