Jan. 6, 2012 at 1:01 PM ET
Angelina Jolie took two of her sons, Pax and Maddox, to a party supply store in Hollywood on Thursday, and the paparazzi weren't the only ones shooting.
Photos from X17online.com show young Pax taking aim at the photographers with a new toy machine gun as his mother smiles before they jump in their waiting SUV.
After looking at the images, I paused for a moment to think about all the war-torn countries Jolie has set foot in as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations. It's not a stretch by any means to say she's seen first-hand the devastation wrought by the very weapons glamorized in that molded plastic. In fact, the actress is still promoting her directorial debut, "In the Land of Blood and Honey," a love story set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War.
But the action star who has shot up plenty of film screens here, here and over here, has a surprising take on it all, as referenced by Entertainment Weekly a few years ago: ''Mad, our 6-year-old, draws lots of war scenarios,'' she explains. ''He's all into war and guns. So for Mother's Day he drew a machine gun, and Brad had it made into a necklace, which is really sweet. It's really cute. I think it's really good!''
Before you try to pull the N.R.A. card that I don't have, know that I don't have a problem with the toys Jolie's kids play with. I can barely type this thanks to the gun shape my fingers are permanently twisted into from years of playing cops 'n robbers and war as a kid. I shot everything from cap guns to bent sticks in an effort to blow away my brother or my friends. But beyond a BB gun aimed at a tree, I've never fired anything real in my life.
And if you looked at the arsenal in my almost-5-year-old son's toy closet, you'd figure boot camp for Stormtroopers started awfully young. Or you'd understand that a cowboy on Halloween just looks like a rancher without toy six-shooters tucked into his plastic holster.
I don't anticipate my son crafting an M-16 necklace for me anytime soon. And my wife and I run into plenty of other parents of young kids who say, "Oh, we don't allow guns in our house." That's great. I applaud that (and I keep it secret when I hear blasters firing in my son's room during playdates).
But in the intense media spotlight where Jolie and her family live, I think it's pretty cool that her kid gets a chance to "shoot" back at the photographers who have been taking aim at him for years.
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