picture of the day

Packing heat

83 Comments

A boy packs something extra in his bag at a school sports day in Tokyo's Denenchofu area.

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A boy packs something extra in his bag at a school sports day in Tokyo’s Denenchofu area.

What is this supposed to be? Some sort of joke??? Why is the kid packing a BB pistol into his bag for a sports day? And, why is there such a ridiculously pointless statement to go with it?

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why is there such a ridiculously pointless statement to go with it?

Manga lovers may have something interesting to say....!

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It's probably just a water pistol.

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Razor:

I think this hits a little harder than a water pistol. That is a Desert Eagle, 8mm Air Soft.

Maybe they are going to play, "put the other teams eye out game".

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Manga lovers may have something interesting to say....!

Why? This is just stupid. Maybe about the parents, but why manga?

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I think something horrible is going to happen to those two chipmunks...

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It's definitely a candid shot (also watch for the cropping - who's elbow is that on the right?), But I can't fathom the point of this. Perhaps there were no shots of idols or bikini beauties doled out by the press release corp this morning.

Oh, and to quote a famous film, "You'll shoot your eye out!!!"

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It's Sports Day, so it's the starter gun for the races and events. Relax, no need to get excited.

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It's just toy gun. Kids play toy guns. I used to play it long time ago. No problems better wearing goggles.

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Gotta get those crips off my turf G!

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I also vote for it being the starter gun- so is JT going to clarify what this picture is about?

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I hate those things, lots of boys round here have suddenly become ultra keen on them. Very dangerous in my opinion, but I don't know enough about them to know if they're capable of doing more than blind someone - sometimes with air weapons in the UK you hear reports of animals or people being killed in a 'freak' accident by being shot in one of the few parts of the body vulnerable to such low-force missiles. I used to know a man who'd lost an eye to one of those airguns too. But what about these BB guns? Are they as bad? I saw some git teaching his 5 or 6 year old to use them at the weekend! Isn't there any age limit here?

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come on folks, the pic is kind of a joke, eveyone knows there a few REAL pistols in Jpn & this kid looks to be packing what dirty harry used to hold, thats it!

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Speed - It's Sports Day, so it's the starter gun for the races and events. Relax, no need to get excited.

No way is that a starter gun. It is a BB pistol! This is something that has always confused me about Japan. Guns are strictly controlled, yet any kid can go into a toy store and buy a high powered BB pistol or rifle that can fire a round with enough force to go through a door. There are no age limits for buying them or restrictions on the firepower. Coming from Australia, where all guns are banned except for farmers (vermin control) and licensed gun club members even rubber-band guns are banned.

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Wouldn't a better caption been "Boy packs heat"?

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is there any info on this image?

I know plastic BB guns are popular in Japan and by look alone (hey, all I got is a pic) one wouldn't assume this kid has the knowledge/means of being able to purchase a real one.....

very sad day if this pictures has any truth to it vs a news company simply trying to get more attention.

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Actully to large for a normal Starter Gun, so yes it could be a pellet gun, water pistol, or something along that line. Definately the gun to the grip, it is to large for his hand to hold it & properly reach for the trigger & aim properly.

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its just a toy gun that shoots plastic BBs. its not something to get freaked out about, but also not something to bring to school nonetheless. The teachers I work with take them away from time to time when one of my high school students are dumb enough to bring them here to school. I love guns, and own a couple of the these guns just to twril on my finger while I watch TV or something. That being said as much as I love guns, I would never own a real one. I am just fine watching them on tv, usinging them in video games, and trwiling a replica on my finger. and yes I agree with people that this caption is pretty vauge for a news site. The thing is, this is just a toy in Japan. at my school you would get in just as much trouble if you brought your DS or PSP.

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All you paranoid people, didn't u get enough rest during your weekend? What if there is a supervised event involving these? Haven't you heard of shooting competition? it's even Olympic sports! Nobody will shoot anybody's eye out!

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WTF? Hello common sense? This is not even funny JT. What were you thinking?

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Dang and here I was thinking the mods and staff at JT didn't have the stomach for politically incorrect humour. Anyways, this is funny in a stupid senseless kind of way.

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In other countries this would lead to jailtime.

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inakaRob - I love guns, and own a couple of the these guns just to twril on my finger while I watch TV or something.

Let me guess. You're American and you don't have kids, right?

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Disillusioned... "Guns are strictly controlled, yet any kid can go into a toy store and buy a high powered BB pistol or rifle that can fire a round with enough force to go through a door. There are no age limits for buying them or restrictions on the firepower."

I am sorry but you are mistaken on whom can purchase airsoft weapons and the power rating. Children can not purchase gas or an AEG (Air Electric Gun). No airsoft weapon may be sold that has a power rating above 0.98 joule. If in fact an individual posses an airsoft weapon with a power rating above 0.98 joule that individual is in violation of the firearms and gun control law and is subject to arrest and fines.

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three options one : it is for target shooting two : it is for shooting the opposition three : it is to make the home team run faster

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In other countries this would lead to jailtime.

But it's just a toy gun for a kid. In other countries kids have real guns buddy.

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Cha-click BLAAOOW!

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HonestDictator - The humour of JT is something that can never be predicted!

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people this is candid street photography!!!!

And with all the varying viewpoints on the issue of BB guns etc I wud say the photographer has made a very successful candid shot, look at the debate here.

Look below the pic it has the name of the person who shot it, I understand anyone can submit pics to jt for pic of the day, it doesnt have to be a commercial shot or from a news service it c an be from any one

Moderator: That is correct. We welcome photo contributions from readers.

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I'm sorry, but in light of the rash of school shootings in various places around the world, this photo with the accompanying caption are in very poor taste.

Mod: As amusing as this may be for you, JT also has the editorial responsibility to not be purposefully tasteless.

Shall I submit a photo of a man selecting some knives at a local hunting shop with the suggested caption, "Heading to Akihabara for the weekend"?

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I'm not usually a fan of Japan Today's style of journalism or choice of photo images (the moderator will confirm that to be the case !) However, in this instance I must say that it is a very topical and relevant picture. I don't believe that Japan Today is 'being purposefully tasteless' or being in 'extraordinarily bad taste' and I believe that JT is raising the issue. And where do you draw the line between kids just being kids and connections with current crime ?

Shall I submit a photo of a man selecting some knives at a local hunting shop with the suggested caption, "Heading to Akihabara for the weekend"?

Maybe you should, because the public can still purchase combat knives without much of a problem and your caption (much as Japan Today are doing here today) would at least raise the issue.

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There are two problems here:

One, the lack of info in the caption. two, readers over reacting.

If it is a sports event at school, then no worries. No one knows - so readers chill.

JT: Even for Japanese this can seem to imply something different. With school shootings overseas and bullying being a big problem - one can think that japanese children have reached a point that they feel the need to take guns to school to prevent bullying.

JT: I think the biggest mistake you made was forget who your audience is...gaijin.

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I think there is an over-reaction to a quite harmless picture of the day. You see, in most countries such as Japan and in Europe, guns are illegal. And although there is gun crime in countries such as Japan and in Europe, we do not have the massacres on the same scale that have taken place in the US where it is a right for American citizens to possess a gun. So the over-reaction only seems to come from those people who have been brought up in a country where gun ownership is a right. In countries such as Japan and in Europe, boys grow up playing with toy guns. The over-reaction seems to be coming from those who have been exposed to a right to gun ownership and should therefore be a reflection on their country.

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Kawaii ne!?

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Love the photo! Thanks for posting it.

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Thought there was easier methods of making school more exciting.

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This picture is in extra-ordinarily poor taste.

Why anyone would consider the image of a child apparently stashing a firearm in his schoolbag a source for smug, snickering captions, I cannot begin to fathom.

Has JTs editorial group never heard of Columbine, Virginia Tech, Beslan? Quite incredible.

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The boy doesn't look at all like he is going to or from a sports day. And that bag does not look like something a kid would carry to a sports day. My guess is that the bit about the sports day was added to the caption because of the posters on the wall in the background, but that does not necessarily mean that this boy or this photo has anything to do with the sports day in the posters.

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JT where are your ethics? Ok, it is an airsoft, or a toy or some sports as there are cartoon pictures on the wall. But the whole matter is about a school kid with a gun. What is the message you are trying to disseminate?

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ivan

so yr cool if the pic was never taken,I suppose the gun & everything then magically wud disappear as well.

I understand why you dont like the pic & thats fine but to censor this wud be a greater wrong imo, dont like than say yr piece & dont look at it more but pls no need to censor this from the rest of us

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Actually, I can't see anything wrong with the photo. The photographer probably saw the kid packing the gun into his bag and snapped it at random. Or the boy might even be the photographer's friend or kid. As for whether it is a water pistol, BB pistol or starter's gun, who cares?

Oh and ivancoughalot, if you find this photo offensive, then the problem lies with you, I'm afraid. It does not evoke images of Columbine or Virginia Tech. It's really strange how readers such as yourself bring their emotional hang-ups to a discussion on something so trivial.

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Oh and ivancoughalot, if you find this photo offensive, then the problem lies with you, I'm afraid.

Maybe so. I wish the same yardstick was used when deleting other posts as being offensive. The Mod should pick a line and stick with it.

From the Editor: Readers, there is no point in going around in circles on this point. The decision to publish this photo is an editorial one. It is posted so that readers can have a mature exchange of views on the subject, rather than hurling charges at us that it is offensive. We get several emails each day from readers demanding that photos, stories and other readers' comments be removed because they are offensive for one reason or another. We cannot base our editorial decisions on readers' emotional reactions because otherwise there would be nothing left to publish.

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bb gun or not. This kid would be shot on sight at home.. nutter.

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Pity the poor sucka who tries to steal this kid's lunch money.

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What northlondon said.

Given the context that this is Japan where people do not walk around packin' heat, it's blindingly obvious that this is a toy gun.

This kid would be shot on sight at home.. nutter.

That's more a comment on wherever 'home' is, not a comment on the boy. He isn't the nutter.

Not that I approve of kids playing with guns. My kids were never given access to so much as water pistols. It's a sad reflection on whatever societies the posters come from, that they react with such venom to a photo of a kid with a toy.

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bb gun or not. This kid would be shot on sight at home.. nutter.

And what a sad reflection on the society you have in your home country in that case. Fortunately, in Japan schoolboys are not shot on sight just because they are playing with a toy gun. In Japan schoolboys just don't have access to real guns.

Has JTs editorial group never heard of Columbine, Virginia Tech, Beslan? Quite incredible.

But those incidents are not relevant to a Japanese schoolboy. Gun ownership is not legal in Japan and Beslan was a terrorist hostage-taking incident. In Japan (this is a Japanese news site by the way) this picture is considered quite normal.

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There are plenty of things considered normal in japan which aren't normal in the slightest. This picture is one.

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There are plenty of things considered normal in japan which aren't normal in the slightest. This picture is one.

Schoolboys play with toy guns in Japan. The Japanese public are not allowed to own guns. The Japanese police don't shoot schoolboys with toy guns. It's a normal picture. Thank goodness.

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Schoolboys play with toy guns in Japan. The Japanese public are not allowed to own guns. The Japanese police don't shoot schoolboys with toy guns. It's a normal picture. Thank goodness.

I quite agree. It's refreshing to see that a kid can carry a toy gun and nobody thinks it's anything but a toy gun. Of course it's a toy! What else would you think it is here?

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I betcha if he was going through airport security with this toy gun he would be nailed. Real or not. No joke.

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Northlondon,

I'm all for raising and discussing issues of gun violence, knife violence, or weapons in school – as are you. As are the vast majority of (predominantly) foreign posters here. After all, as fusedentropy points out, consider the JT audience. There are few if any topics that posters here will shy away from, and to suggest that a discussion on guns is something folks need prodding to get involved in is silly, to say the least, considering any given gun control thread here cracks 100 posts within a single day. And we already know this site isn’t viewed by the average Japanese, so we’re brought right back again to us.

No, there’s nothing wrong with the photo in and of itself. The problem starts when someone knowingly juxtaposes the image of a young boy placing a semi-automatic weapon in his bag with the seemingly innocuous statement, “A boy packs something extra in his bag at a school sports day . . .”

“Packs.” Har har har. Oh, a little “something extra.” Har har har. And it’s a GUN! Hardy har har.

You want to spur a discussion on weapons in schools, then publish the above photo with a caption like, “A boy prepares a toy gun for a play at his school sports festival.”

You want to try to get a few laughs with some sophomoric tongue-in-cheek, making light of the very real tragedy of gun violence in schools, then post the above photo with the above caption.

But don’t sit there and try to convince me that this is an attempt at serious social commentary, worthy of provoking similarly thoughtful debate on an important issue when the caption was obviously chosen for the “nyuck-nyuck” value only. Lower the level of discourse, indeed.

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LFRAgain

I work for a newspaper and I can tell you that no good newspaper or magazine editor anywhere would use the caption you suggest. They'd be told by the boss to "come up with something interesting."

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with the caption.

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LFR, the title of the caption ('Packing Heat') is indeed irresponsible. But there again, this is only Japan Today. Hardly a benchmark for web journalism. However, the over-reaction throughout this discussion seems a little too much. I will also argue that it is a topical discussion that Japan Today has put out there, so you cannot fault JT for raising a very topical issue. I believe that the real argument here is that in Japan schoolboys playing with toy guns is quite normal and in the US people get very paranoid about this situation because of gun ownership and the massacres that have occured because of that. What this basically say's is that Japan does not have a gun problem and schoolboys can play with toy guns.

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Smartacus,

Horse puckey. "Something interesting" is not equivalent to making light of children running around with guns at school events. And I suspect the editor for whatever "good" publication you work for will tell you the same. If not, you might want to reconsider the quality of the publication you work for and set your bar a little higher.

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Times sure have changed. In my school, we were limited to knives and brass knuckles. Permissive parents, I guess.

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We foreigners are sensitive to this issue, and some of us come from war-torn countries and definitely a child carrying even a replica of a real gun will not be allowed to be published. I am curious to know what would be the reaction if such a photo appeared in Japan's neighboring countries like, China, Philipines, SK?

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Northlondon,

Oh, I agree with you 100%. And yes, you're right, no one here should expect JT to have the editorial standards of, say, the New York Times. In fact, on a bad day, it's more in line with The Weekly World News with some of the fluff that pops up here. But again, I suppose I’ve just come to expect that editors would exercise a bit of discretion when publishing submitted content, particularly when they know their audience.

And this caption particularly chaps my hide when JT Mods wield their vast censoring and editorial powers (justifiably so, in most cases) to keep threads relevant and relatively civil, with the standard admonition regarding “lowering the level of discourse,” then provide the above tacky caption.

Does the caption spell the end of civilization as we know it? No. But is it unnecessarily tacky and in poor taste? I’m absolutely not the only one who thinks so (something you wouldn’t be able to tell from the number of complaints about the caption that have conveniently been removed from this thread), something JT should consider when they play the very weak “we don’t make the news, we just report it” card in response to justified criticism.

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pawatan - It's refreshing to see that a kid can carry a toy gun and nobody thinks it's anything but a toy gun.

And, hopefully the kid feels the same way. The only thing wrong your opinion is, this is not a toy gun at all. Toy guns have lights and make funky noises. This is a firearm capable of inflicting serious damage and injury to anything or anybody and should not be in the hands of a ten year old kid.

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Toy guns have lights and make funky noises.

And prostitutes wear yellow sashes and dastardly evil men have moustaches that they twirl menacingly, and good brave men are clean-shaven and wear white hats. Y'can always tell.

Of course this is a toy gun. There is no way a child would be able to get their hands on a real gun. And if there were the slightest suggestion of it being a real gun, instead of arguing the rights and wrongs of posting this pic with this caption the mods and editors of JT would be sitting in a windowless room answering searching questions put to them by serious members of the local constabulary.

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As I said, I like the conversation this pic has created.

Gun ownership is not illegal in Japan. There's a firearm store just down the road from my office. They must have some customers, right?

Here is my understanding of the law in this country:

Handguns:

1) 50 citizens are allowed to own handguns at any one time in Japan. 2) These 50 citizens are required to store their gun at a police station. 3) Naturally, there's a long waiting list, and a lot of procedures are involved.

Rifles and Shotguns:

1) There is no limit to the number of people that may own these at any one time. 2) These must be of the single shot variety. 3) There are a lot of procedures involved, but it's not that difficult to own one.

With these laws, it's extremely difficult for anyone, let alone a Japanese schoolboy to go on a US-style shooting rampage.

In this country, no-one takes any notice of a kid walking around with a gun, because it's extremely unlikely that it would be real.

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This is a firearm capable of inflicting serious damage and injury to anything or anybody and should not be in the hands of a ten year old kid

Get a grip of yourself! By definition, this is not a firearm. And in my experience, and by law in Japan, model guns sold at Japanese department stores are not capable of inflicting serious damage on anything!

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And, hopefully the kid feels the same way. The only thing wrong your opinion is, this is not a toy gun at all. Toy guns have lights and make funky noises. This is a firearm capable of inflicting serious damage and injury to anything or anybody and should not be in the hands of a ten year old kid.

An airsoft gun is not a firearm, by definition or function. I assure you if you hold both a real pistol and an airsoft pistol you will not ever confuse the two.

It is not any more capable of 'inflicting serious damage' than a rock, or a ball, or a bat, or any other item a child might use to play.

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This is a good photo because it provokes an immediate response. Not a good situation, but a good photo.

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Note to self: do not piss off kids in Ota ward.

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Look at the image from a Japan point of view. Gun ownership is severely restricted, and gun crime is still pretty darn rare.

Airsoft guns are not firearms, so seeing a kid with an airsoft gun doesn't automatically mean he's armed and dangerous.

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Pulling that out of your bag in Brooklyn could get you killed.

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That's not something extra, that's standard equipment.

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This is a boy with a toy gun (of whatever kind) & as most “boys” here will attest we have all at some time in our childhood owned toy guns & some even real guns. What makes this particularly troubling is the caption that is so ambiguous, so designed to solicit comment. When I first saw this picture I read the comments in the hope that they might give me some clue as to what the picture was all about. What I found was a lot of very lost people looking for something to say about nothing.

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Show this page to your friends, ask them if they see anything wrong with it and they'll say this is disgusting. JT you should be ashamed of yourself, and the editor of the site doesn't see anything wrong with it.

Comments I got were, "WTF", "that's crazy", "thats wrong", "are you serious", "that is just wrong"...

I didn't tell them anything about the page, just to visit it.

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Just had that happen in the high school here on Friday. Kid brought a handgun to school and the police were called in expecting another Columbine. Turns out the "handgun" was a BB gun and was broken to the point it couldn't even shoot BBs. So why did the kid bring it to school? God only knows. :-/

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A little research on the web shows that the toy gun is most likely a "Tokyo Marui Smith and Wesson PC356 Fullauto Electric Blowback" as that toy has a distinctive pattern on the side just like the one the boy has.

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Show this page to your friends, ask them if they see anything wrong with it and they'll say this is disgusting. JT you should be ashamed of yourself, and the editor of the site doesn't see anything wrong with it.

You don't actually live in Japan, do you?

What is the "shame" in showing a kid with a gun with a jokey title of 'packing heat' when he's obviously NOT packing heat?

I think this was a great choice of a photo of the day for JT - it's been fun watching some people trip all over their righteous indignation.

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This picture is better than the every day porn.

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I assume it's an air gun or a toy gun. Nice of JT to stir up a conversation by including absolutely no context. Is it a toy? does he compete in marksmanship events for track and field? Who the hell knows but almost everyone took the bait to make this a debate on gun laws. Well done.

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Boys are generally interested in weapons, especially those weapons at the advancing edge of evolution. They are naturally fascinated, regardless of the presence or absence of restraining laws. Of course there are exceptions to the above generalizations, and naturally there are girls who experience just those same attractions. A good study in human nature...

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I know that it's an airsoft gun but it looks exactly like a real one and in America the cops shoot to kill for just the motion of reaching for a gun so it was kind shocking to see for the first few second until you thought it out.

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Toy or not, I think the gun in the picture is too life-like to be appropriate for school grounds, especially during undokai when the chance of an unsuspecting person freaking out and causing a savage mass panic is higher.

Taka

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Posting this picture with the jokey caption is the epitome of the double standard employed by JT. Making jokes about a Japanese kid with a (probably) unhealthy fascination with replica handguns is fine. Someone pointing this out to JT or slagging off on a stupid comment from another poster is not.

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pawatan: 15 years in Japan, sure it's a toy but it certainly doesn't look like one and promoting bring a gun (of any kind) to school is not cool.

The fact JT joked the kid brought a gun to school is even worse with all the problems kids have a school, bring any sort of weapon to school is not cool.

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When I was a kid my brother and I had our own BB guns and then later had our own rifles for hunting. We used to play with toy guns all the time, but our father would have beat us to a bloody pulp if we acted stupid with the play guns or any other weapons. Kids here have no idea how dangerous any lethal weapons are and that is why they act foolishly like this.

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When I was a kid my brother and I had our own BB guns and then later had our own rifles for hunting. We used to play with toy guns all the time, but our father would have beat us to a bloody pulp if we acted stupid with the play guns or any other weapons. Kids here have no idea how dangerous any lethal weapons are and that is why they act foolishly like this.

I agree Aloha. When my brother and I were 12 and 13, dad gave us both Double Barrelled Shotties. We used to shoot at anything that moved! Rabbits, cats, dogs, foxes, pigeons...were all blown away. It was not until I almost blew my brothers head off in a game of hide-and-seek that dad instilled in us the need to respect the gun.

At the end of the day, guns don't kill people. People kill people. If this young kid respects his weapon, then there will be no problems.

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Oh, Japan. I teach english at a high school in Gifu, and there was a box-cutter just laying on a kids desk when I showed up to class. It wasn't like that kid was going to do anything, I just noted to the JTE that if the kid brought the cutter to a class in America the kid would have been expelled, not ifs, ands, or buts. I love it, but then again if a kid had one of those I would complain to my kyoto-sensei and ask him to let me bring one too.

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There is nothing worse than a bunch of people in fear of the wrong things. I don't recall very many gun related incidents in Japan, so an article like this (much like swineflu) would only serve to disproportionately waste time and resources. And bring out more inane regulations.

In Canada, there are rules that a bicyclist can't lift their butts off of their seats when riding.

Maybe we should make it a rule that everyone has to wear masks.

Lets just focus on the big picture, because the only people benefitting from this, are the advertisers on this forum.

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