As my husband and I walked into the Puzzle Zoo on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, we were astonished to find the very first display as you enter the store to be a huge toy gun collection. Now when I say toy gun collection, I mean wooden guns fashioned to look like assault rifles and AK-47s with sniper scopes (for hunting humans).

We have shopped at this store for years, and couldn’t believe the owners wouldn’t have the sensitivity to move this display to the back of the store given the tragedy that occurred on Friday in Connecticut. We couldn’t believe that the owners had decided to put profit over civic responsibility by promoting killing toys while knowing that young children had been killed by the real versions of the very toys they were displaying.

Now this e-mail is not to argue the value in selling these types of toys to children in the first place, as that is a conversation for another time. But it is a symbol of the lack of empathy and consciousness that this store owner must feel toward children and parents at a time when real guns like these were used in a massacre. As much as parents have probably tried to shield their children from the news of this event, imagine how many Santa Monica children have walked into that store since Friday and tried to grapple with seeing guns like that the moment they walk into a toy store.

Maybe that is the owner’s intention, I am not sure, to use this event to try to visually assault children and parents with the immediacy of this display and in turn try to get more kids to want guns. I had not visited the store in the past few weeks, so I am not sure where this display was located before Friday’s tragedy occurred.

As a result of the owner’s insensitivity and promotion of guns over civic responsibility, my husband and I will no longer be shopping at this store.



Jennifer Freeman

Theodore Stephansen

Santa Monica

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.