Why Kids Like to Play Shoot with Toy Guns: The Mandalorian is all about cool gun fights

Another reason The Mandalorian is such a great show is because it’s the first that I can think of where gun fights are embraced in a very long time. Watching these episodes, I can’t help but think of all the radio broadcasts I had done at WAAM talking about this very subject with a guy who loved Disney so much that he left radio to work for the company. We were perplexed that Disney had a policy at the parks that did not allow for guns on costumes due to the very progressive stand the company had toward the Second Amendment. All in the name of security. Well, and I’m very happy to see it, but all that is out the window now. The Mandalorian isn’t just a show about the nobility of violence, but its also about gunfights in ways that only classic television westerns were, and this is a good sign of many great things to come.

When I was growing up I play fought all the time. At recess me and the other kids of my class would pretend anything was a gun and we’d shoot at each other religiously. Of course none of us grew up to be mass killers, play fighting is a natural state for young people, especially boys. So the primal necessity of having gunfights in The Mandalorian is an admission of sorts from the Disney Company that they understand that what will follow, as they have Star Wars events at their theme parks and the general nature of the cosplay culture that fans will be dressing up as their favorite Mandalorian and their guns, and there won’t be much that Disney can do about having their name on it. They bought Star Wars and guns are a huge part of the property, so if they want to get the value out of their purchase, they have to embrace that culture and know that little kids have a need to play fight with each other for needs that they will need to understand once they become adults.

What’s even better in The Mandalorian is that the fights are not confused with the nobility of Jedi fighting with lightsabers. Its all about guns. Watching through the first three episodes and noticing the online reaction to them that primal need is alive and well with people. Even though public education has sought to drive the desire for such recreation out of the mind of their students, the play fighting that was always so important to me growing up using combs, rulers and our own hands to pretend to shoot guns, has moved online to the video game world. The people making The Mandalorian obviously have been playing Star Wars: Battlefront II and other shooting games that are much more popular than many people in politics are willing to admit. This whole notion of gun control politically is going against the tide of human desire. Disney has had to come to terms with that, and the rest of the world will soon follow. The Mandalorian is just the product coming about to support a market need. The need was always there, but it was politics that slowed down the fulfillment as social experiments to the contrary were fully in place.

The Mandalorian is so good in fact that I can’t imagine that millions of young people, boys and girls, are going to rush out to buy some version of their favorite gun from the series. And I understand. I have hanging from the mantel of my fireplace in my home, right next to my reading chair, my DL-44 in its official Han Solo holster complete with all the little greebles that only hard-core Star Wars fans would understand. It’s a toy, but I like looking at it so I keep it out so I can see it every day. When I was a kid, the toy Han Solo gun was one of my favorite things to have and over the years that was my first introduction to guns which is still a very healthy hobby of mine. What they have today is much cooler, so young people have so many more options than I did. I can’t imagine how exciting it is for them that they can not only have such weapons, but that they can turn around and play Battlefront II all weekend when they aren’t in school with all their friends in a squad. In so many ways, play fighting has never been easier, or more popular than it is today, which is saying a lot.

Entertainment companies like Disney have had to come to terms with their responsibility in the whole political order. In entertainment, all companies have an obligation to the market needs of the consumers, for which young people want guns to play with for all kinds of very legitimate psychological reasons. The politics against guns is due to an infantile desire for the political class to have power over others and by promoting the disarming of society due to safety concerns, they are in the end seeking to make their jobs easier. The effort has nothing to do with making a better and more peaceful society, its just seeking to suppress human need for freedom so that earlier in their lives, children will learn to behave to a higher authority.

Obedience doesn’t sell very well in a free and open marketplace. There is a reason pop culture music is rebellious by nature and there is a reason kids like to play at violence and fighting. The fantasy in both cases is to break away from the social norms of existence so that something new might be carved out of the effort. In most cases, the children will grow up and become nice little conformists. However, when they are young and full of dreams, they play shoot hoping to be that cowboy, that Mandalorian, or that desperate smuggler from Star Wars looking to break free of the system and to create some heroic adventure in the process for themselves. They aren’t looking to be conformists to the social norm. Play fighting is to become good at overcoming oppression so that they might have the courage to do the same when it really matters later in their life.

Of course, a Disney theme park with all kinds of safety concerns, political parasites trying to extract money from them all the time, and insurance adjusters making everything a potential lawsuit, the easiest thing they can do is eliminate the temptation for something dangerous to happen. So they come up with their no gun policies in regard to cosplay and if there are guns they have to have those stupid orange colors on the barrels or the entire guns so that police don’t confuse them for the real thing. It’s easier on the political class, but terror on the kids who want to play with the guns and learn the basics about shooting through their leisure.

During those referred to radio broadcasts, I thought it was a pointless endeavor for Disney, and that has turned out to be right. If anything the need was only suppressed and now that the cat is out of the bag, I anticipate a steep increase in young people admitting to the world that they want to play shoot guns and they want their guns to look cool and realistic. Even though they are only toys, it is good to be thinking about these things as early as possible because there is honesty and hope in that kind of play that the political class has sought to destroy, and if their feelings get hurt in the process, so be it. They should have never attempted to tamper with the necessities of human development to begin with. They instead should have done their jobs and not sought to make it easier on themselves by altering the way kids play, and why they play it.

Rich Hoffman