A few years ago, Wilt Chamberlain opened a sports-theme bar and restaurant in my town. A few months later, Pete Rose did, too.
From Planet Hollywood to the All-Star Cafe, it seemed as though theme restaurants were sprouting up everywhere -- even supermodels like Christy Turlington were becoming restaurateurs.
A new group is threatening to join this list. Almost a month ago, the National Rifle Association announced that its thinking of opening its own restaurant in Times Square. Amongst the endless parade of flashy billboards and glitzy lights, you might one day find the NRA Cafe.
Promoted as a family-oriented eatery, the NRA notes that it will not sell guns in the restaurant. They say that the restaurant will feature virtual video games and "family shooting" activities.
It's true that the NRA is not the only group that has condoned weapons in games; there has been a long line that has preceded them with gun-themed entertainment. It's certainly nothing new. But to offer this type of amusement in a family setting is wrong and serves to further encourage guns as toys rather than as lethal weapons.
What children may not understand is that when used in an ordinary situation and without proper training, the result of firing a gun can be death. It's not the same as assuming the identity of James Bond and shooting at the evil scientist who threatens the end of the world. It's a way to cause the end of a life and bring tragic repercussions -- and there is no video game to simulate that.
I'm not denying that firearms can have valid uses. In many cases, they are used for hunting and as a means for defense, and they have proved invaluable in law enforcement when used properly.
But negative lessons are learned from guns placed in virtual and recreational environments without consequences. What do you do when the bad guy pops out at you from around the corner? You shoot him. What do you do when the defenseless animal crosses your line of vision? You shoot it. Simple answers to seemingly simple questions. But when taken out of this dimension of entertainment and placed in reality, the questions may not be so easy to answer.
Recently in South Florida, a seventh-grader shot his teacher on the last day of school because of a scolding he gave the student a few hours before the incident. In response to a slap on the wrist, a child believed a pistol was the proper solution.Almost taken out of a video game, the bad guy popped out at the 13 year old in the form of his teacher, and the child shot him.These kind of situations may perpetuate in American society if guns are promoted in environments free of consequence. As if children don't get enough of this in video games, television, and movies -- now they can get it at dinner, too.
Isn't there something wrong with this? As Josh Sugarmann, Violence Policy Center Executive Director said the day of the announcement, "What will their sign say? 'Over a million killed?'"
Opening a family-oriented restaurant that glorifies gun use could corrupt the moral boundaries of society. Instead of sitting at a table with Michael Jordan's jersey over it or Bruce Willis' glasses from his last film hanging from the wall, in as little as a few months you may be able to sit under the largest gun in the Northeast. From a secured safe or desk drawer to the wall of a restaurant in Times Square, firearms certainly have gained prominence in society. The NRA Cafe helps to replace role models like Jordan with the image of a powerful gun in children's thoughts and imaginations.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.