Bang, bang, my baby shot me down…*

I was walking home today and happened to pass a Norman Rockwell-esque family moment: a hot and hazy mid-summer evening; a young boy (around five or six) is playfully chasing his slightly older sister; her mock screams, a sound like enjoyment.

What makes this scene a touch disturbing (to me, at least) is the fact that the boy is holding a cap gun and firing off rounds at his sister. Bang, bang.

It’s something I almost never see anymore.

And so I was a bit surprised that it made me feel mildly anxious. As if the image I saw was no longer fun or safe. (And I have to admit, I gave the gun more than a sideways glance.)

Now, this scenario is something I should have recognized from my own youth – related to. I had lots of cap guns. And I used them. Everybody did. So why my reaction?

Times change. So do acceptable mores. My own kids weren’t allowed to play with guns so overtly (so they made up games with weapons of their own invention). We thought that was OK.

The stories of my childhood are no longer the norm. We have a different approach; a different standard.

We look at life from another side now (with apologies to Joni Mitchell).

It’s a sobering thought – especially for communicators – when you consider that what you deem acceptable one day can become an anathema the next.

*BTW, here’s a link to the Nancy Sinatra song alluded to in the headline.

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