Don’t Shoot!

“Mom! A boy was playing shooting games on the computer!” – the children ran up to our table, red-faced and interrupting each other as my husband and I were preparing to pay the bill at a family restaurant. The restaurant was equipped with a play area. “We told the boy that he shouldn’t play shooting games but he wouldn’t listen!” – Simon and Neva shouted in outrage. “He said he was 9!” – Neva says. She is 5 and 9 is old as far as she is concerned. But Simon (7) doesn’t believe in biological age. “I told him I can do to-the-power-of sums!” he tells me later. He probably meant to instigate respect that way. I wonder if the boy knew what to-the-power-of is…


  1. Another incident that also had a connection to weapons occurred several days later, on Thursday, when Simon and I were doing a reading comprehension test in Dutch and he asked me what “het leger” (Dutch for “the military”) meant. When I started explaining he looked at me and said: “But Mom! That’s really not good!” I wanted to make it sound more complex and intice his curiosity, so I added that the modern military technologies are more about developing software than about marching soldiers, and that at some point all weapons will be controlled by AI. Simon gave me this grieving gaze and suddenly I saw him begin to weep. It cost me a long time to console him. It was the first time I saw him deeply concerned with a social issue, with what will happen to the humanity.

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