Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Meanie Mum

This morning, my youngest went off to school very upset and pissed off. Why? Because I told him I would not buy him an illegal airsoft gun for his birthday.

What makes this all an exceptional pain in the backside is that I come across as Meanie Mum even though I'm taking my responsibilities seriously. Unfortunately, I am alone in this as he has friends whose parents have bought guns that minors are not authorised to use, and let their sons play with them.

Uzi mini replica
The law is exceptionally clear. Décret N° 99-240 du 24 mars 1999 is the one dealing with airsoft regulations for minors and it forbids the sale of, use of, lending of, borrowing of replica guns with a fire power over 0.08joules to under 18s. It's true that authorised mini guns have a puny fire power, and yes, they look a bit pathetic but that's the sodding law.

My son tells me he and his friends are careful - they wear goggles, they are responsible. I say bollocks. Accidents happen. Everything is always all right and hunky dory until it isn't, and that's when the shit hits the fan.

I'll bet that a parent whose child loses an eye to an accidental shot from an illegal gun will not be saying "Oh dear, never mind". No, that parent will be ranting and raving and heading off to the police station to press charges. An accident involving an illegal gun will not be covered by any insurance company, so it's the parent of the child who fired the fatal shot who is ultimately responsible, and will be hauled before the judge.

That parent will be faced with a demand for costly compensation and will most likely spend time in prison (especially if he or she does not have a childhood sob story to tell). My son is prepared for me to take on that responsibility, but hey, guess what, I'm not! The possible consequences are life-destroying financially and socially. I don't fancy owing hundreds of thousands of euros, or spending time in prison, or losing my job and my kids. No ta.

My son's friends' parents don't seem to care about, or are unaware of their responsibilities though. They are cool parents who let their kids play with exciting, powerful guns. They are confident that their kids will be sensible and wear their goggles, they have faith in their child, they think that nothing can go wrong...

And nothing does go wrong, until it does, and someone - a playmate taking dust out of his eye, a passer-by, a dog - catches a rogue bullet in the eye and is blinded.

So not only is my son pissed off, but I am too. I'm pissed off because Meanie Mum has to explain in a hundred different ways why playing with illegal guns is a Bad Idea and knows that nothing will make this situation acceptable to my son.

If only they all played with mini replicas it would be okay, but you can't have nearly all the kids shooting powerful  Kalashnikovs and one kid with a pea-shooter. So that means that I have to tell my kid not to play with his mates AS WELL!

Meanie Mum is in the right but being a party pooper is a dreary place to be.

I finished by telling him he could do as he liked when he's 18. Some consolation that was...


  1. No, it's not worth the risk....but not easy for your son to accept when his friends' parents are so irresponsible.

    1. Indeed. He seems resigned to the disappointment now, thank goodness!

  2. A rotten situation for you to be put in, Sarah, but you have no choice but to hold out against your son's emotional blackmail. Like you I despair at the irresponsible attitudes of some parents as well as the dreadful example they're setting their offspring. How long does your youngest son have to wait until he's 18?

    1. He'll be 12 next month, so a looooong time.

    2. And he wants a gun at twelve?! I don't envy you the next few years. :-)

  3. Thank you Sarah. Thank you, thank you, thank you :-D I have just translated half of your post to my amused 13-year-old, and am waiting for Bigfoot to get back from lycée to tell hime that there is another uncool, mean mum who doesn't live too far away. Shall we start a club?
    It's easier to say "yes" and cross your fingers for many parents. My kids have "Nerf" toy airguns in every size and shape, but they won't be getting anything else despite Bigfoot's overriding pressure on us to let him buy... a fake Dan Weston. Brr. In this day and age, if you pull it out in the wrong place you can get shot by a real one, either from a local or a nervous French policeman plod.
    Oh, don't worry about going to jail: you're in France, sweety. The jails are full... Oh, no, wait a minute, that won't work... you don't have enough "circonstances atténuantes"yet. Lose your job, go on the dole and bust a couple of banks, THEN you can buy him his firearm without going to jail. You'll even get into the local paper as the Ma Baker mum who bust banks to feed her kids :-D

    1. Meanie Mums R Us? :)

      Glad I'm not the only one out there who doesn't cede to pester power!

      I don't have a sob story to tell, so I'd do time unless I could play the 'Mère de famille' card. :)

  4. Lucky for you that you're not currently living America. The NRA (National Rifle Association) would be beating your door down, calling you a traitor and un-American.

    All joking aside, I totally agree with you. Your son just doesn't understand the serious of it all.

    1. No he doesn't, so I have to on his behalf. It's what being a parent means, I suppose.


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