Boo-Hoo-Hoo! Barbadian Umbrella Trade Union and Women’s Group see toys and kitchen utensils as reasons for violent teens – not cartoons or parents

Not so long ago, Barbados Free Press expressed concern that Yvonne Walkes, President of NOW – the Nat’l Organisation of Women, felt KITCHEN KNIVES were a valid source of creating an ambiance of violence for this country’s young people.

They refuted her comments and cited other factors as creating a violent sub-culture… Internet/TV; Single Motherhood as in lack of a proper Father; they also cited Politicians flouting rules and sending the wrong message to teens.


Then, Denis DePeiza, former BUT member and author, has come forward and stated in an interview with Tracie Moore of the Daily Nation that toy guns are also a part of the problem –

CTUSAB held the view that “inasmuch as guns were featured in many criminal activities and domestic disputes, a ban on the sale of toy guns should be considered as a must“.

He added it was important Government did not allow the gun culture to grow in Barbados.

“[They] therefore must take decisive measures to root it out at the base level. No effort is to be spared towards limiting the exposure and familiarity of our young people to the use of guns,” he stated.

He said there were also concerns about the influence some television shows had on young impressionable minds.

In Tuesday’s DAILY NATION, video game retailers suggested Government enforced the ratings on video games so parents would be made more aware of the content of these games.

Now, while it is laudable for both Walkes and DePeiza to state their views as to what can make for further problems in 21st Century Barbados – they have nevertheless missed much sightseeing points as opposed to missing the bus, in other words? Right vehicle, wrong route!


Let’s look at some unfortunately typical aspects of the culture that is Barbados… When the Transport Board went on strike in the late 80’s and early 90’s, there was the genesis of the ZR “culture;” at first though, they were known as Z-vans… Suzuki vans with a Z plate, and they even persist in Haiti (They are calledTap-Tap’sas that is how they are stopped) and Brooklyn all like now! At first, Government was both pleased and annoyed – they were glad it alleviated the ravages of the industrial action yet officially they could not condone vigilantes… So a directive was made that Z-vans could stop anywhere but the Official Bus Stop’s of the Transport Board!

When the strike was over, this move nearly bankrupted the Transport Board, since folks used the vans to get up their rickety gaps in rainy weather like now. By then the damage was set – but Government now allowed Route Taxis (ZR as we now know them) to use Gov’t stops as well, but ZR’s still stop anywhere, a problem compounded by the variety of owners who possess these ZR’s and use their influence to disobey freely. Great message of law for young folk, eh?

Now, let’s say Ezra and Verlene in Gall Hill tell their son Shakondo not to disrespect teachers and stay out of trouble… For the most part he does, except one day he forgot to do a homework assignment and claimed he left it home but was found lying! He gets lashes in front of his class – which is when Ezra armed with a dog-hunter (whip) and Verlene totes a bull-pizzle (That’s a cured penis of a bull, makes for an evil blunt-trauma weapon) seeking same educator with foam at the corners of their mouths… Now, Shakondo has no bruises except to his pride – but if his parents say to behave and he is disciplined within reason and this is what happens? Is he not getting a message that it is okay to do whatever he feels?

If the teacher had broken skin or left “strips” in his skin that stung for days I could justify the parents’ rage but maybe not their method of retaliation – all that happened was public embarrassment! But not my “chile“, huh?

This is the same “chile” now who gets home at 3:15 pm before his parents. That’s because Ezra is at the Port trying to get overtime to pay for extra lesons for Shakondo to get 11-Plus tutoring and Verlene is staying at the restaurant hoping for more tips to help pay road tax on the one vehicle they got…

Shakondo knows especially after the scene the other day not to mess around with homework, but Mummy & Daddy en’t hey yet, so what does he do before they reach? Watch Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck… I used to do this as well, loved the cartoons to pieces but I always had parents telling me that this is only TV and not to try any of that crap especially on them! What happens when Ezra and Verlene are unaware of this and just see good ol’ Shakondo supposedly studying? Going thru the motions ’til he reaches 16/17 and literally blinds a boy with a rock since he smudged his Timberland haversack… “Man, I en’t know yuh! I just get vex so and…” then the tears of reality-setting-in drop down his too-late face…

Can we blame Daffy and Bugs? Well, let’s see – they only burst each others’ faces with mallets regularly not to mention the good ol’ supply of ACME-TNT to send each other to Cartoon Heaven regularly in time for the resurrection for the Next Episode – maybe cartoons need to have warnings like cigarettes, alcohol, most comic books and certain CD’s of particular types of music!


Am I exaggerating about expressing more concern for cartoons over toy guns? When I googled the topic, not surprisingly there were conflicting views and even views acknowledging the mixed opinions over if even the Flintstones or the Simpsons contribute to things like Columbine or the Korean student in Virginia

First, media violence is notoriously hard to define and measure. Some experts who track violence in television programming, such as George Gerbner of Temple University, define violence as the act (or threat) of injuring or killing someone, independent of the method used or the surrounding context. Accordingly, Gerber includes cartoon violence in his data-set. But others, such as University of Laval professors Guy Paquette and Jacques de Guise, specifically exclude cartoon violence from their research because of its comical and unrealistic presentation.

Second, researchers disagree over the type of relationship the data supports. Some argue that exposure to media violence causes aggression. Others say that the two are associated, but that there is no causal connection. (That both, for instance, may be caused by some third factor.) And others say the data supports the conclusion that there is no relationship between the two at all.

Third, even those who agree that there is a connection between media violence and aggression disagree about how the one effects the other. Some say that the mechanism is a psychological one, rooted in the ways we learn. For example, Huesmann argues that children develop “cognitive scripts” that guide their own behaviour by imitating the actions of media heroes. As they watch violent shows, children learn to internalize scripts that use violence as an appropriate method of problem-solving.

Other researchers argue that it is the physiological effects of media violence that cause aggressive behaviour. Exposure to violent imagery is linked to increased heart rate, faster respiration and higher blood pressure. Some think that this simulated “fight-or-flight” response predisposes people to act aggressively in the real world.

Still others focus on the ways in which media violence primes or cues pre-existing aggressive thoughts and feelings. They argue that an individual?s desire to strike out is justified by media images in which both the hero and the villain use violence to seek revenge, often without consequences.

Then I found another train of thought here –

In the study, parents of 184 boys and 146 girls aged 2 to 5 tracked what their children watched, and reported anti-social behaviour in their offsprings’ later years: behaviour which included cheating, being mean, disobedience, destructiveness, and demonstrating a lack of remorse for their actions.

The researchers discovered that, for every hour that children watched violent programming in their pre-school years, their aggression increased threefold when they were aged 7 to 10.

Why would I want that parents allow their kids to keep plastic swords and fake guns and the like? If parents can make sure their kids realise these are just to help in imaginary play and not for real harm or to imitate real hurt, then these are essential in”toughening” a child.

Can you imagine 25 years from now? No toy weapons, no real ones either and possibly even martial arts as a restricted form of prescribed exercise… Your child, who knows ZIP is attacked by an old man who has a fake Colt .45 but your kid dunno, OR, he is brave enough to overpower the man of his “firearm” but then has the crap kicked out of him as your son is totally ignorant of Martial Arts!

There are no easy answers, I know in the past there were some form of balancing acts but once we abandoned them – is when Eden’s Serpent started to gain some ground.

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