Nanny state politics has ruled California for many years. If it moves, the California legislature wants to tax it, regulate it, or mandate it. Schools have also been under the thumb of teachers union bureaucracies and with that comes behavior that is one-size-fits-all – dictated by a nanny state bureaucracy that is rigid and unbending.

Strobridge Elementary in Hayward, California held what they called a “toy gun exchange” which offered students a book in exchange for turning in their Nerf guns, squirt guns, and other neon-plastic playtime firearms. They were even entered into a raffle to win a free bicycle.

Giving the kids a book is a great idea. But it will help expand the mind only if that child is encouraged to read. That’s a parent’s responsibility.

I have driven by Strobridge Elementary School multiple times since my son often plays sports at schools based in Hayward. It’s understandable that a principal would be concerned about gun violence as Hayward has a high crime rate.  I also worry too about areas like Hayward which have high unemployment and limited job opportunities.

But is focusing only on toy, plastic guns the best way to teach our children lessons about gun violence?

Would you rather have your kids inside on a hot summer day playing violent video games – or outside enjoying friends, running around, playing with squirt guns?

The fear of Nerf and squirt gun focus appears to be on kids emulating criminals when in fact, every little boy I know exhibits behavior seen in our men in uniform – soldiers, policemen, firefighters, and the occasional ninja warrior.

Offering the child of a working class family a bicycle is an incentive, yes, but I would rather see that incentive used to encourage him to turn off and turn in the violent video game that he plays on his television, smart phone, or game boy. Kids are learning far more violent behavior sitting around with these games than they are running around having fun in the streets.

For my part, I’ve seen the laughter and imagination that erupts on a hot summer day through a water gun fight. You don’t see that same laughter when a kid is acting as executioner at his video play station.