WATERLOO, ONTARIO: CPT inspects toy retailers

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CPTnet

December 11, 2001

WATERLOO, ONTARIO: CPT inspects toy retailers

On Saturday, December 1, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and

local church members conducted inspections of toy retailers throughout

Kitchener-Waterloo as part of CPT’s ongoing North America-wide campaign,

“Violence is Not Child’s Play: 500 Churches for Change.” This was the second

consecutive year for CPT toy inspections in the community.

Participants called public attention to the harmful effects of marketing

violent toys and games to children and encouraged store managers to reduce

and eventually eliminate their inventories of violent toys.

Inspection teams visited nine different stores, rating the content of each

on a scale of 100 points. Stores selling predominantly toys and games that

teach children to be cooperative and creative received more peace points.

Stores that carried many violent toys and games had points deducted.

Participants then announced their findings in a press conference, complete

with samples of violent toys such as an action figure with an exploding

head, a “wild west” shotgun, and a video game featuring animated blood and

gore. Toys R Us and Walmart tied for worst place with 53 points and 50

points respectively. Both stores received a “Notice of Toxicity” and were

encouraged to reduce their violent toy inventories. A “Certificate of

Encouragement” was awarded to Toy Sense Plus, Toy Junction, and Scholar’s

Choice, all finishing with 99 points. The managers were commended for

featuring a variety of toys and games that stimulate creativity and

teamwork.

In addition to local newspaper and television interviews, several radio

stations covered the event, including a province-wide CBC interview.

Referring to the United Nations declaration calling for a Decade of Peace

and Nonviolence for the Children of the World in 2001-2010, a press

statement released by the group said, “We share a serious concern for the

extent to which our society accepts and even encourages violent behavior. In

different ways, all of us share a vision for a world in which nonviolent

toys and games can nurture children to become creative, peaceful, and

problem-solving people.”

The press statement also referred to the ambivalence of some toy retailers

and manufacturers who have found themselves in a new space after September

11, not sure whether or not to release new products that simulate terrorist

scenarios. While stores report increases in sales of both rescue figures and

GI Joe toys, participants in the toy inspection made the point that “there

is a fascination with both inflicting pain through violence and rescuing

people from suffering. Now more than ever, we believe it is time to speak

out to end the cycle of violence.”

About two dozen people were involved in the December 1 inspections. Members

of CPT included Matthew Bailey-Dick, Nina Bailey-Dick, Chris Buhler, Joel

Klassen, and Scott Morton Ninomiya.

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