Placer County Sheriff’s Deputy Ken Skogen’s three-year-old daughter is dead after accidentally shooting herself with her father’s gun. Investigators declined to provide specifics, save the fact that the gun involved was not Skogen’s service weapon. The predictable yet powerful reaction to the preventable tragedy: shock, horror, grief and Monday morning quarterbacking from both sides of the gun control debate. On one hand, the union. The president of the Placer County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association was quick to draw a line under the event. “No words can explain what has happened beyond saying that it was a tragic accident,” Josh Tindall told the Sacramento Bee. “The anguish that the family, their friends, and co-workers are experiencing cannot be expressed and we ask you all for your support and understanding.” As the paper points out, this is the third incident involving an accidental child firearm fatality in a cop’s abode in the last two years.

Such tragedies appear rare. In Northern California, it’s happened twice in recent years: The 4-year-old son of a Redding police officer died in 2008 after accidentally shooting himself in the head. Earlier the same year, a Sutter County sheriff’s deputy lost his 3-year-old after the boy grabbed his loaded gun and shot himself.

What’s it gonna take for police—trained law enforcement officers no less—to follow basic firearm safety rules? Maybe the cops should screen their hiring and training procedures to weed out the more lackadaisical amongst them. Meanwhile, the gun control advocates are out in force, warning that the safest way to store a gun in a house with children is not to have one. A gun, I mean.

“If we rely on the behavior of parents to make the home risk-free, we’re going to fail,” Dr. Garen Wintemute, emergency medicine physician and director of Davis’ Violence Prevention Research Program, told the Bee. “Nobody is perfect.”

I got to work it. Again and again until I get it right. Or not.

“The best precaution,” the doctor said, “is to keep guns out of homes with young children. Gun locks and safes are the next best options.”

“Having a gun loaded and just hidden away, and assuming the kids won’t find it,” Wintemute said. “The kids always find it.”

That’s sensible, right? Responsible. And then the common ground disappears beneath his feet.

He also cautioned against relying on training children about the dangers of guns and expecting they won’t touch any they come across.

Studies have shown such training to be ineffective, Wintemute said.

“Even when (children are at the age) they can tell you reliably that they shouldn’t be messing with guns, they still do because children are explorers,” he said. “It’s how they learn to master the world.”

Or end it. Either wear it or lock it up. Better gun safe than sorry. But, at the same time, NOT teaching young children what a gun is and does, making them understand the exact dangers, is also the height of irresponsibility. Gun safety starts between the ears.



8 Responses to Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Placer County Sheriff’s Deputy Ken Skogen

  1. Knowing Ken this is so hard for me to read, the title especially. It’s true. We must be responsible with our guns. Ken is such an awesome guy and a hero in many other ways. I know he and his wife are in their own personal hell right now, kicking themselves and punishing themselves. They loved their daughter very much. I know you don’t know them, but if you did I don’t think you would have posted that title.

    • I would have to agree with you Roberta – these assholes don't know Bobi and Ken like you and I do. They will live in a life of hell and anguish and don't need websites dedicated to add insult to injury… I know that if you don't know them they tend to create their own ideas and opinions – but not have the ability to create websites stating those and pushing them into the world and making it worse for them to recover and grief. I wish I knew the owner of this website to give him or her MY OPINION….

  2. News10.net:

    "This person, the adult in the residence, had definitely taken steps to keep this firearm away from children," said Roseville police Sgt. Darrin DeFreece. "So now what we're looking into is what happened to those safeguards that he had already put into place."

    It wasn't long ago that Skogen was called a hero by Gov. Schwarzenegger. Skogen rescued an elderly woman from her burning house during the 49 Fire in Auburn last August.

  3. Shannon, I am the owner of this website. I hear you. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    This website is not dedicated to adding insult to injury. We are dedicated to telling the truth about guns, and those who own and use them.

    I am not a judge, nor a jury. And I am not made of stone. But owning a gun is an ENORMOUS responsibility. If the death of this child can serve any purpose—and I'm not saying it can—it should be as a warning to other gun owners to safely store and operate their weapons AND educate their children as to those dangers. That's the point of this series in general, and this post in particular.

  4. Robert – while I respect your reply – I still disagree with the headline. Have you REALLY done your research, because while I don't live in the states I have read articles that stated that CLEARLY gun safety was taken seriously and that they WERE RESPONSIBLE – it literally was a fluke accident. I don't know all the details NOR DO YOU – but to assume he was irresponsible for his actions is just irresponsible on YOUR PART…. Leave this family be and remove this website and let them grief and not become guinea pigs of the situation.

    Your probably gonna be even more pissed off when I tell you that he will not be facing charges – I know you thinks he's "getting off" – but NOT REALLY – he will live the rest of his life in pure anguish – that is a life sentence. Also, do you really think it's fair that they have not be able to return to their house because of DEATH THREATS – that's bullshit…

  5. Shannon. Thanks for the comment. I've published an update on the tragedy today. Meanwhile, I've heard nothing about death threats. And I certainly didn't cause or condone them. This was an accident. A deeply regrettable accident. Kalli's death should serve as a reminder for all gun owners of the terrible consequences of not storing firearms safely.

  6. I wonder if the people reading these comments truly know the pain and suffering that Ken and his family are experiencing right now? I wonder if they know that all guns are loaded regardless of what the manufacturer labels state. I wonder if they know that in the line of work that Ken is involved in that weapon maintenance is mandatory because failure to fire can cost someone their life. I wonder if they know that there is something called forgiveness and that after the Lord forgives and the community forgives that the biggest hurdle is forgiving ourselves. No one can judge him because you were not in his boots during the incident and cannot say what you would or would not have done. This is a tragedy and the only thing that matters now is the fact that Kalli is and always will be with the Lord. May we all keep in prayer the Skogen family. BTW statistics prove loaded guns save more lives than empty ones. In this case it is just unfortunate that this transpired but what we have learned here is that maintenance is better to take place during hours of sleep where there is less likely to have anyone handling and arm but the intended handler.

  7. Well Otto, responsibility is a key issue in point here, but I would not call anyone irresponsible for using their garage instead of their living space for a multipurpose room used for weapon maintenance. Secondly there was a safe in that garage. Third I am not in receipt of any evidence that provides anyone handing a small child a weapon or leaving a weapon alone with a child with no adult present. What happened here is unfortunate and No D.A. can lawfully bring a case like this upon anybody whether Law Enforcement or Not. No double standard from what I see just a combination of events that would have turned out different if time played a different part. BTW this precious small child is at peace with her Creator, where there is no more pain and suffering, and no need for weapons and where the real " good guys & girls" end up.

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