on gun control

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.

7 thoughts on “on gun control

  1. I can’t begin to imagine how those parents feel. Just trying to think of it makes my throat tighten up.

  2. Before I saw your tweet on this story yesterday, I had seen the following bumper sticker downtown:

    Gun control is using both hands

    I thought, wouldn’t a nice smart-ass response be to make bumper stickers that read:

    Gun control is using a trigger lock

    Strange. I wonder if I actually overheard someone talking about the story w/o realizing it.

  3. I’m one of those “it’s my body don’t think you can touch it!” people and the “hey if you’re happy swinging with the same sex so be it, but don’t go marching and waving to me because I don’t do that with my heterosexuality.”

    When it comes to guns, I guess I was raised to be aware that if I so much as touched one of my dad’s guns (he hunts) the wrath of God would come down on me and I’d be beaten within an inch of my life. I never touched his guns. I have gone skeet shooting. Hunting is not my hobby either, but I don’t blast my dad for doing it. His guns are in a locked case. Growing up my brother and I never knew where the keys were. Now that we’re old (27 & 23 respectively) my dad told us where the key is so that if we needed to protect ourselves, we could. But neither of us ever go in his case.

    If people want to buy guns, I agree, AK-47s and assault rifles shouldn’t be used outside of the military. Me, I can kind of understand the personal protection of a gun, but I also believe if you have children that come in your house, live in your house, or could be in your house, that gun should be in a locked box and stashed somewhere it doesn’t look enticing. Too many kids are dying by guns these days. When I was in HS a kid threatened to blow us up “Oklahoma City” style and those that survived would be picked off “Like Columbine” and he would do it until we all died. He had access to guns. Thankfully our teachers took his threats seriously and the FBI hauled his ass off to jail (and questioned everyone in school, it was scary) and he had to go to a psych ward for awhile.

    I’m a believer in the slogan:
    “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

  4. Decades ago people had more respect for life because they lived with life and death every day. My Gram would kill the chickens she needed for dinner. She helped deliver her siblings’ children. Everything we get is prepackaged. Meat comes in plastic wrap at the grocery store. Babies are born in sterile white rooms.

    People had more respect for guns then because they understood the power of a gun. Today people think guns are a cool toy. Too many people think getting shot or shooting someone is like a TV show. It’s sad because people don’t respect the responsibility a gun brings.

    If the gun owner had been more responsible, the baby would still be alive.

  5. I think this is a brilliant post.

    Like you, I have never ever touched a gun. I will not go so far as to say that guns should be banned (I’d be tarred and feathered if I tried) but I think stricter gun control is absolutely necessary. Toddlers, children, and anyone without several hours/days/years of gun safety classes under his/her belt should have access to a gun. Ever. And no one, unless enlisted in the military, should have anything automated or semi-automated.

    Again, brilliant post. Thanks for writing it.


  6. It’s such a sad issue because the outcomes are so tragic. I respect the right of people to own guns (although I think concealable weapons are ridiculous outside of law enforcement) but you just cannot force people to be responsible.

    My heart breaks for these parents. What a horrible way to learn.

  7. Hello,

    I read your blog on my nephews death. It was a tragic accident and one that the papers do not reflect accurately.I am annoyed by some of the comments left on this blog. The pain caused to my family due to the accident is horrible. And let me assure you my family does not does not feel like this is a lesson..this was a freak accident. And as far as a comment that was made regarding ” if the owner was more responsible that baby would still be alive ” If this happened to you and your family that comment would probably enrage you because no-one knows the whole situation.

    Baby JoJo was layed to rest on Monday. We have faith in God and know that he is the only one who can judge!

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