Tuesday, June 10, 2008

There aren't even words.

I was trying to think of a title for this post to convey how angry I am right now, but I can't. Sometimes I am ashamed to be from South Carolina, and this is one of those times. You've no doubt heard about the four-year-old girl who shot herself in the chest in Sam's Club on Monday using her grandmother's gun. Her grandmother, an Aiken County Magistrate Judge, even had a concealed weapons permit. Thank GOD the child survived!

This post might make a few people angry, and that's why I try not to discuss politics on my blog. I know a few intelligent people who own guns and know how to use them responsibly. However, I can't talk to Jordan about this because he thinks guns are a wonderful avenue of self-preservation which everyone should own and we'll get into a big argument. Therefore, I am blogging instead.

I wouldn't be so upset if the grandmother had been some criminal who bought her gun illegally from someone she met in an alley. This woman surely went through some measure of gun education in order to get her concealed weapons permit, and then proceeded to place her loaded gun insecurely in her purse and place the purse within reach of her innocent four-year-old granddaughter. What do they teach in those classes, anyway? As commenter Jackson points out, "there are only a few requirements for carrying a concealed weapon and unfortunately common sense doesn't appear to be one of them."

The icing on the cake: People are defending her decision and acting as though this were an unfortunate but inevitable result of defending herself--something which could have happened to anyone who "totes a gun," as a friend of Williamson's points out. "We have to have guns to protect ourselves!" they scream. But who is going to protect the children whose caregivers insist upon leaving loaded guns lying around? That this happened to such a respected member of society is a red flag that our current gun control system isn't working. Sure, I have the right to protect myself by keeping a pistol under my pillow if I choose. But who is going to protect my daughter when she is in high school and some unbalanced juvenile delinquent steals his mother's gun from under her pillow and comes to school to randomly gun down half of homeroom? Call me alarmist, but it's happened! Again and again and again. Increasingly, even. Homeschooling is looking like a damn good option right about now.

You'd think that in the face of all these tragedies, our country and the great state of SC would be coming up with a plan for heightened gun security and safety education. PSYCH! Instead, South Carolina is subsidizing the distribution of even more firearms by declaring a 2009 tax-free weekend for guns! Classy, no?

One more note to Suzi's friends and family: This is probably common sense, but please do not ever purchase a toy gun of any sort for my daughter. It will be thrown away, and I don't care who you are. There's no chance she'll find a loaded gun in this house, but you never know what she might find elsewhere and I want her to know the difference between a toy and a deadly weapon.

9 comments:

Julie said...

AMEN! Gun accidents happen all too often.One was a four year old girl who found a pistol at her mother's workplace, thought it was toy and wounded her mother with it. Then two junior high age boys whose "every country boy needs a gun" fathers allowed them to have firearms for hunting. One shot off half his foot with a shotgun and the other shot a hole through his foot with a pistol. A friend's brother was fooling around with a shotgun and his precious five year old sister lost one leg up to the knee. Just recently there was a gun accident in Pendleton. Every time I drive past Barrett's Place I cringe. Shouldn't this be enough of a reminder of what guns take away from us? You are definitely on the right track.

Vicky said...

You know I agree with you on this. I won't let my boys have toy guns either. I havn't let them get squirt guns or those water cannons shaped like guns. Last year Nolan was making a hand sign like he had a gun and was saying "Pow! Pow!" I freaked. He obviously learned this in daycare. I mentioned it to the director that I didn't like that he learned this. I soon saw and heard with my own eyes that many teachers told any child that did this... "We do not play that here, it is not nice." It took a 2 or 3 weeks, but I havn't seen or heard a child doing that there. Nolan doesn't do it either and I tried to explain to him why it wasn't "nice." I hope it sticks with him.

John feels like we should have a gun in the house and of course he promises that it will not be loaded and locked up safely. I tell him that if we needed a gun for some reason that by the time he unlocked the cabinent and loaded it....it would be useless. I also read that if you have a gun in the home...the chance of someone accidentally hurting themselves is like 80 times more than needing a gun for defense.

Beth said...

What happened at Barrett's Place? and when? Of course it would be the park we always go to!

Jenny said...

Kids used to play like they had a gun (using their hands) when I was little and we thought nothing of it. My dad remembers me telling him about a boy at daycare running around saying "bang bang!" Little wooden guns used to be considered classic toys, and I had a water gun or ten. But that crap isn't going to fly with Suzi! Not these days. I'm sure John would be totally responsible for keeping the boys safe from a gun (he's the Original Family Man) but like you said--what are the chances that, if you did need it, you'd have it ready and aimed in time? Just a ballpark figure, it seems to me that stories of kids killing themselves with parents' handguns outnumber stories of parents saving kids' lives by shooting intruders by about 50:1. And that's being kind, because I can only remember hearing about two such stories, ever.

Jenny said...

Nothing happened at Barrett's Place. It was constructed in memory of a 12-year-old boy who shot himself accidentally. I think that's what happened--it's hard to find info on it. I was going to include that in my post, but couldn't find it. Then they began adding memorials to other children. Have you ever taken the time to read the tiles at the entrance? It'll break your heart.

Kacie said...

I totally agree. Gun accidents that involve children are among the saddest and most preventable thing.

We don't have guns in our home, and probably never will. It's fine with me if other people have them, so long as they actually use them properly and have safety's and gun locks and the sort.

Jules said...

Well-written. Have you read Protecting the Gift by Gavin de Becker? He has much to say about guns. From him I learned that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has four categories of safety regulations for teddy bears but cannot regulate guns. He also mentions that "it is easier to shoot most handguns than to open a bottle of children's vitamins." Guns kill 500 Americans each week and we don't legislatively require a single safety feature.

And our right to "bear arms" has led to more Americans dead at home than dead in wars...

Kelly said...

I've never really thought about this in detail, my dad had guns when we were little, and my friend has rifles at her house. She had 2 children, and they don't seem to mind them being there. They know not to touch them, and that adults can only see them. If I were a mom, I would probably feel totally different about guns in the house.

IA. said...

I say AMEN to that! I couldn't even read the first part of this post because my lil one is sitting with me right now. He started asking about it...anyways, we too didn't and never plan to buy guns for our son. He has been wondering why he couldn't play with it, and when we explained, he accepted our view on it. He avoids it when he goes to his friends' houses, and for that I am thankful. We need a lot of prayers for our children, that even when they're grown they will continue to choose to avoid violence.