Local Boys & Girls Club Organizing Toy Gun Buyback on Dec. 13

Following a rallying call from local activist and motivational speaker Yvonne Pointer, volunteers are stepping up and organizing a toy gun buyback event at the Broadway Avenue Boys & Girls Club on Dec. 13.

A story by the Plain Dealer's Rachel Dissell helped kick off the current event planning.

Here's how it works: Children may come in on Dec. 13 and turn in their toy or replica guns for educational comic books and prizes.

More information from Dissell:
Pointer and Forshe say the buyback event is simple a way to start a conversation with youth about the dangers of guns – both real and fake – and put the emphasis on education.

The comic books being passed out were created by Rid-All to teach children about the environment and sustainability.

"We need mothers to show solidarity and bring their children to turn in their toy guns," Pointer said.
The event comes, of course, after the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by Officer Timothy Loehmann. Rice was holding an air-soft "toy" gun, pictured here, which was mistaken by Loehmann for a real gun. Rice was also mistaken as being "maybe 20" by the officer. 

The now-national controversy contrasts a May 21 police report, in which Officer Aaron Reese apprehended a suspected gunman at East 86th and Superior. That suspect, a child, turned out to be waving a toy gun around the intersection. He was taken home and ordered to write a letter of apology. 

The boy's letter reflects back much of the community's concern over Rice's death — and the inherent problems with toy guns and violent subcultures among predominantly poor youth.
“I was stupid to have a BB gun that looks real enough to may have been shot and killed by anyone who saw or carried a real gun,” the letter stated. “I was also stupid to walk down the main street with it. I should have just kept it with my brother’s friend and shouldn’t have touched it at all. Even though I was walking, I was thinking in my head what if I get caught also what if I get killed. I am sincerely sorry for having the gun.”
Pretty much the exact thing Pointer has been fighting against for years. 
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About The Author

Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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