We’ve all heard the motto that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. But when a gun discharges accidentally, seems to me that the gun has to take the rap.
It is surprising how many homicidal guns there are. One in Florida picked Mother’s Day to make its move.
A woman went to Starbucks with her friend, “forgetting” that she had a fully-loaded .25 caliber semi-automatic gun in her purse. I suppose she reached into her purse multiple times a day, felt the cold hard steel, and kept fumbling around in there thinking only, “where the hell are the damn car keys?” Maybe every time she touched the gun she mistook it for the NRA-issue dildo she kept in there too, I don’t know. Oh, she also forgot to get a concealed carry weapons license, so it was illegal to carry the gun in her purse to begin with.
Did I mention this was in Florida? Read Carl Hiaasen’s entire oeuvre and a healthy dose of Dave Barry for an education on that state’s special brand of crazy. They make a strong case that bringing guns and dildos when one goes to Starbucks is not particularly noteworthy behavior for some segments of that population. According to the Huffington Post, Florida is also known as the Gunshine State.
Anyway, this woman in the Starbucks in Florida put her bag down on the floor. Local police report that it “hit the ground pretty hard.” I should think it did, what with the gun and the keys and the weird dildo and whatever other metal she stored in there. The gun didn’t like that jolt, so it spat out a bullet. Right into the woman’s friend’s leg. (Makes me think of Dick Cheney. Keep your friends close, but out of shooting range.)
Accidental shootings are usually much more serious than this, and when children are involved, much more somber. As South Carolina sheriff Rick Clark said, ”No matter how tough a cop you are, no matter how many people you have prosecuted – doesn’t matter who you are. When kids are involved it’s a whole different situation.”
Sadly it is a common situation.
- A 5-year-old accidentally shot his 2-year-old sister to death on April 30th with a rifle his parents gave him in a widely-publicized rural southern Kentucky tragedy. In the family’s community, children routinely receive guns before first grade, Salon reported.
- In Denton, Texas, an 8-year-old accidentally shot his 5-year-old friend on May 11th. After two days the victim died of his injuries.
- A 4-year-old shot and killed his six-year-old neighbor in New Jersey on May 13th.
- Another 4-year-old New Jersey boy shot a 6-year-old on April 8th.
- A 4-year-old accidentally shot and killed an 11-year-old relative in Florida on Mother’s Day.
- Also in Florida, a 3-year-old accidentally fatally shot himself with his uncle’s gun in early May.
- One week earlier in Florida, a 13-year-old shot his 6-year-old sister in the chest.
All of these shootings of children by children occurred within a little over a month, and this list is not exhaustive. It’s easy to laugh about the stupidity of adults who “forget” they are carrying concealed loaded semi-automatic weapons but who don’t seriously injure anybody. It’s not funny when children find those adults’ forgotten, misplaced or carelessly tossed aside weapons and use them with lethal, irreversible results.
When we can’t figure out which adults can be trusted with guns, what are we doing making them available to kids? Is it really that important for children to shoot animals to death? Forget important — should it even be allowed?
What does it teach children when they get their own little gun with attractive swirly colors and go out with the adults for an exciting excursion that revolves around killing innocent, fleeing beings? These are living creatures who may have young, mates, or packs who need them, not to mention their own fierce desire to live. When life is valued so little, it’s no wonder that people pop guns into their purses as if they were packs of chewing gum and head out for espresso. No big deal, it’s just a murdering tool.
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