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Children's 'horror' toys are worrying police chief

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1964-12-18 Herald Express.jpg


MONSTERS that children know are acceptable.

The daleks, the peculiar mechanical beings from the "Dr. Who" television serial, are selling as toys in two sizes this Christmas, and in the larger size (£8 12s. 8d.) the lucky child can actually get inside and operate the mechanical prodders and arms.

The British Toy Manufacturer's Association believes that the daleks are virtually innocuous, and a spokesman said that a market in more horrific toys, such as Frankenstein monster kits, was very small.

But in the United States things are very different as I learned during a recent visit there.

A top American law official has launched a national campaign against the "toys of terror" in the hands of American children, which may make it a "black Christmas" for the young.

"Parents have not realised what has been happening," said Lt.-Col. John D. Rogers. "But the youths and their so-called toys could form an armed camp."

Col. Rogers is assistant superintendent of the Utah State Police. "Compared with places like Chicago and New York, you would think we have no problem." he said. "But this menace is spreading so rapidly that even we have a problem and a dangerous one."

Lt.-Col. Rogers began his campaign last summer. displaying for a startled public a collection of murderous weapons that had been taken from children. It looked like equipment front a mediaeval torture chamber. " Believe it or not," he said, "these things were toys."

They included sawed-off guns, weapons as cap pistols that had been reworked to fire live ammunition, spiked chains, weighted clubs, home-made daggers and Commando knives that looked as though they had been copied from comic book illustrations.

There was even one steel club with three grappling hooks attached to the end by links of chain. A professional gladiator would have been happy to have had that for one of the blood-baths in the arena. It was taken from a youth who made it 'to play with'."

Lt-Col. Rogers said the tensions of the times were apparently at the root of the children's need to equip themselves with these lethal toys. They are a kind of security.

"But there are other alarming elements to consider," he explained.

"Youngsters seem to be drinking more these days. And there are more antagonisms between adults and children.

"They just do not want to understand each other in many cases . And If you mix drinking. : antagonism and misunderstanding with these 'toys' you have an explosion that turns into disaster and tragedy."

Lt.-Col. Rogers thinks his display of toys of terror will alert parents and civic groups to the new trend in toys.

"Parents cannot believe these weapons come from the hands of children," he said at his headquarters in Salt Lake City. "We can only reply that it means they have not looked recently to see how children are amusing themselves."

Lt.-Col. Rogers said that an exchange of information between police departments could facilitate the programme of prevention. One town could alert another that a particular toy on the market had proved ideal for conversion into a deadly weapon.

Toy shops are expected to cooperate.

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  • APA 6th ed.: Smith, Wilson (1964-12-18). Children's 'horror' toys are worrying police chief. Herald Express p. 14.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Smith, Wilson. "Children's 'horror' toys are worrying police chief." Herald Express [add city] 1964-12-18, 14. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Smith, Wilson. "Children's 'horror' toys are worrying police chief." Herald Express, edition, sec., 1964-12-18
  • Turabian: Smith, Wilson. "Children's 'horror' toys are worrying police chief." Herald Express, 1964-12-18, section, 14 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Children's 'horror' toys are worrying police chief | url= | work=Herald Express | pages=14 | date=1964-12-18 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 June 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Children's 'horror' toys are worrying police chief | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 June 2024}}</ref>