We Must First Protect Children

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Unspeakable tragedy.

A 3-year-old wanders into a neighbor’s apartment, finds a loaded, unsecured gun — and somehow shoots and kills his 18-month-old sibling.

The mind quails at the scene, the inconsolable wail of horror.

What a terrible burden for the neighbor, for the child who lived.

What a dreadful loss — a life extinguished and a family shattered.

What can one do in the face of such grief and agony?

When we posted the story on our Facebook page, it immediately ignited a debate about gun control — a subject so bitter that everyone hurls themselves into the foxhole of argument the moment the starburst shell lights up that tortured battlefield.

But let us focus on one small part of that debate: How shall we protect our children?

The federal Centers for Disease Control reports that unintentional gunshot wounds remain the eighth-leading cause of accidental death in the United States — but the third-leading cause of accidental death among those younger than 19. Teenage boys account for 80 percent of those deaths.

The risk a child will die from a gunshot wound is twice as high in rural areas as in urban areas, the CDC reports.

Moreover, for every child killed with a gun — another 105 are wounded.

Those accidental firearm deaths usually happen at home — and almost always involve a gun that either lacks a trigger lock or isn’t locked up.

Studies suggest gun makers could easily produce guns almost impossible for young children to fire accidentally. In fact, the technology exists to make guns that will only fire for the person who owns it. One might even require the sale of trigger locks with all firearm purchases.

Of course, any such suggestion will enrage the vociferous gun lobby. Within minutes, we’ll be trapped in the same swirling, passionate, immobilizing debate that seems to rise from every such tragedy like swirls of bitter smoke.

But here’s how you can sidestep that debate — and infuse this senseless death with some meaning.

If you own a gun and don’t have a trigger lock — go get one today.

Then store the ammunition separately — and lock up the gun.

Perhaps like that now grief-stricken elderly neighbor you don’t have children. You think that means you need not take such precautions. As we learned on Wednesday, that’s a lethal assumption.

Perhaps you fear the intruder in the night as you fumble in the dark with the trigger lock. But the danger to any child that comes into your home remains far greater than the danger you face from a stranger in the dark. Who among us would risk the life of a child to make ourselves a little safer?

So please, do not linger to see how this circular, never-ending debate will play out.

If you have a gun, secure it today.

Do not be the cause of the next, unspeakable tragedy.

Comments

Pat Randall 6 months, 3 weeks ago

There have been so many versions of what happened including the mother seeing the one child shoot the other one. My heart goes out to the family, but it wasn't the fault of the elderly man who owns the gun. It was his home. It wasn't the fault of the gun. Guns don't kill people, people kill people no matter the age. Don't blame the gun. If the mother was there why wasn't she watching her child? It was also said several people were watching the children. It is a terrible tragedy but not the guns fault or the man that owns it. Why have a gun for protection of your home and self and family if it is going to be locked up with trigger guards and the ammunition somewhere else? I raised 3 children, have 5 grandchildren and 7 great grand children. There are guns in all of the houses. Always have been. Some loaded and some not but ammunition near. None of them have been harmed by a gun. WATCH YOUR KIDS AT HOME AND WHEN VISITING. Tell them about guns and what can happen. Lets get rid of all vehicles, they kill or harm more children than guns do. At least 6 of the kids I mentioned in my family have been injured in car wrecks.

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julie ohlinger 6 months ago

pat you say there ware guns in all of the houses which I assume are your familys home? Do your homes have the guns in reach of children ,say under 4years old? Loaded? If so then you are , well needless to say . Im sick of your posts on this accident . It is NOT the mothers fault as you say for not watching her kids. no one I mean no one can tell me that you have never even went to the bath room by yourself ...Not ... the apartment where this happened is very small the bedroom not far from the kitchen area. I suppose she could have tied them up to make them sit in one spot..oh my!!!! a 3 year old and a 18months old never sits still..... I know for a fact if she would have known there were firearms just laying around in that apartment ,the children would not I mean NOT have been in there..and you mentioned quite sarcastic that we should get rid of cars ..what a silly comparison . 6 kids out of your family been in car wrecks ...hmmmm wonder who taught them to drive...just saying....it was that babys time to be with God is the bottom line . and your harsh words as well as the rest of the people who but blame where it don't belong should bite your tounges off...have a good day

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