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Campaign Against Toy Weapons Launched for Christmas

November 28, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Church and pacifist groups are taking up hammers, garbage bags and at least one steamroller in an international battle against Christmas sales of toy weapons.

Wielding a hammer against a toy gun, former toy shop owner Louise Franklin- Ramirez of the Gray Panthers, a group of older Americans, launched this season’s campaign at a news conference Friday.

″War toys channel the imagination of children into recognizing violence as the only legitimate means of resolving conflict or dealing with frustration,″ Geov Parrish of the War Resisters League told a news conference.

″They teach children to divide the world into armed camps of ‘us’ and ’them.‴

Representatives of Stop War Toys said this year’s efforts against the toys would include activities in several states in addition to Australia, Britain, Canada, Hong Kong and Yugoslavia.

Demonstrations against toy manufacturers were planned today in Pawtucket, R.I., and Los Angeles.

The activist group Alliance for Survival intended to use a rented steamroller against a pile of toy guns, collecting them at the Federal Building in West Los Angeles.

Joanne Sheenan, Stop War Toys co-founder, said she planned to demonstrate against Hasbro Inc. in Pawtucket, makers of a popular toy, ″GI Joe,″ and others called ″Air Raiders″ and ″Battle Beasts.″

In Canada, demonstrators dressed as Santa Claus in past years have visited toy stores and thrown toy weapons into garbage bags, she said, adding that similar actions were being considered this year.

It is the third year the groups are waging efforts to reduce sales of violent toys which The National Coalition on Television Violence estimates enjoyed $1.3 billion in sales in the United States last year, a 700 percent increase over the past five years.

Ms. Sheenan said in a telephone interview that she had just returned from a demonstration in West Hartford, Conn. against Coleco Industries, makers of toys derived from the film ″Rambo.″

″They’ve told stockholders they’re dropping the Rambo line because it wasn’t making money,″ she said. ″But we have to see what happens when the new sequel to Rambo comes out.″

The title character in Rambo, played by Sylvester Stallone, in the original film kills numerous actors portraying Russians and Vietnamese.

A press statement by Stop War Toys said broadcasters in Australia and New Zealand have banned commercials for Rambo dolls as promoting violence.

The National Coalition on Television Violence, in another statement, called the TV series ″Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future″ the most violent children’s TV program ever produced.

The organization said it counted 130 acts of violence per hour, an attempted murder every 30 seconds and a killing once a minute in the program which it said is viewed on 96 U.S. television stations and in 26 other countries.

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