A sign of the times

Maybe it’s a sign of the times, or a sad commentary on the state of America today.

All we can do is shake our heads, and say “why can’t we let kids be kids.”

Although specifics are not available, we believe the incident started innocently enough.

After a long, hard winter, some area youngsters apparently decided they had had enough X-Box and agreed to take their games outside. It was last Saturday evening. Finally, they were able enjoy some fresh air in above-freezing temperatures.

They got dressed in their camouflage clothing and went outside to play “cops and robbers,” or “good guys against bad guys.” The name of the game doesn’t matter. It’s been played the same way for generations.

The youngsters took their action to the Norway-Vulcan Area Schools property.

That’s when the trouble started.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. Saturday on the school playground, officers from the Norway Police Department and deputies from the Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department responded to a report of a male subject dressed in camouflage clothing and in possession of what appeared to be a handgun.

When they arrived on scene, they instead discovered four boys in possession of Airsoft BB guns. Two of the boys are from Norway and two are from Kenosha, Wis.

Their ages ranged from 11 to 15.

Dickinson County Prosecutor Lisa Richards said that officers seized the guns and released the juveniles to the custody of their parents.

She hasn’t decided if she will file charges. We’re hoping she tosses the report in the circular file.

After the Columbine High School massacre, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, the Virginia Tech massacre on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and all the others, Americans are cautious, watchful, fearful – even paranoid.

They spot someone with what appears to be a gun, and they imagine flashes of tragedy, the president with a tear in his eye. They run for the nearest phone and dial 9-1-1.

In today’s world, bad news travels fast, and tragic news travels faster.

Talk show hosts and social media outlets with political agendas take joy in feeding the public frenzy.

It’s too bad all that weight had to come down on these kids from Norway.

For the record, Airsoft BB guns are not weapons. They’re toys. Their pellets could not break the skin. Think of it as a game of paintball.

Also for the record, some of these Airsoft guns look an awful lot like the real thing. And Airsoft guns are against the rules on school grounds – even on a Saturday night.