I saw this article on our local news yesterday, and it made me sick to my stomach. In case you don’t feel like clicking a link, here’s the story.
A 2-year-old Sanford boy was killed late Wednesday morning in what authorities have labeled an accidental shooting.
Details were not immediately clear, but Sanford police Capt. David Smith said the child or another child in the home at 522 Cannon Circle got hold of a gun and that it was fired. The boy was shot in the head.
“It’s obvious someone left an unsecured weapon,” Smith said. “We don’t know if the toddler shot himself or if one of the other children in the house was playing with the gun.”
Two other children, ages 3 and 4, as well as the boy’s mother, Melanie Tyson, were at the residence at the time. His father, Joey Tyson, was at work. Police did not release the name of the child.
Emergency workers responded to the report at 11:13 a.m., and the child was taken to Central Carolina Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Smith did not speculate as to whether the boy’s parents will face any charges.
“I don’t want to be premature and talking about charges until we finish our investigation,” he said.
This? This is not ok. And this is why, yes, I absolutely believe that we need tighter gun control laws in this country.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me say this: I admit that I have a somewhat irrational fear of guns. I’ve never touched a gun in my life, and never want to. When my school decided to take one semester of 7th grade Phys. Ed. and offer “Hunter’s Education” class instead, I had my mom write me a note saying that it was against my beliefs. They let me take study hall for that period. I hate guns, I wish they didn’t exist.
I think that if you want to own a gun for hunting, fine. It’s not my personal hobby, but whatever. If you want a handgun for “personal protection,” I think that’s ridiculous, but I also realize that it’s easy for me to say that from my very safe, upper-middle class neighborhood. I think the idea of anyone owning an automatic rifle is absolutely obscene, and that no one needs an AK-47 outside of a military context.
That said, in spite of all my personal wacky liberal views on guns, I’m not stupid. There’s never going to be any real anti-gun legislation that gets passed in this country. For Christ’s sake, people show up with loaded assault rifles at town hall meetings when the topic is health care of all things. Try to imagine the reaction if Obama wanted to talk about passing restrictions on gun ownership. Armageddon? Probably close.
But look, there has to be some middle ground here to put an end to these types of horrible accidents. Like oh, I don’t know, maybe requiring gun owners to take a basic gun safety course? Or passing a law that if you have a gun and there are children in the house, you also have to buy a lock like this for it?
And I know that all of you conservatives are all about “personal responsibility!” and “I don’t want the government passing laws that restrict my freedom!” or whatever the hell your argument is. (Although, ironically, when the issue comes to either abortion rights or gay marriage, y’all want to slap a whole bunch of laws all over that shit. Which makes no sense to me at all, but that’s neither here nor there.) But is this really all that different than being required to pass a test before you can get a driver’s license, or laws that require car seats to keep your kids safe? I don’t see anyone at the DMV with a protest sign, claiming that their personal freedom is being infringed upon.
I’m not unsympathetic to the family in this tragedy. Obviously I have no idea what it’s like to lose a child – there are other people out there who know that type of pain, and I’m truly thankful that I don’t. I don’t think they’re bad people, I’m sure they had a gun because they wanted to keep their family safe. But to not only have lost a child, but to also know that you’re the one who brought home the weapon that killed your child? I don’t know how you go on with your life after that. There has to be something that can be done to prevent these types of tragedies from occurring. There just has to be.
**Note from me: I realize that this is sort of a controversial topic. Debate and polite disagreement is fine. Any comments with abusive language – or just general douchebagginess – will be deleted.