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'Making War for Fun'

September 18, 1986

I commend the letter writers who so aptly expressed their concerns about the popularity of war games these days, let alone the rash of war films filled with violence.

Recently my wife and I had the pleasure of caring for our 6-year-old grandson for a week. To put our best foot forward, we took him to the toy section of a local variety store. The game section was quickly passed. The bicycle section was quickly passed. The reading books and coloring books were quickly passed.

The young man made a beeline to the counters with war toys. War toys of every variety: robots, Gobots, Stealth bombers, GI Joes, machine-gun nests, Cobras, spaceships, laser guns, combat helmets and camouflage uniforms, ammunition dumps, radar screens, battle plans. Rambo's delight!

When I expressed my concern about these toys, 6-year-old Sean turned to me and explained, "Grandpa! They're not real. They're toys!"

Checkmate! I was cornered. What could I say? Toys do not kill. Adult with real toys kill!

The letters to the editor gave me the ammunition for my rebuttal. Yes, Sean, toys do not kill, but the numbing process does. Soldiers in training simulate war-like situations before playing out the real battle. There's a thin line between a toy gun and a real gun. It's just a matter of pulling a trigger and aiming at a target.

After viewing my grandson's television viewing, which is quite extensive, I noted the commercials filled with pitches for the very toys he sought. Many television programs featured the military heroes he sought.

Germany adulated war heroes prior to the rise of Adolf Hitler. The stage was set. Our heroes to date have been men of letters, scientists, artists, musicians, philanthropists, pioneers, clergymen, women of note, television personalities noted for their wit and humor, sports figures, men and women of great courage standing for principles against great odds. Has the age of the computer changed all this?

My grandson noted that I didn't like war. "But, Grandpa," he remonstrated. "You have to go sometime."

Yes, Sean. But I would prefer nature to take its course rather than hasten the process.

SAMUEL M. ROSEN

Newbury Park

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