9-year-old child uses toy gun to scare off criminals in South Africa

The bravery of a nine-year-old boy who rescued his grandmother from armed robbers and scared them off using his toy gun has been recognised by the police, who on Tuesday gave him a “hero” award.

Michael-Lee Ellington, a pupil at Arcadia Primary School, was honoured in front of his schoolmates when Inspector Owen Musiker of Sunnyside police station handed him an award in the school hall.

Looking on proudly – and gratefully – was his grandmother Marjorie, with whom he lives in a flat in Pretorius Street, Arcadia. . . .

Shortly after she was tied up for a second time, Michael-Lee knocked on the door. To his surprise two armed men opened the door and dragged him in, with one of the men placing his hand over the boy's mouth to prevent him from screaming.

Michael-Lee said: “I knew I had to do something, so I bit his hand hard and he let go of me. I quickly grabbed my toy gun and started shouting at them. They ran out of the flat, taking off with my granny's belongings, including her camera.”

Marjorie said she was surprised and relieved at her grandson's bravery. After the men fled, she removed the tape from her mouth. . . .

There are a few points to make. I am not sure that such a story could occur in the US because of all the regulations on how toy guns look here. In addition, I am not sure how much longer this could go on at in South Africa because legitimate gun ownership continues to be forced down dramatically by the government, it will be harder to convince criminals that the toy gun is real. Finally, I wonder whether a child like this would ever receive such a reward. In my book, The Bias Against Guns, I discuss multiple cases where young children used real guns to save lives and those cases got little publicity and no rewards were given out as far as I can tell.

Thanks to Walter E. Williams for sending this to me.


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