It was a hot afternoon and I was shopping, moving from store to store hoping to cool off with some AC. I was in a particular store, standing in line, looking at all the impulse buys, when suddenly I noticed a picture frame that startled me: “Sun’s out, guns out” with a picture of a little boy. “Did I read that correctly?,” I thought to myself. I nudged my mama who couldn’t believe the words either. I grabbed it and said, “I need to say something. I have a problem with them selling this.” When we got to the register the manager happened to be nearby. We asked if we could talk to him and after a nodded “yes” I proceeded to show him the frame. I said, “I found this…and I’m wondering…” and the manager read it and said, “Oh! Oh ok, yeah…” I told him I was confused and didn’t think it was appropriate, especially considering all the horrible recent events going on around the world. He agreed. He took it from me and was going to return it back, not to have it be sold. He explained to me that the idea was most likely referring to someone’s “guns” as muscles. I didn’t care. A child smiling, with that phrase…no no no.
I am glad I said something. I debated whether it was worth bringing to the attention of the manager or whether I was simply overreacting. The longer I stood in line the more I looked blankly at the frame, shaking my head, reading the words and glancing at the smiling child. I was beginning to feel a sense of disgust and I was getting angry. What has the world come to that a child is posing with the word “gun” displayed? What is happening that my mind automatically interpreted the phrase differently than intended? There was no indication that the child was referring to his muscles. Just a few days prior to this was a huge shooting in part of the world. Moments ago the news told the world of what happened due to violence. And here I stood looking at a picture frame with the weapon displayed into words, right below an innocent being.
Let us protect. Let us love. Let us not be violent towards one another. Let us radiate kindness, compassion, devotion to one another. Let us not promote any word that has a strong meaning of hate. Thank you, Manager Sr., for listening to me speak my concerns and for taking the picture frame away from the eyes and souls of your customers. Don’t be afraid to speak up!