It’s not often that the NRA and this president find common ground. We apparently agree, however, that imaginary gun gestures made in good fun or during imaginative play are perfectly normal and acceptable behavior, even for the leader of the free world in a video he uses to promote his public policies.
Attention overbearing public school administrators: you might want to remove any portraits of the 44th U.S. president hanging on your walls. In a recent Affordable Care Act promotional video produced for the website Buzzfeed, President Barack Obama uses his index finger and thumb to form a finger gun and aim it at the viewer. Apparently, the commander-in-chief has not been briefed on the supposedly anti-social, threatening, and disruptive nature of this gesture, so we are here to help.
The video, entitled, “Things Everybody Does But Doesn’t Talk About,” features Obama engaging in various silly activities aimed at portraying him as a regular person, in order to promote his healthcare program. At the beginning of the video, the president is positioned in front of a mirror. After some prolonged mugging, he dons a pair of sunglasses and wields a finger gun at the camera, as if showing off his best secret agent impression.
Unfortunately, the harmless fun the President of the United States is having in the video is, when indulged in by elementary school students, all too often treated by oppressive school officials as a violent offense demanding punishment. Mere weeks after the video’s premiere, a Colorado first-grader was suspended from school for a similar gesture. “Of course I think he was playing,” his father told a reporter. “What six-year-old doesn’t play cops and robbers, or cowboys and Indians?” Indeed, the White House would surely agree, what guy of any age?
Back in November, 10-year-old Nickolas Taylor of Milford, Mass. was suspended for two days from his fifth grade class at Stacy Middle School after he cut a line in the cafeteria at lunch while brandishing an imaginary finger “ray gun.” The incident prompted the Taylor family to explore home schooling.
In 2013, 8-year-old Jordan Bennett was suspended from Harmony Community School in Harmony, Fla. for forming a finger gun during a game of cops and robbers with a friend. In an interview with local ABC-affiliate WFTV, Jordan’s mother, Bonnie Bennett, told a reporter, “He had nothing in his hand. It was a finger gun, a pretend gun… He didn’t threaten violence. He didn’t utter words that were inappropriate. He made a sound and used his fingers and that was it.”