A reader pushes back against this post:
It is not obscene to post pictures of happy kids with firearms on a company website. Cricket is marketing to parents. The term “marketing to kids” is more appropriate for campaigns that push something harmful into spaces where kids will be found, as with heavily-sugared cereals advertised on cartoon shows. Cricket isn’t doing anything like this. It is producing a rifle-sized appropriately for children to shoot. That’s not a terrible thing. Gun owners with kids generally want to share their interest with their offspring. If you are going to shoot with your kids, a rifle that fits them is a good thing to have.
There are sound reasons to teach children to shoot.
For one, none of us is getting any younger. It is not a given that I will be around for my kids when they reach an age when the editors of Mother Jones will be comfortable with them learning to shoot. For another, if you know teenagers, then you know that 18 is a lousy time to introduce something potentially dangerous to them. There is a litany of rules for safe firearm handling. Those are best learned early, before the age of risk taking and rejection of authority.
I don’t believe in the ever-elongated infantilization of kids. Ours have real responsibility and even authority appropriate to their development. I believe they will be better prepared for adulthood than others in their age cohort who will have been sheltered from everything significant until suddenly turned loose.
I’m raising my son to be careful with firearms and respectful of their potential to harm. So far he has earned numerous accolades from other adults for his safe gunhandling skills. I have a shortened version of a regular bolt-action rifle for my kids. It’s approximately the same size as a Cricket. But I also keep that rifle in a safe, because it is not his burden to bear.
The rifle that Cricket manufactures has a number of safety features particular to it that are not present on standard firearms. They did their part. They are not insidious or evil for posting pictures sent by proud and happy parents on their website.
(Photo: A screenshot from the “Kids Corner” section of Cricket’s website)