This past week, when a 5 year old boy accidently shot his 2 year old sister to death with a kid friendly .22 caliber Crickett rifle, the reaction was of sadness, of course, but also of surprise (how could this have happened?). Even the coroner – who should know better – expressed sentiments that this was just a random occurrence that simply no one could have predicted, like that meteor in Russia or Nicki Minaj’s popularity. His exact quote is:
Just one of those crazy accidents
Let me beg to differ. Giving a 4 year old a rifle is an accident waiting to happen. And it does… a lot.
Chalking the whole sad affair again to “just one of those things”, a State Trooper investigating the death said:
“It’s just one of those nightmares. A quick thing that happens when you turn your back.”
But you see, unbeknownst to the family, the rifle still had one bullet in the chamber when they left it leaning up against the corner of a room. So to recap, if you leave a loaded gun that is specifically designed and marketed for children leaning against a wall in a room he has access to its just one of those unavoidable nightmares. I’m sure the parents can rest easy knowing that they are absolved from all blame in this. There was absolutely nothing they could do to prevent this.
The rifle maker (don’t bother clicking the link, the site has been down since the shooting) shouldn’t be too hard on itself either. After all, in this creepy advertisement for the gun they made it seem like so much fun.
You see! They even have a pink one for Mom or daughter! Aw.
What is lost in this recent and spirited gun debate, where hyperbole and strawman are thrown around by increasingly agitated gun enthusiasts is the cold facts. Guns kill people. Most of the time from suicide or accident. Having a gun in the house increases those odds exponentially. The myth that both the coroner and the State Trooper buy into that we live in a world where things “just happen” and we can’t stop it. That is not true, and we are doing a disservice to our children and to ourselves by continuing to bury our heads in the sand in order to not be confronted with a reality we don’t want to deal with. In a very real way, a 2 year old girl would still be alive had that family not felt the need to buy a 4 year old a rifle for his birthday. We don’t live in some Final Destination world where when “fate” decides a person’s time is up, they’ll get her one way or the other. We should live in the empirically driven world of facts and foster a society wide motivation to reduce gun violence and accidents by any means necessary. I hope the Crickett website is down from a crisis of conscience and not damage control.
- 5 year old shot 2 yr old sister (mixupstory.wordpress.com)
- 5-year-old kills sister with gun ‘gift’ (edition.cnn.com)
- boy, 5, shoots and kills two-year-old sister with first rifle (thesun.co.uk)