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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Doodles of Doom in Retrospect

I think we had a great body of entries for the Doodles of Doom contest, but if I run one again, I’m inviting this guy to play. If you follow the links, I think that everyone would admit that he would have been in the running for the top spot.

And, now, bringing it all home: of all the people that came through and viewed those pictures, how many of them thought that those sketches represented something dangerous, threatening, or scary? The young man who was suspended from school for sketching a “laser gun” on his homework doesn’t sound any more dangerous or frightening than the people who entered this contest; his doodle no more dangerous than any other piece of paper with scribblings on it.

I leave room to consider that there were extenuating circumstances: did he write something threatening to the teacher? Has he displayed a real weapon in the classroom before? Was there something to make the faculty of the school believe that it wasn’t a drawing of a gun, but a threat to a specific individual? Obviously, the view from the news stories is going to be limited, but his mother seemed awfully credible when she said that wasn’t the case and that all he had done was draw a laser gun on his homework.

I’ve known parents who won’t let their children play with anything that approximates a gun, though, and I know the animosity some people have towards guns. I can easily imagine that animosity spilling over to an irrational response in a school and blaming that response on some zero tolerance rules related to some high profile school shooting. If the kid had actually brought in a functional weapon, I would understand the response; but I’m guessing that if he had brought in one live round, the response would have been even more over the top. And exactly how dangerous is that .45 ACP round without a weapon to shoot it from?

This kind of fear of guns isn’t based on anything rational; it’s born of emotions unfettered by thought and propped up with a tremendous amount of ignorance.

Anyway, if you think that this was fun and would like to play again, give me your suggestions and I’ll be happy to host them.

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