Thinking back on the fairy tales that my parents read me as a child, I realize that they were completely horrifying. You've got women trapped in towers, babies offered up to break family curses, a little bit of incest, a lot of DIY surgery, and a healthy dose of casual cannibalism.
But importantly, crucially even, they were written over 200 years ago. Their plots largely defy the laws of physics and basic logic. The characters were so far-removed from my reality that it did not even cross my mind that I should imitate their behavior. Personally, I think this is the way fairy tales should operate, because kids have enough to worry about without having to sit through lengthy lectures about not selling your baby brother to a man who lives under a bridge.
Amelia Hamilton, author of a series of children's books called Growing Patriots, does not agree. That's why she has undertaken the task of rewriting classic fairy tales but swapping out the more zany violence for a much more relatable breed — gun violence!
"Little Red Riding Hood (Has a Gun)" and "Hansel and Gretel (Have Guns)" are both available on the NRA's "Family" site, right now. In the former, a wolf is taken aback when he comes across "two capable ladies in the same day, and they were related!" ("Capable," is being used here to mean "holding guns.") In the latter: "Villagers, prepared with rifles and pistols, headed into the forest, Hansel and Gretel leading the way." Oh, good.
Hamilton defended herself on Twitter saying, "People must prefer the high level of violence in original," which is an interesting choice of argument considering both of her rewrites maintain the plot points involving children being eaten or nearly eaten by wild beasts or by women.
Another project of Hamilton's is tweeting "11:11" at 11:11PM most days of her life.
11:11— Amelia (@AmeliaHammy) March 24, 2016
11:11— Amelia (@AmeliaHammy) March 22, 2016
11:11— Amelia (@AmeliaHammy) March 20, 2016
11:11— Amelia (@AmeliaHammy) March 17, 2016
11:11— Amelia (@AmeliaHammy) March 12, 2016
I don't totally see the connection between numerology and parables about the grace and glory of shooting living things, but okay! After tucking your child into bed with some light fiction, encourage them to believe that numbers are magic. Make America great again.
Here are some ideas of fairy tales Hamilton could rewrite next:
- Cinderella, but instead of a personal growth narrative in which Cinderella builds up the strength to stick up for herself over time, she shoots everyone.
- Snow White, but after true love's first kiss breaks the spell one of the dwarves is like "that woman is a walking dead!" and blows Snow's head off.
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears, except instead of learning a valuable lesson about entitlement, Goldilocks murders a bunch of bears and takes their house.
- The Princess and the Pea, but the Princess doesn't feel the pea under the mattress because she's used to sleeping with a gun under her pillow. No one falls in love.
- Wow, there's already a gun in Beauty and the Beast. That's interesting.
As The Washington Post points out, 52 children under the age of 18 have accidentally shot themselves or someone else so far this year.