It should be said at the outset that Elmo utters his murder threat very sweetly, with a lilt at the end that makes it sound like a question: "Kill James?" Still, one can imagine that a toddler's parents would find it disconcerting. I myself am a bit puzzled as to how it could happen at all. James Bowman's parents said the doll, which is designed to incorporate its owner's name into various undoubtedly adorable phrases, started suggesting the boy's slaughter after they changed its batteries. But why would the word kill be in Elmo's vocabulary to begin with?
The incident reminds me of two pull-string dolls my sisters had when I was a boy: Matty Matel and his Sister Belle. They could not learn your name, and they came loaded with just a few fixed phrases, including "let's play cowboy," "it's time to eat," "let's play house," "I'm glad we're friends," and "I love you." Somehow (possibly through my rough handling), those phrases got mixed up, so that Sister Belle (if I recall correctly) started to say, "I'm glad we're house," while Matty Matel would say, "It's time to eat you," which was at least as disturbing as homicidal Elmo but easier to explain.
[via The Freedom Files]