When searching around for pistol for my Halloween costume, I came across a bunch of site's where you can buy exact replicas of pretty much any gun known. I was amazed at the variety...muskets, Lugers, M16s and even cannons (www.replicaweaponry.com). You can buy blank firing guns too. I was very tempted.
Looking at this stuff brought me back to when I was around 10 or 11 years old. I lived in a semi-rural area where most of the kids owned BB guns and various off-road vehicles (go-carts, ATVs and motorcycles). We used to do all kinds of dangerous stuff in the neighborhood like making big ramps to jump our bikes, shooting stuff and trying to come up with better ways to blow up things.
Most of these activities are frowned upon or outright banned, especially in the tighting packed burbs of America. It might be the fact that I was never seriously injured that shapes my opinion, but I think these activites were actually good for me. They taught me about risk, responsibility and the direct consequences of your actions. In today's safety, "everyone wins!" culture, kids are really lossing out on the trill of adventure.
I'm just as guilty as anyone else when it comes to my kids. It always "Put that stick down! You'll poke out your sister's eye!" or "Don't jump on the chair! You'll fall on the ground!". Pretty ridiculous stuff when you think about it. Hopefully, I can adjust a little as my son grows older and open him up to the world of danger. Hey, that's why we are born with two of everything. Who says my daughter can't live a productive life with just one eye?