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Child Soldiers: Vintage Photos Of Kids With Guns

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“My cousin cleaned out a shotgun for me and let me carry it around the house, because he said, ‘Anybody who knows anything about guns is going to know in a second if someone has held a gun before.’ I didn’t want to be that person. I wanted to be practiced.” – Jennifer Lawrence

 

circa 1914: A WWI French postcard showing a young boy as a soldier with a field gun. Translation reads ' If you don't come out of your trenches I will fire another round'. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

circa 1914: A WWI French postcard showing a young boy as a soldier with a field gun. Translation reads ‘ If you don’t come out of your trenches I will fire another round’. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

circa 1920: British politician Andrew Bonar Law inspecting a troop of boys at the Victoria Club in Kew. Bonar Law worked in a Glasgow iron yard before beginning his political career as a Unionist MP. He succeeded Lord Balfour as Unionist leader in the House of Commons (1911) and served as a member of the War Cabinet, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Lord Privy Seal before becoming the leader of the House of Commons. He retired in March 1921 due to ill health but returned to be Prime Minister in 1922. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

circa 1920: British politician Andrew Bonar Law inspecting a troop of boys at the Victoria Club in Kew. Bonar Law worked in a Glasgow iron yard before beginning his political career as a Unionist MP. He succeeded Lord Balfour as Unionist leader in the House of Commons (1911) and served as a member of the War Cabinet, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Lord Privy Seal before becoming the leader of the House of Commons. He retired in March 1921 due to ill health but returned to be Prime Minister in 1922. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

 

Here’s how it shakes out.

First there’s the shooting. Few of the trigger-pullers are middle-aged, and practically none are old. Some are young men; many are just boys. The Jonesboro, Arkansas, school shooters were 13 and 11.

Second, the initial TV news reports, accompanied by flourishes of music and dramatic BREAKING NEWS logos at the bottom of your screen. No one really knows what the fuck is going on, but it’s exciting. You get your still photo of the location; you get your map from Google or Bing. The cable news producers are busting their asses, trying to get some local news reporter on the phone.

[…]

Twentieth, there’s a killer tornado in Louisiana, or an outbreak of hostilities in the Mideast, or a celebrity dead of a drug overdose. Out comes the dramatic music and the BREAKING NEWS chyrons. The shooting is relegated to second place. Pretty soon it’s in third place. Then it’s a squib behind that day’s funny YouTube video.

Twenty-first, any bills to change existing gun laws, including those that make it possible for almost anyone in America to purchase a high-capacity assault weapon, quietly disappear into the legislative swamp.

Twenty-second, it happens again and the whole thing starts over.

That’s how it shakes out. – Stephen King, Guns 

 

circa 1921: Boys undergoing military training in Moscow. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

circa 1921: Boys undergoing military training in Moscow. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

 

Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them. Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life. Round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law. – William Golding, Lord of the Flies

 

1st December 1923: A group of child soldiers in Russia known as 'Young Spartakus'. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

1st December 1923: A group of child soldiers in Russia known as ‘Young Spartakus’. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

June 1927: Two little boys playing tug of war with a uniformed competitor and his gun during a break in the competition at Bisley rifle range ! (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

June 1927: Two little boys playing tug of war with a uniformed competitor and his gun during a break in the competition at Bisley rifle range ! (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

 

“People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” ― George Orwell

 

1929: Young Blackshirts being drilled in Batilla. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

1929: Young Blackshirts being drilled in Batilla. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

circa 1930: A boy leans out of the window of a bamboo hut, ready to fire his gun.

circa 1930: A boy leans out of the window of a bamboo hut, ready to fire his gun.

 

‘I is not understanding human beans at all,’ the BFG said. ‘You is a human bean and you is saying it is grizzling and horrigust for giants to be eating human beans. Right or left?’ ‘Right,’ Sophie said. ‘But human beans is squishing each other all the time,’ the BFG said. ‘They is shootling guns and going up in aerioplanes to drop their bombs on each other’s heads every week. Human beans is always killing other human beans.’ He was right. Of course he was right and Sophie knew it. She was beginning to wonder whether humans were actually any better than giants.” Roald Dahl, The BFG

 

17th December 1934: A family living in one of the two bedroom hovels in Ebbw Vale, South Wales. A family of seven was found living in one of these rooms, and many such houses have subsequently been condemned as unsanitary. (Photo by Richards/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

17th December 1934: A family living in one of the two bedroom hovels in Ebbw Vale, South Wales. A family of seven was found living in one of these rooms, and many such houses have subsequently been condemned as unsanitary. (Photo by Richards/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

circa 1935: Eleven year old boys in the Hitler Youth organization learning how to fire a rifle. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

circa 1935: Eleven year old boys in the Hitler Youth organization learning how to fire a rifle. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

13th September 1935: A competitor at a Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs meeting in Margate, Kent has the assistance of his young daughter and 12 month old son. (Photo by Fred Morley/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

13th September 1935: A competitor at a Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs meeting in Margate, Kent has the assistance of his young daughter and 12 month old son. (Photo by Fred Morley/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

13th November 1936: A youth parade of Spanish schoolchildren makes its way along the road wearing the black shirts of the Fascists and carrying dummy rifles. Their home of Irun has been taken over by Rebel troops during the Spanish Civil War, and they have been converted to the Fascist cause. (Photo by Maeers/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

13th November 1936: A youth parade of Spanish schoolchildren makes its way along the road wearing the black shirts of the Fascists and carrying dummy rifles. Their home of Irun has been taken over by Rebel troops during the Spanish Civil War, and they have been converted to the Fascist cause. (Photo by Maeers/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

 

“William: You’d look better with your hair chopped off.
Reggie: You’d look better with your face chopped off.”
― Richmal Crompton, William’s Happy Days

 

Girl snipers, fighting for the government, during the Spanish Civil War. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Girl snipers, fighting for the government, during the Spanish Civil War. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

16th November 1937: A boy shows off his new toy to a group of envious friends. It is a replica of an American machine gun as used by gangsters and 'G ' men which releases a shower of sparks when the trigger is pulled. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

16th November 1937: A boy shows off his new toy to a group of envious friends. It is a replica of an American machine gun as used by gangsters and ‘G ‘ men which releases a shower of sparks when the trigger is pulled. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

23rd June 1937: A young guest at the Children's Coronation Garden Party, at the Duke of York's headquarters, London, seen here deciding which balloon to burst with her pop gun. (Photo by E. Dean/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

23rd June 1937: A young guest at the Children’s Coronation Garden Party, at the Duke of York’s headquarters, London, seen here deciding which balloon to burst with her pop gun. (Photo by E. Dean/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

circa 1938: A young hunter looking expectantly into the trees, while her two dogs wait at her feet. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

circa 1938: A young hunter looking expectantly into the trees, while her two dogs wait at her feet. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

 

 

circa 1939: A child 'sentry' standing outside the Palazzo Venezia, alongside older sentries. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

circa 1939: A child ‘sentry’ standing outside the Palazzo Venezia, alongside older sentries. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

 

So Tom got out a sheet of paper that he had wrote the oath on, and read it. It swore every boy to stick to the band, and never tell any of the secrets; and if anybody done anything to any boy in the band, whichever boy was ordered to kill that person and his family must do it, and he mustn’t eat and he mustn’t sleep till he had killed them and hacked a cross in their breasts, which was the sign of the band. And nobody that didn’t belong to the band could use that mark, and if he did he must be sued; and if he done it again he must be killed. And if anybody that belonged to the band told the secrets, he must have his throat cut, and then have his carcass burnt up and the ashes scattered all around, and his name blotted off of the list with blood and never mentioned again by the gang, but have a curse put on it and be forgot forever. – Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

 

24th November 1939: A young 'Sergeant Major' inspects some of the Dulwich College Preparatory schoolboys who have been evacuated to Kent at the start of WW II. The 'soldiers' carry wooden guns and wear short trousers ! (Photo by Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

24th November 1939: A young ‘Sergeant Major’ inspects some of the Dulwich College Preparatory schoolboys who have been evacuated to Kent at the start of WW II. The ‘soldiers’ carry wooden guns and wear short trousers ! (Photo by Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

4th June 1941: A schoolboy takes careful aim during a gun class at his preparatory school in Maidenhead, Berkshire. (Photo by Fred Morley/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

4th June 1941: A schoolboy takes careful aim during a gun class at his preparatory school in Maidenhead, Berkshire. (Photo by Fred Morley/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

4th June 1941: A schoolboy takes careful aim during a gun class at his preparatory school in Maidenhead, Berkshire. (Photo by Fred Morley/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

4th June 1941: A schoolboy takes careful aim during a gun class at his preparatory school in Maidenhead, Berkshire. (Photo by Fred Morley/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

circa 1950: Arizona schoolchildren dressed as cowboys playing out a shoot-out in the classroom with their teacher. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1950: Arizona schoolchildren dressed as cowboys playing out a shoot-out in the classroom with their teacher. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

November 1950: A young boy plays at western-style gunfighting at the Helldorado in Tombstone, Arizona. (Photo by Doreen Spooner/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

November 1950: A young boy plays at western-style gunfighting at the Helldorado in Tombstone, Arizona. (Photo by Doreen Spooner/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

Four boys wearing space suits holding Dan Dare ray guns. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)

Four boys wearing space suits holding Dan Dare ray guns. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)

circa 1955: A couple of boys playing with toy guns. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1955: A couple of boys playing with toy guns. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1955: A youngster has shot his first partridge on a hunting trip with his father. (Photo by John Titchen/Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1955: A youngster has shot his first partridge on a hunting trip with his father. (Photo by John Titchen/Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1955: Young television star Glenn Walken dressed up in a space helmet at home in Bayside, Long Island. (Photo by Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1955: Young television star Glenn Walken dressed up in a space helmet at home in Bayside, Long Island. (Photo by Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1955: A father and son check their equipment the night before their hunting trip. (Photo by John Titchen/Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1955: A father and son check their equipment the night before their hunting trip. (Photo by John Titchen/Three Lions/Getty Images)

 

“One more step, Mr. Hands,” said I, “and I’ll blow your brains out! Dead men don’t bite, you know,” I added with a chuckle.” ― Cabin Boy James Hawkins, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

circa 1956: Radio and television announcer (and pipe smoking Indian Chief), Frank Blair, is in a fix as his cowboy gunman son gets the drop on him on Christmas morning. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

circa 1956: Radio and television announcer (and pipe smoking Indian Chief), Frank Blair, is in a fix as his cowboy gunman son gets the drop on him on Christmas morning. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

January 1958: A young boy looks down the sights of a revolver. (Photo by R. Mathews/BIPs/Getty Images)

January 1958: A young boy looks down the sights of a revolver. (Photo by R. Mathews/BIPs/Getty Images)

28th October 1960: Seven-year-old Jeremy Seaward holds up American film actor John Wayne during Wayne's visit to the Invalid Children's Aid Assoiation's Meath School at Ottershaw. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

28th October 1960: Seven-year-old Jeremy Seaward holds up American film actor John Wayne during Wayne’s visit to the Invalid Children’s Aid Assoiation’s Meath School at Ottershaw. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

25th November 1962: Some of the wives and families of soldiers of the Assam Rifles at Tezpau in India, during border clashes with China. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Express/Getty Images)

25th November 1962: Some of the wives and families of soldiers of the Assam Rifles at Tezpau in India, during border clashes with China. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Express/Getty Images)

3rd March 1963: Mr William Bulgen and his family pack their van for a trip to South Africa. (Photo by Reg Lancaster/Express/Getty Images)

3rd March 1963: Mr William Bulgen and his family pack their van for a trip to South Africa. (Photo by Reg Lancaster/Express/Getty Images)

20th December 1963: Field Marshal Mwariama's nine year old son on parade with other Mau Mau soldiers. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

20th December 1963: Field Marshal Mwariama’s nine year old son on parade with other Mau Mau soldiers. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

20th December 1963: Field Marshal Mwariama's nine year old son on parade with other Mau Mau soldiers. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

20th December 1963: Field Marshal Mwariama’s nine year old son on parade with other Mau Mau soldiers. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

A young girl poses with members of the National Liberation Front (NLF) during the Aden Emergency, Yemen, 1967. (Photo by Stan Meagher/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A young girl poses with members of the National Liberation Front (NLF) during the Aden Emergency, Yemen, 1967. (Photo by Stan Meagher/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

17th August 1969: A British soldier stands on patrol at a street corner in Belfast, while two children mount their own kerbside guard. (Photo by Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images)

17th August 1969: A British soldier stands on patrol at a street corner in Belfast, while two children mount their own kerbside guard. (Photo by Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images)

Children with guns during the civil war in southern Sudan. (Photo by John Downing/Getty Images)

Children with guns during the civil war in southern Sudan. (Photo by John Downing/Getty Images)

In Maoist China, Shanghai girls are taught how to kill with bayonetted rifles, demonstrated here in an exercise drill. (Photo by McCarthy/Getty Images)

In Maoist China, Shanghai girls are taught how to kill with bayonetted rifles, demonstrated here in an exercise drill. (Photo by McCarthy/Getty Images)

13th November 1975: A toddler dressed in battle dress and holding a toy gun, at the giant rally held in the Nova Lisboa football stadium to celebrate the independence of Angola. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

13th November 1975: A toddler dressed in battle dress and holding a toy gun, at the giant rally held in the Nova Lisboa football stadium to celebrate the independence of Angola. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Chinese schoolchildren give a demonstration of their military skills in Hanking, where lessons include pre-military exercises using wooden weapons. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Chinese schoolchildren give a demonstration of their military skills in Hanking, where lessons include pre-military exercises using wooden weapons. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

11th December 1979: Jamie Ryan on guard with a toy gun at a squat in Wessex Garden Suburb. (Photo by Aubrey Hart/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

11th December 1979: Jamie Ryan on guard with a toy gun at a squat in Wessex Garden Suburb. (Photo by Aubrey Hart/Evening Standard/Getty Images)

1st December 1923: A group of child soldiers in Russia known as 'Young Spartakus'. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

1st December 1923: A group of child soldiers in Russia known as ‘Young Spartakus’. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

  • great blog post – just did a Facebook thing but I am sure I will be returning

  • M.Mitchell Marmel

    Incidentally, the two kids playing “tug of war” are actually helping clean the bore of the rifle using a string bore cleaner… 🙂