Living back in New York City as a daily subway commuter, I’m reminded of how passengers are subjected to many things. One of the most egregious of these daily chores being the MTA and the New York City’s marketing propaganda. The attached photograph is the City’s and the NYPD’s latest movement, though I’m unsure how long it’s been up as I’ve been away.
The topic is guns. Handguns are no joke and handguns have no place among ordinary citizens in a civilized society. But the mere language of this advert renders it an implicit catch 22 making its contents null and void. The ad reads:
“In New York City it’s illegal to paint a real gun to look like a toy and it’s illegal to sell a toy gun that looks real.”
Sounds reasonable enough. In a city of 8 million and countless more tourists, commuters, and traveling individuals passing in and out of New York City every day, it’s only logical. Guns have no place in a civilized society, as I’ve said. However there is also an implicit catch 22 in this lingo which should be fairly obvious.
Kids (or adults) who are handling a toy gun in a non-threatening manner are not going to even be aware of such laws on the books. So on the off chance that someone who does not know these laws is carrying a plastic, real-looking pistol and they are taken away, it’s more for show than anything else. An innocent person is inconvenienced, is ultimately found innocent, is angry, and never returns to the City again. Maybe they were on their way to a costume party, theatre audition, or some other innocent event. The cops claim victory, the peasants are frightened but relieved, and life goes on.
At the same time, adults or kids who are handling real guns made up to look like toys in a very threatening and very real way are not going to be flailing these devices around in such a way that they would ever be caught. So the fact that these real-life potential perps of gun violence are overlooked means that the cop who’s busting the guy with the plastic pistol is doubly not doing his job.
The last fact about this is that the law isn’t against people who are wielding these fake, real-looking guns. The punishment is towards the seller of these goods. Last time I checked in Toys r Us you could still buy a real looking fake gun.
So where does New York City get off with this ad campaign? Where do we as disgruntled consumers need to draw the line? Gun violence has no place in our world. It would have no place in our nation, were there no guns. We either get rid of the guns or we relinquish order and the rules of civilization.
So how do we get rid of the guns?