The Magic Wand
It was the early 1970s in Greenwich Village, and the place was filling up with new moms eager to raise a more peaceful and more enlightened generation of children. They were sure that violence was bad in every form: not only the war in Vietnam, not only street crime and race riots, but also make-believe violence on TV, in toys, and in children's play. By eliminating aggression from children's consciousness at the most fundamental level, they hoped to gift the world with a new, post-violent citizenry. Toy guns were banned from homes and preschools, TVs were turned off or tuned to the least violent shows, and kids caught playing war would be directed to more peaceful pursuits.
It was Passover week. The preschool teachers told the Passover story (in a nonviolent way, without all the plagues) and distributed matzoh to the kids. One little boy, let's call him Sammy, picked up his flat, crisp matzoh and looked at it. He took a small bite, then another, and another, chomping a fairly straight line across the top. Then he took more bites, at a right angle down the edge, then a couple more, back up again, and then a few more in a line parallel to the first one. Sammy raised his now L-shaped matzoh and gazed at it with pride. What a perfect gun! Then he ran around the room shouting "pow pow pow" while his classmates squealed and pretended to fall dead and his teachers rushed toward him in horror.