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Posted December 29, 2012 EST

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Juarez Firefighters Destroy Toy Guns, Swords
Hundreds of toy guns, knives and swords were destroyed Thursday by Juarez firefighters, who refused to hand them out as Christmas presents to the children of the city that has been torn by violence for the past five years. Those war-themed toys were set aside last week and excluded from the 12,000 bags of toys that Juarez firefighters handed

out Monday to the city's needy children as part of operation Santa Bombero.

It is best to destroy them, Lt. Javier Enriquez of the Juarez Fire Department said in a statement.

"We are trying to avoid spreading the culture of violence among children," Enriquez said. "These kinds of games (about wars and shootings) are not healthy at all."

Since 2008, Juarez has been in the midst of a brutal and constant drug cartel war in which more than 11,000 people have been killed. Some of the homicides have been extremely violent, and some of the slayings have occurred on public streets and within view of children.

The toy weapons were donated to the firefighters as a part of their annual toy giveaway.


1950, Juarez firefighters have conducted an annual charity campaign in which they collect toys from the public and then give them to underprivileged children in Juarez.

Firefighters rely on the Juarez-El Paso community for donations. The firefighters prefer new toys, but any used toys donated are cleaned and repaired before they are given out. This year, firefighters gave away more than 800 bikes.

Written by El Paso Times

Courtesy of YellowBrix - YellowBrix