Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 8.55.43 PMWhen I was a child I spent a lot of time out riding my bike and inventing games with my friends, just using our imagination. We really did only have about ten TV channels, and usually only got to watch cartoons on Saturday morning.  Besides my parents and church, these cartoons helped me sort out the difference between good and evil.  The slide show below will remind you of some of the shows I commonly watched. These days, I do tend to be overly nice. If you were to meet me in person, I smile a lot, and mostly say kind things – unless I feel very strongly about something.  This comes from being a shy child, maybe it is a defense of some sort, but it is who I am. I do get more direct when I know a person well – but even then I lean toward nice.  I have this personality despite watching these kinds of TV shows during my formative years and despite spending nearly 23 years in the military with constant talk of warfighting and being surrounded by a majority of gun loving people all my life. Watching these shows did not make me into a mass murderer, they are not even the reason I am a gun enthusiast now.  I guess, I just thought guns were normal.  I did not think that because Tom and Jerry occasionally shot at each other that I should handle my problems that way any more than watching Roadrunner and Coyote made me think that I should call the ACME company and order bombs, anvils, or dropping pianos to take care of my problems. It was just a cartoon and their crazy antics made me giggle. When it was over, my sister and I turned off the TV, went outside and tried to catch “bad guys” in one of our creative outdoor games.

Click through the photos below, did you watch these cartoons? Remind me of the ones I didn’t get in the comments below

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I’d like to know what you think.  Is our world a better place now?  Children’s programming is geared mostly toward education and sweetness.  If you let your kids watch only TV rated for 7 years old and younger, the biggest conflict is that one animated train may have hurt another animated train’s feelings.  With the increase in technology and the massive swell of the video games in our culture – there is more than enough opportunity for violent scenes to make their way in front of our children anyway.

What are the pros and cons between childhood in the 1960s and 1970s vs. now.  How much do you think these old cartoons peppered with guns influenced who we are now?  In a world where a child cannot even use his fingers or his breakfast toaster pastry as a pretend gun, what will this country be like in another 40 years?



7 Replies to “Did Gun Friendly Cartoons from the 1970s Influence Who We Are Now?”

  1. You and I sound like the same person, only I didn’t serve in the military, but my father did, so I grew up with the same up bringing, and love of guns!! I was just thinking tonight how when I was little we would go to a local park for picnics, and there was an out of commission cannon that we would play war on!! Doing that didn’t give me the urge to become a murder, it allowed me to use my imagination!! Thank God for games of war, and parents that let us use just about anything we could find as a fake gun!! Oh to the good old days!!

    1. Jessica – I am sure that there are many just like us out there as well, maybe even a few who have forgotten where they came from. I think about my little son’s sanitized life, and feel just a little sorry for him that he can’t grow up a little more “free”, just like we did. It was a great childhood!

  2. L’il, the fact is the 50’s, 60’s 70’s cartoons didn’t play political correctness, and our parents were war veterans. They knew guns, and knew they were part of life. We weren’t into the touchy/feely PCism…

  3. Lil, we both grew up watching the same cartoons, and playing the same games with Andi at Anna and Lock’s home. We used to have so much fun! And I played war games with my grade school friends, and cowboys and indians, and fantasy spy games; it made me a more well-rounded, fun kid to be around. I moved on to BB-guns and shooting .22’s at targets and pop cans and learned great target skills and a healthy respect for weapons from relatives and other adults. All these skills, from playing “war” to learning how to shoot before starting junior high, all made me a better Marine. Most of the fine Marines, war-fighters, that I had the honor to serve with, all had similar childhood experiences, and it made us into the men and women we are today who choose to serve our country with honor and distinction. We didn’t turn in to homicidal maniacs because we grew up watching cartoons with guns or shooting squirrels, birds, rabbits, or deer before we became teenagers. In fact, because we grew up around weapons, and target practice, and shooting the occasional varmint, we respect handguns and rifles, and are better people because of it. James Holmes and Adam Lanza and Dylan and Klebold, didn’t grow up with a healthy respect for weapons. They were mentally ill people who lacked parental guidance and involvement in their lives. They either illegally obtained their weapons (stole them from their mother), or had they been properly treated for their mental illness and that treatment put on the existing background check records like it should be, would have been denied a weapons purchase. Lil I love your blog. You are always spot on with your information and commentary. We need more lawmakers, politicians to read it, then they might begin to really understand gun rights issues and what the 2nd Amendment to our constitution truly means.

    1. David – Those really were great days! Your post brings back so many memories of exactly what was wonderful about our childhood. People didn’t think in terms of political correctness, and yet the days at Anna’s and Lock’s were far more pure than most American’s life now. It was about family time, history, enjoying those we love. Today my son had two Nerf dart guns and he was playing with a little friend around the house. I told them not to “shoot” each other, primarily because I was afraid if his friend went home and told his mom they were “shooting” each other with soft darts that I might get a call. All the things you mentioned, the games you played with your friends, all of that was possible because we were free to just play – which really made us free to dream and figure out what we really thought about life.

      When you get to talk to brand-new young Marines, do you think that most of them grew up with guns as well, like you and your peers? I have zero doubt that a Marine Drill Instructor at Boot Camp can turn anyone into a lean-mean-fighting-machine, but I do think there is a growing group of people in this country who have never even seen a gun in real life. (I think that is where a lot of the irrational gun fear comes from.)

      The reason I was thinking about these cartoons is because I was thinking about the gun shaped pop-tart that caused a child to get suspended. The more I thought about it, it came to me that our culture has completely sanitized our children’s life. This is in the last 30 or 40 years, and it makes me wonder what things will be like 40 years from now if it continues this way.

      And – THANK YOU for the kind words about the blog, it really means a lot to me coming from you!

  4. Many of the cartoons you cited were made in the 1960’s and earlier. By the 1970’s many of the scenes in those cartoons (involving firearms) had been edited out (before being shown on Saturday morning TV). The Tom and Jerry cartoons as well as the Warner Brothers classics were all tremendously violent by today’s standards, yet nobody engaged in “copy cat” violence as a result. Children today are being conditioned to fear guns of any kind, whether they are functional or not. Paper outlines and half-eaten pastries create the same reaction that real guns once did.

    1. AK – I clicked over and read your Zero Tolerance page, you have an amazing collection of examples where things have gone extremely askew within our schools. I hope others check you out too.

      Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one that sees this, and it is people like you that remind me there are more of us out there – we just need to keep trying to get the word out! Thank you for what you are doing, the info on your site is fantasic!

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