Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Guns in America: “Just One of Those Crazy Accidents” (update)

In last week’s post Guns in America: “Just One of Those Crazy Accidents” I wrote about 12 children who were either killed or wounded by “accidental” gunfire and/or who were responsible for killing or wounding someone else with accidental gunfire all in the month of April 2013. None of these children was even a teenager yet. Unfortunately, my compilation of these tragic stories was incomplete.

KTUU (Alaska’s NBC affiliate) (April 30, 2013)

Mountain Village Girl, 5, Fatally Shot by Brother

A 5-year-old Mountain Village girl died Monday afternoon in a shooting by her older brother, according to Alaska State Troopers.

A Tuesday AST dispatch says troopers from St. Mary's responded at about 2:20 p.m. Monday to the shooting.

“Investigation revealed that an 8-year-old boy was playing with a Ruger 10/22 (rifle) that he had used the day before to go hunting, when he shot his 5-year-old sister, killing her,” troopers wrote.

AST spokesperson Megan Peters says troopers can’t or won’t release many details about the shooting, which remains under investigation. She says the boy was unsupervised at the time of the incident.

“The boy was home, his 5-year-old sister came home and within the span of 15 minutes she was dead,” Peters said.

While troopers have notified the state Office of Children’s Services and the district attorney’s office, there isn’t any immediate word on actions taken by those agencies.

“It's too early to know whether charges are warranted against anybody,” Peters said.

Peters emphasizes that much of what troopers know about the shooting is preliminary, and asks the public not to rush to judgment on the case.

“There's no easy answer to it, and obviously no one thinks it's going to happen,” Peters said. “It's a very good opportunity to realize how much can go wrong in a very short time.”

The girl’s body will undergo an autopsy at the state medical examiner’s office.

So, by my count, that makes at least 14 children, aged 12 and under, killed or wounded by accidental gunfire or who were responsible for killing or wounding someone with accidental gunfire within the span of one month. That number omits children killed in criminal violence and in murder-suicides. It is “just” those killed, wounded, or involved in “accidental” shootings.

By comparison, during that same month of April 2013, guess how many Americans were killed in Afghanistan. Go ahead. Guess. The answer? 14.

I don’t know about you, but I think we should be ashamed that the number of Americans killed in a war zone could even possibly be comparable to the number of American children involved in accidental shootings.

But, nooooo, we don’t have a problem with guns, do we? We need more guns on our streets! We need guns in our schools! Maybe we need to be sure that all of our children, toddlers included, are armed or at least wearing protective body armor.

Query whether I, as a parent, am being irresponsible if I allow my kids to go play (er, I guess now that they’re teenagers, they “hang out” instead of “play”) at a friend’s house without first inquiring as to the presence of guns in that house? You see, I don’t want to put my child’s life at risk because you are irresponsible with how you store your gun or because your child has access to that gun. Talk about freedom and tyranny and self-defense all you want; my kids’ lives are more important.

I also wanted to note that the website for Crickett Rifles (the type of rifle marketed to children and which was involved in the shooting of a 2-year-old by her 5-year-old brother), has been taken offline. But before the website vanished, Business Insider had a chance to capture a few images from the “Kids Corner” portion of the website:

Crickett 2 630

Or perhaps this video advertisement for Crickett rifles is a better example:

And you know how gun rights folks are always talking about “gun safety” and “trigger protocol” or whatever the fuck it is that they think makes it OK for a kid to have a gun? Well, take a look at this screen shot that Business Insider took from the Crickett commercial:


That’s right, mom. Focus so much on daughter that you don’t realize that you’re pointing your rifle at your son’s head! Thankfully, her finger isn’t on the trigger…

Ah, but don’t worry. Because if you still want to get your kid a gun, just go to the website for the other gun manufacturer making “quality firearms for America’s youth”: Chipmunk Rifles. Hmm. Now why does that tagline sound so familiar? For that matter, why does Chipmunk’s webpage look so familiar? Oh, right. Chipmunk Rifles is also owned by Keystone Sporting Arms, the same company that owns Crickett Rifles. So, no, they haven’t stopped marketing rifles for children; they’ve just removed one of the brand names that is getting a bad rap just because some careless Kentucky 5-year-old used his prized Crickett rifle to kill his 2-year-old sister.


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At Wednesday, May 08, 2013 1:07:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need professional training
You need to pass a government approved test
Your performance is randomly checked by police
Your licence is taken away if you behave recklessly
We all know this is right, and we accept it
... for a driver's licence

At Wednesday, May 08, 2013 2:05:00 PM , Blogger MSWallack said...

Don't forget insurance.


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