Come join 13-year-old Brenna Strong along with her mom, Bea, and her dad, Richard, as they spend a typical Saturday running errands and having fun together. What's not so typical is that Brenna's parents lawfully open carry handguns for self-defense. The Strongs join a growing number of families that are standing up for their 2nd Amendment rights by open carrying and bringing gun ownership out of the closet and into the mainstream. If you open carry and have a difficult time explaining why to your family and friends, or if you want to learn about the open carry of a handgun, or if you've wondered if open carry is right for you, then this book is what you need. My Parents Open Carry was written in the hope of providing a basic overview of the right to keep and bear arms as well as the growing practice of the open carry of a handgun. We fear our children are being raised with a biased view of our constitution and especially in regards to the 2nd Amendment. Before writing this, we looked for pro-gun children's books and couldn't find any. Our goal was to provide a wholesome family book that reflects the views of the majority of the American people, i.e., that self-defense is a basic natural right and that firearms provide the most efficient means for that defense. We truly hope you will enjoy this book and read and discuss it with your children over and over again. As you read this book, you will learn about the growing practice of open carry, the 2nd Amendment, and the right and responsibility of self-defense. Home School Teachers: This book is an excellent text to use as a starting point on the discussion of the 2nd Amendment.
a) Badly-written, b) Badly-illustrated, c) Has the most crap moral concepts that can be imagined -
(1) If you are open-carring a weapon in a supermarket it is unlikely low-life will approach you. If they do, well then don't wait to see what will happen, KILL KILL KILL. This is America and WE CAN DO THAT to protect our families. What even from someone who was only going to rip off your handbag? Surely we don't put people to death for that?
(2) Open-carrying may be offensive in certain circumstances, like in church. So the pastor conceal-carries in church so as not to offend anyone. Why is he carrying a gun in church? What kind of criminal does he think is likely to come into his church that will need a gun to defend himself against? Someone after the collection plate perhaps?
I find the idea of a pastor packing a pistol in church to be incompatible with my idea of Christianity. How can you lead a congregation in the worship of the Lamb of God with a gun strapped under your cassock?
The climax of the book (although it was more like a wet dishcloth than a climax) was that the author's daughter was going to have a treat outing of being taken to target practice to learn how to use a gun effectively ahead of getting one of her own for an 18th birthday present.
Imagine desperately desiring a gun for your 18th birthday? I think most kids would like a car, some cash, a whole pile of books, an outing to the mall, a meal in a posh restaurant, any number of things, but a gun?
This book deserves -5 stars for the writing, -5 stars for the concept and -5000 stars for trying to encourage kids that wanton violence and killing is perfectly fine if you feel 'threatened'.
This is an awful book. And that has nothing whatsoever to do with politics.
Well, okay. The book is terrible, and I'd like to have a separate discussion of its politics.
The Book Itself:
The authors said they wrote this book because there was a dearth of books featuring Open Carry families (Open Carry being all about wearing a gun on your hip, in the open, basically). Which is probably accurate. I don't specifically remember any Sneetches carrying guns. Nor did Pop from Hop On Pop. Although maybe if he had, there would have been less hopping on him.
But is filling an unfilled niche enough to justify a book?
After reading this, I would answer that question with a confident Fuck No. Because as a book, as a narrative, it's shit.
Allow me to quote the opening of the book. Keep in mind, this is meant to be a book for children. You know, young humans who are interested in action and situations they can relate to?
Quote: The Strong family consists of Richard Strong, his wife Bea and their 13 year old daughter, Brenna. The Strong family live in a modest home in a medium-sized town in the Midwest.
Off to a good start. I really appreciate the use of words like "consists" and "modest", two of my favorite words as a child that are still quite useful today. This is a simple story of an economically unremarkable family that is made up of multiple individual units.
The Strong Parents- okay, let's stop. Strong family? Is that really the best name they could come up with for a fake family? Strong? How about the Armstrong family, or maybe the Gunsters? Although I just realized that Richard Strong may have been known as Dick Strong in his college days, so maybe I'm cool with this now.
Dick Strong has a bunch of run-ins with people where he basically reads the constitution out loud to them, and then the Strongs surprise their daughter. They're driving towards a gun range, but they've been there a million times. What kind of surprise is that?
The dumbest of the dumbs will be shocked and amused when Brenna gets her own gun.
Oh, and I feel obligated to mention that the art is also horrific.
This is probably my favorite picture, Mr. Strong appearing to give his daughter the old Dick Strong Strong Arm, which is the name he invented for putting his hand on his daughter's butt in a calming, yet molesty fashion.
Now, before we get into the ridiculousness of the politics here, I would like to talk about some factual errors in the book OUTSIDE of the gun politics.
At the grocery store, Brenna's mom is describing the health benefits of FRESH spinach, and later an old man agrees that she is right, however he mentions CANNED spinach. This may just be a continuity error, but it is the obligation of this reader to point out that canned spinach is third place behind fresh and frozen (frozen foods generally being frozen almost immediately, at which point their composition is arrested, whereas canned still goes through a lot of travel and processing first).
And that's pretty much where we have to get into gun politics, but I think it's important to point out this bit of incorrect health information, or rather that 100% of the health information in this book is less correct than it could be.
So I guess now we have to talk a bit about the politics.
In the interest of full disclosure, just so you know what an idiot you're dealing with here, I'll let everyone in on my gun opinions.
Like driving a car really fast or smashing something, shooting a gun can be pretty fun.
Also like driving a car really fast, I think it's an activity that belongs in a controlled environment. And the fun of it fades quickly the moment someone is seriously hurt.
My opinion on Open Carry (laws that permit a person to wear a gun on a holster, in the open) is that it's for scared people. They may say that they are exercising a right or contributing to public safety, but deep down I think every one of those people is just plain scared.
This book supposedly has a story, but what it really consists of (see, I can use those flourish-y, flower-y writer words too!) is a series of conversations between Dick Strong and people he encounters as he goes about his day, shopping for groceries and going to the bookstore to peruse CD's and Books, as we all do. In 1997.
It's a bit of a fantasy. It's a lot of a fantasy. What happens is various people confront Mr. Strong, everyone from a vet who is super thankful that the Strongs are using the rights he fought so hard for to a woman who feels Open Carry is a bad idea, to a man who carries a gun, but does so in concealed fashion and would like to know more about Open Carry. You know, your typical cross-section of America where every character you encounter is defined by their stance on a single issue.
I'd like to take a moment to respond to the ideas posed in this book, simply because they are ideas as opposed to facts.
Idea: People wear seatbelts and have fire extinguishers. They hope to never need them, but it's best to be prepared, I always say.
Sure. Although I've yet to kill anyone with a seatbelt. And a seatbelt pretty much stays in the car, the place where it's used. I don't bring it into the books and CD store from 1997 with me. And as far as a fire extinguisher goes, the only death that results from shooting somebody with one of those is the death of BORING for that afternoon. Seriously, it's hilarious, and ANYONE can buy a fire extinguisher at your local place where they have those.
Idea: Brenna's dad stated that yes, guns are dangerous and should be handled with care, but so should cars, chain saws, and many other tools that people use every day to make their lives better.
Have you ever tried to bring a chainsaw into a Subway sandwich outlet? Because they get very uppity. I mean, I feel like the point of this book is about Open Carry, but that's really more of an argument for guns in general, right? Or are we saying that we should be allowed to carry chainsaws too? Because if that's the case, I've seen Army of Darkness enough times that I'm all for it. Or maybe just a drill...
Idea: He went on to say guns save more lives than they take.
This is a super common pro-gun slogan. Well, let me illuminate something. This slogan is based on a study from the early 90's. Yes, I often don't consider 1993 to be a long time ago, but if this stat was born in 1994, it would be old enough to drink. If you took my stats at birth and then applied them to me at 21, you would be one confused dummy. In addition, the stats were extrapolated from a study that asked about guns being used in "self-defense." However, the term "self-defense" is pretty shoddy, and could include things like someone grabbing a gun to investigate a noise outside only to find nothing had happened. So did this really prevent a crime? Further, one could report a YES for self-defense when defending himself against THE POLICE. In that case, perhaps 5 people used guns, one criminal and 4 officers, and all were using them in what we would call self-defense. The study makes no distinction between criminal or legally-protected use, and it's just flawed in so many ways it's hard to even discuss rationally. If you see the stat that starts with 2.5 million, just know that it's utter bullshit. (http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/30/opinion...)
Idea: In fact, he stated that merely displaying a gun can deter a crime from happening - which is why he carries his gun in the open.
Whenever someone uses this very flawed form of logic, I always think back to The Simpsons, who explained this form of reasoning better than I ever could after they instituted a Bear Patrol to deter bears from entering the city:
Idea: When seconds count, the police are minutes away.
Ooh, that's some good bumper sticker shit right there.
The problem with this logic is that, well, you would be able to wait a couple minutes if the person committing the crime didn't ALSO have a gun.
Comedian Mike Drucker tweeted it best:
Fun Fact: I had a gun pulled on me in high school. At the time, I didn't wish I also had a gun; I wished that he did not have one.
Idea: The old man explained that he had fought in WWII to protect all of our rights, and he wished more people understood what freedom was.
I would think we could also say that democracy is one of the big things we fought for, yes?
So how do we reconcile the fact that, according to one CNN report, the minority of people own the majority of guns? In fact, only 32% of households owned guns in 2010. Male gun ownership has gone down 20%, and only 1 in 10 women own guns. (http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/31/politic...)
If we're voting through our actions, it would seem to me that we've voted guns out of our own homes.
Idea: He said the 2nd Amendment was spelled out to protect the people from a tyrannical government.
Well, that's factually true. However, I think we can agree that things have changes a fuckton since 1776.
What we don't seem able to agree upon is whether guns would stop something like a takeover today, and the most common comparison we see here is Nazi Germany under Hitler. New laws took away the rights of Jews to own guns. Wouldn't gun ownership have given them a fighting chance?
Short answer, almost certainly not. We're talking about 2% of the population fighting 98%. And in addition, gun laws were much looser under the new regime, provided you weren't a Jew. To simplify the Holocaust by saying it could have been prevented with a couple of Doc Holliday's is a pretty horrible perversion of history (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03...).
I'm only a third of the way through this, but I'm tired.
The book just goes on and on, so let me just say this.
If you're not really into guns, this is not the book for you. Obviously.
But if you ARE into guns, you shouldn't buy this book either. Because all it does is spew nonsense, non-facts, and only confirms what I, as a non-gun guy, think about you: that you're all a bunch of nuts. Because seriously, this was written by wackos. These are not the people who you want representing your cause, believe me. I think I could be convinced about the positives of gun ownership, but not by this horseshit. Explain to me how they can be fun. Explain to me how you plan to regulate things to keep guns away from people who will use them in criminal acts.
And for god's sake, keep your hands off your daughters' butts.
It looks like dad married his sister, judging by those eyes on the cover. And then had a daughter and married her too. Other than that, promotion of open-carrying in the form of a children's book is a work of genius. I am currently working on 'My Puppy Makes Her Own Sarin' and 'My Baby Loves Her Pipe Bomb' to cash in on honour this excellent tradition of truly fruit-loop publishing.
I want you to know that regardless of your views on guns and/or open carry laws, this story is scary. It's scary because it is poorly written and also because the pictures are offputting; they're in pencil (I assume), no color, and everyone is always smiling in their mouths but not in their eyes so they look soulless. Creepy.
I'm not sure about the intended audience for this book. It's packaged as a lap book, the kind where you plunk a child onto your lap and, together, you read the book. However, unlike a typical picture book where there are pictures on every page, this book has pictures every third or fourth page (scary pictures, remember) and TONS of text. SO much text! The story suffers from severe repetition, from over-explanation, and from a lot of conversation that is not made zesty for the appreciation of little ears. In short, it's long-winded and boring. Not appropriate as a read-aloud for a room full of four-year-olds. However, if it is aimed at an older age group, say the 10-14 set, it's pandering, treating kids like they're small, stupid beings who have to have these big concepts simplified but not in a way that makes the topic approachable or accessible. There's no winning here. Who is the audience? For whom is this written? Why are there so many words?
Also: Spoiler Alert! Brenna gets a gun at the end. That's her big surprise for being a good student and for complying uncomplainingly with Chore Day. I can't say anything to that, as giving firearms to kids is a common practice in my family. We used to get guns at age 12 if we wanted them. Or we could have our ears pierced. It's kind of the same, as there is a gun involved in that, too. I chose the latter but my brother totally got a gun. A BB gun. He shot me and my sisters in our asses more times than I can count. I beat the snot out of him for that more times than I can count. But that has nothing to do with this. What does have something to do with this is that none of us got handguns and I don't think Brenna's shoots BBs, though the caliber is not specifically mentioned. The fact that she can't legally own her gun until she's 18 is stated, though. So good? Responsibility? Still. Even I was weirded out by the notion of giving a 13-year-old her own handgun as a reward for getting good grades. Shooting at the gun range (where she can kill the instructor with her automatic weapon because that's totally standard vacation procedure), sure. Getting a real gun? Weird.
If you plan to read this out loud to your tykes, you're going to need a big glass of water, a lot of patience, a strong stomach for forceful opinions, and the ability to restrain yourself when your child up and wanders away in search of better pasttimes.
"For a limited time only," when you buy this book the publisher will include a free copy of Raising Boys Feminists Will Hate. (h/t: Guardian.) Which is probably appropriate given the link between guns and domestic violence.
It's pretty easy to find lots of advice on how to write books for children. Like most advice, one person's list of essentials can be often almost entirely at odds with someone else's. But two rules that recur almost every time are: "Be age appropriate", and "Keep the adults at bay".
The authors of this book have taken a courageous stand against both of those. Most children's books target a very small age range, thinking that what would be suitable for a seven year old probably wouldn't really work for a teenager. Not so here. Our hero, Brenna, is a 13 year old girl (who, when first introduced, is asleep “dreaming dreams only a 13 year old girl would dream”). However, clearly aware that such a character might be off-putting for a younger readership, she's largely given the characteristics of a nine year old, and the book itself is written at a reading level suitable for a seven year old. (Sometimes big words are necessary, but there's a helpful glossary that explains them in simpler language. Like “brandishing”; if that word is too complex for the reader, they can just flip to the back and learn that it simply means “to wave or flourish menacingly” or “to display ostentatiously”. Similarly they can discover that a “mugger” is “a slain term for a criminal that robs people”. Discovering who slew it, and why, is left open, presumably for the sequel.)
Similarly, getting rid of the adults wouldn't be suitable here. A story where only the children have guns would be something else entirely. But the authors have cleverly realised that the issue isn't that children spend all day being told what to do by adults, and prefer fiction where the children, rather than their parents, are the central focus. The real problem is that the the adults in most children's books are, quite simply, wimps, who children can't admire and learn from. Instead, children need books with strong characters, like parents who spending their day triumphing in philosophical debates with neighbours, frightened passers-by, WWII veterans, etc, about rights and freedoms, and the precise meaning of various legal terms. If they're given that, then children of all ages will not only be so delighted that they will want to read the book again and again and again (or, if younger, demand it be read to them again and again and again), but will also find themselves, like Brenna, so overpowered by how right their parents are, that they want to work doubly hard in school, in the hope that they too can get good enough grades to be rewarded with their own handgun.
This book was written to encourage open-carry, but in the end this book seems to be the author shooting himself in the foot (pun totally intended!!!) because the story is so ridiculous and in your face (the family's name is Strong) and the story itself is not well-written. Dad comes across as really preachy when it comes to gun ownership, the law, etc. The illustrations are... creepy.
There's this picture where Mom and Dad take their daughter to the shooting range so she can learn how to shoot a gun. Gotcha, no problem - she's a teenager and should learn self defense under protective and watchful parents so when she is old enough she can handle herself. But the illustration is especially creepy because it looks like Dad is doing something he shouldn't do (so glad I'm not the only one who noticed that) Artistically, the illustrations do show some skill, but are lacking in depth, and the faces also need work.
Mind you, I support the Second Amendment. I've been trained in the use of a gun and enjoy knowing that I can shoot and defend myself when need be. But this book is just so bad that for logical, intelligent people, the book pretty much delivers the opposite message that its author intended.
Firstly, I notice the people who rated 5* have left no review probably because they can't write. Like another reviewer who wrote a marvellous pithy review, I am not American so I felt this book might enlighten me as to why the US is so obsessed with guns despite....
The book is awful in it's premise, it's construction and mindset. We do not live in the 'Wild West' - America presents itself time and again as the most important nation in the 'civilised west'- the ideas in this book are not civilised.
I don't object to this book on moral grounds. I object to this book because it's terrible. No kid will want to read this book. Breanna and her family don't have adventures (as suggested by the description on the back of the book). Breanna gets lectured (or sometimes does the lecturing) about guns ALL freaking day. This is a 12 page lecture, not a kids book. Boring as hell. Would not recommend for children. Although, for grown-ups go read the Amazon reviews they are hilarious!
Got this book as an early Hanukkah gift for a gun-loving coworker, but had to give it a quick read first.
Mom, baseball, apple pie, and open-carried weapons -- this is a 13-year-old girl's 2nd amendment coming of age story, where she receives her first gun from her parents for getting straight "A"s in school.
Poe's Law states that without indication of author's intent, it's impossible to differentiate between extreme views and parody. Only by reading the author bios in the back was I sure of the sincere intent behind this children's book.
I had to give it one star because I can't give it zero. I haven't read it. I doubt very much that I will read it, because I'd have to buy it and the proceeds of my purchase would go to Brian Jeffs and his gun toting tools. I came across another GR review directing us to the Amazon reviews, so here is the link; http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/cr/161808... Laugh out loud stuff.
Brenna's parents are concerned that shooting deaths - many accidental - are only 10 times higher in the US than the rest of the Western world, so they've hit on a way to bring the total more in line with, say, Panama. They might even manage to outdo El Salvador!