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The Militarization of Christmas – How Santa Claus’s image has turned violent

December 5, 2011

Santa Claus is the enduring symbol of the Christmas season, spreading joy and good tidings to millions around the world. But the image of jolly old St. Nick is now changing, some say for the worse.

In Arizona, families can have their photos taken with Santa while toting rifles at the Scottsdale Gun Club. The club’s general manager, Ron Kennedy, says his members love the photos, which are “a fun and safe way to express their holiday spirit and passion for firearms.” Others feel the photos are inappropriate, especially in the state where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was gravely injured by crazed shooter Jared Loughner in an attempted assassination.

Around the world, security guards in the Coex Mall in Seoul, South Korea are being encouraged to dress like Santa as they carry out their daily duties. The merry men were recently filmed demonstrating their martial arts skills as part of an interview with mall security director Kim Young-mok. He says the costumes are designed to create a happy environment during the Christmas season, but make no mistake. By the looks of their moves, they’re more than ready to karate kick a suspected thief back to The Island of Misfit Toys.

Is Santa’s new image just festive fun, or is it a telling reflection of our increasingly violent culture?

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