Should little boys play with toy guns?

Tech Central Station has a piece on two mothers and their rather different approaches to child-rearing. It is safe to assert that they might disagree on the guns/violence issue.

One mom is Mariam Farhat, who is very likely to win a seat in the January elections for the Palestinian parliament.

One of the reasons she is so popular is that she was (by some standards) an excellent mom who turned out exemplary sons:

“At first glance, this might seem like good news: a Muslim female who has the will to play an active role in the future of her country, and who is supported in her ambitions by the male-dominated political party to which she belongs. But, unfortunately, the party that is backing her is the terrorist organization Hamas, and her popularity is based on her well-deserved reputation as ‘the mother of martyrs.’

“Mariam Farhat got her nickname because three of her sons died either during an attack on Israeli settlers in Gaza or else while preparing for such an attack. Yet a good bit of her immense popularity must be attributed to a video that Hamas is using as part of its electoral campaign — a video in which Mrs. Farhat is shown advising her son Mohammed on how to kill Israelis, and in which she herself is seen toting a gun, like a Palestinian Ma Barker. Mohammed, by the way, was just seventeen — not old enough to buy cigarettes in the USA.

“Mother’s tactical advice must have been first-rate, because Mohammed was able to kill five Israeli settlers before he was himself whisked away to join the ranks of the martyrs in paradise. No wonder she is seen as ‘a sure vote-winner,’ as the writer of a Reuters news story breathlessly reported. Who could resist a woman who has happily sacrificed three sons to the cause of wiping Israel off the map, and who still has three more sons left to give the same sacred cause?”

The second mom of the piece is a typical U.S. mother.

“Not long ago, at the local Target department store, I heard a woman berating her eight or nine year old boy because he had asked her to buy him a toy gun. The poor kid looked so crushed and miserable that I seized the opportunity to offer unsolicited advice. I explained to the woman that my parents had given me a nifty toy machine gun, perched on a tripod, when I was about her son’s age, yet I had not grown up to become a mass murderer, though I did spend one wonderful summer mowing down my friends in my backyard. The boy’s face brightened, but the mother dashed his hopes by assuring me that it was really none of my business — and, of course, she was right. It wasn’t any of my business, and I should have kept my mouth shut. But that recognition on my part did not stop me from reflecting on the brief encounter I had had with the woman and her son.”
Yeah, it’s easy to dismiss Mom II as a silly liberal-but should we do this? Tech Central asks:

“What happens to a society where moms forbid their boys to play with toy guns? Especially if this society is living in a world where there are moms like Mariam Farhat who are willing to offer their boys pointers on how to kill people with real ones?”