Passively Constructed Negligent Discharge of the Day: Fly Like an Eagle Edition

Eddie the Eagle (courtesy NRA)“The only place for a gun is on your person or in a safe.” That’s the rabbi’s sage advice on safe storage. But that’s not nearly enough information to keep your kids safe. What about all the potentially deadly dangers in their world that have nothing to do with guns? Cleaning products, stairs, swimming pools, cars, disease, etc. Parents have to maintain a constant state of vigilance for their young children, generally. But if we are talking about guns, children need to know Eddy the Eagle’s rules about guns – stop, don’t touch, leave the area, tell an adult – from the moment they can understand them. Which is a lot younger than you may think . . .

Certainly by the age of four most kids can grok Eddie’s advice and master the basics of gun safety. Specifically, muzzle control. Don’t point a [real] gun at anyone. So when I read a story like this I’m angry that the parents didn’t secure their firearm. But I’m also angry that they didn’t teach their kids firearms safety. And then I’m angry at the media, who just can’t bring themselves to tell it like it is.

A 4-year-old boy was fatally shot while holding his parents’ gun at his home in Merrillville, Indiana, police said.

Police said the boy found the gun in his parents’ bedroom Saturday morning in the 6400 block of Cleveland Street and brought the gun back to his room.

The gun then went off, striking the boy in the head, Merillville police said.

The boy, identified as Cash Irby Jr., was taken to Broadway Methodist Hospital South where he was pronounced dead, according to the Lake County Coroner’s office.

The gun didn’t go off. The boy shot himself in the head. He placed his finger on the trigger with the gun pointed at his head and pulled the trigger. It’s a horrible thing to have to say, but it’s the truth.

It’s important to recognize this gruesome chain of events because preventing similar tragedies depends on keeping focus on the human factor. When the media writes about “guns going off” it leaves people with the impression that A) the “accident” was somehow inevitable and B) not having a gun is a good way to stop children from shooting themselves or other innocents.

Wrong. What if they find a gun somewhere else? Never underestimate the intelligence of a child when it comes to finding contraband.

Family members said they’re not sure how the boy managed to find the gun as it was stored on a high shelf in a closet.

We live in a world with guns – and poisonous chemicals, fire, car accidents and more. Teaching our children how to recognize danger and avoid it is, was and always will be the best way to keep them safe. That and making sure they know how to resist peer pressure. How many teenage gang-bangers’ guns go off every day? Know what I mean?

comments

  1. avatar Southern Cross says:

    Were your parents ever able to hide anything from you?

    You will me amazed how often children will find things they shouldn’t.

    1. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

      found dad’s porn stash at age 10. he had it under lock and key in basement workshop. found key hidden in laundry room. wow.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        And it was all downhill from there.

      2. avatar Ardent says:

        That’s not really a fair comparison since we all know you could scent the porn in the air, locate it, then back track the scent all the way to the key. It’s ok though, you should embrace your special powers.

    2. avatar TXGal says:

      Yip, Christmas presents for us kids went from store to the trunk of my dad’s car. Mother did not drive and , Kept keys in night stand, slept on that side my dad was a light sleeper, – we didn’t have a chance. He was the oldest of 6 kids, he had seen it all growing up.

      1. avatar JasonM says:

        In 9th grade, my sister and I found our Christmas gifts wrapped in my parents closet. I unwrapped everything carefully with an xacto knife, we peeked inside, then wrapped it all back up perfectly. Then later she ratted us out, and they returned half of it to the stores. It sucked.

        1. avatar Stinkeye says:

          Well, hopefully you learned a valuable lesson from the experience. To wit, don’t trust that snitchin’-ass sister of yours.

  2. avatar Maineuh says:

    Why does everybody report that “the gun went off?” I mean, it seems like even people know don’t know diddly about guns should know that they don’t fire without help. It’s a very ignorant sentence and doesn’t reflect well upon he who writes it.

    1. avatar Jim R says:

      They do it to make guns seem dangerous and unstable, like they’ll just fire at random with no user input. They’ll stop at nothing to make guns look like a bad idea to have hanging around.

    2. avatar Ardent says:

      I agree, and I agree with JimR that these sorts of sentences are often constructed with a purpose in mind. However there is a rule in journalism that one doesn’t assign blame or motivation without evidence. To say someone accidentally shot themselves is to assign blame. As we all know, virtually every AD results after someone or something actuates a trigger, but there are those rare cases in which a malfunctioning gun does fire when the trigger isn’t pressed. While I know there are those cynical journalists who would gleefully impugn guns in any way they could, I think most of the time when we see the passive construct it’s just J school showing through; don’t assign blame or motive unless you have evidence. It’s the same function as when it’s reported that ‘police shot a man who allegedly drew a gun on them’. Alleged? if he didn’t the headline should read ‘police accidentally shoot man’ or ‘man murdered by police’. There is just a way of writing that is unique to journalists, it’s not always about the agenda.

    3. avatar IdahoPete says:

      For the same reason they will tell you “the SUV crashed into the storefront”, or “the SUV ran over a child”. The intent is to demonize the object that they do not like, whether it is a gun, an SUV, or a doughnut. Statist thought control/propaganda.

      You should always assume that whatever you read or see about guns (or anything else) in the “mainstream” media is either a deliberate lie or is just wrong. That way you can be pleasantly surprised if they ever get something right, and have not used the story to “advance the narrative”.

      Warning: do not hold your breath waiting for an accurate news story.

  3. avatar Brentondadams says:

    I feel sick when I read these. Are some people really that stupid?

    A loaded gun on a ‘high shelf’ is not secured.

    I may or may not have loaded unsecured firearms all over the place in here but then I don’t have a 4 year old.

    RIP

    1. avatar Ardent says:

      I’m with you. I hate to hear of these things and the feeling makes me at least understand some of what it is that drives the antis. I have no children and my visitors have no children. There are unsecured weapons all over the place. It would be patently unsafe to have children in this environment and I wouldn’t hesitate to tell a visitor with children that at the door. Either don’t bring them in, or wait with them until I can secure the weapons. It might sound awful, but the reality is that lots of places are unsuitable for children, my house just happens to be one of those places. As to the oft repeated axiom that guns should always be secured I have to say that might be true for you at your place. For me at mine guns belong in all sorts of places. The SAA revolver on my desk belongs there. My EDC guns belong on the catch all with my keys and wallet. My night stand gun belongs on the nightstand, my house rifle belongs in the corner where it’s at and my truck gun belongs in the back of my SUV where it’s stored 24/7 365. For me it’s both unnecessary and impractical to lock all my guns away. I prefer them out in my environment where they can be appreciated and used, not relegated to the safe where they remain mostly unseen.

  4. avatar mk10108 says:

    Truth is the foundation for improvement. And we lock up chemicals so children are not harmed, yet keep weapons unsecured.

  5. avatar Lfshtr says:

    Like I have said before, my wife and I had three children and we taught them fishing and hunting, they learned to respect a gun, there were not curious about them, they shot them, they knew the danger and respected them. Today they all own guns. They are true Constitutionalist, not just 2nd. Amendment, but all the Amendents including the Bill of Rights. All out there, teach your children to respect these dangers and you will be surprised how well they learn.

    1. avatar Ardent says:

      My mother has 11 brothers and sisters and I have 36 first cousins on that side. We grew up in houses in which there were loaded unsecure firearms roughly everywhere. My grandfather believed that you supervise and regulate the child, not the gun. Then again, on his farm there were so many ways to become injured or killed that one simply didn’t turn uninformed or disobedient children loose on it unless one didn’t like said child very much. Somehow we all lived. No one was ever shot and the only serious casualties of this desperately dangerous environment were a few scars from barbed wire fencing and some cut feet from glass while wading in the creek. We didn’t shoot each other, drink poison or fall into the cut off saw. We didn’t joy ride the tractor, hang one another from the single tree, drown in the creek or become mauled in the pig pen.
      None of these things happened to us because our parents paid attention. They paid enough attention that they knew which of their children was ready to be released with the others and which ones had best stay in sight. The world didn’t get more dangerous, parents stopped parenting. We were more mature and safety conscious at 6 than some of the kids now days are at 16. This wasn’t an accident, it was a result of our parents recognizing that the world is dangerous and instructing us appropriately to deal with it.
      I saw other kids on the farm time to time. The children of far flung relatives and such. Some had it, some didn’t. I vividly recall an event in which one young mother argued with a toddler regarding the woodstove and how hot it was. Over and over she warned but didn’t actually do anything. The rest of us children stared in awe, knowing long before the 10th or 20th ineffectual warning we’d have been spanked or stood in a corner. Finally my grandfather rose, took the toddler by the hand and appeared to attempt to place the child’s hand on the stove. Her mother rushed to stop him. He asked her why she would stop him speeding up the inevitable and why she couldn’t have gotten up to spare the child a burn before he intervened. She had no answer. Grandfather wouldn’t have burned the child, he was merely offering a lesson to her mother; if you don’t actually do something about the imminent danger, the child will become injured. Worse, the child will learn that your words mean nothing.
      We were allowed to do just about whatever we pleased so long as it wasn’t terribly dangerous, destructive or annoying to adults. However, when were told not to do something there was no argument and no disobedience because there would be consequences and they would be sure, swift and unpleasant. This is what is needed to raise children properly, and it’s sorely missing of late.

      1. avatar Michael says:

        Very well said!
        I am with you 100%!

  6. avatar Moonshine says:

    “The only place for a gun is on your person or in a safe.” Please forgive me, for I do generally hold Rabbi in high esteem, but…bullshit. I carry at home, but it is not practical to keep the entire arsenal on me at all times. It is convenient to keep a few guns close-at-hand, without keeping them physically on your person.
    The procedure for gun-proofing kids has been well-documented on the web for several years, now. I prefer the method espoused by (website link, please make useable if you don’t like it, Robert) http://www.corneredcat.com.

    1. avatar publius2 says:

      Really good Kathy. I found your site years ago, and am glad to have found it again- practical and useful, and I remember taking the same approach with my kids when little.

      Here is the link to the first lesson I just re-read:
      http://www.corneredcat.com/article/kids-and-guns/the-first-lesson/

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      That website correctly points out that you can never completely gun-proof kids.

      “A handgun that is under the conscious control of a responsible adult may be considered safely secured from the children. If I were unwilling to carry a gun on my hip at home, I would certainly get one or more quick-access safes which are specifically designed to store defense guns, and practice opening those safes until there was literally no way I could ever forget the combinations under stress. If I weren’t willing to do at least that much, I would not have a loaded gun in the house.”

      It’s pretty simple… no responsible parent or person should trust a young child’s life on the hope that they learned something, will act rationally, or won’t suddenly do something dumb for the first time. It’s part of the reason 10 year olds can’t drive.

      1. avatar jon says:

        Everyone here always says “safes, safes, safes, blah, blah, blah,” but the one obvious solution I don’t see mentioned: Gun locks.

        You don’t even need to have a safe. The lock goes through the magazine well and prevents the magazine from being loaded or a round being chambered, or for a revolver you pop out the cylinder and run the lock through the muzzle – it doesn’t get any simpler than that. No safe required.

        1. avatar Cameron B says:

          agreed and considering the cost for a lock is a few bucks (or handed out from the NSSF) every one should own a few. for theft prevention thought a safe is the way to go. A buddy forgot his keys at home before a range trip so we just snipped all the locks with bolt cutters.

        2. avatar LarryinTX says:

          The safe is to keep your guns from being stolen, not to keep your kids from playing with them.

        3. avatar neiowa says:

          As above, BS. Dumber training wheels on bicycles.

          If your child is a moron then go with the “all guns in a safe” or put up for adoption. My kids have learned early and prefer to keep the neighborhood kid morons out of my house, guns or no guns.

        4. avatar 2hotel9 says:

          Oop. There it is.

        5. avatar Ardent says:

          Save some trouble and some wear on your barrel, run the lock through the frame of your revolver(s) with the cylinder out so it can’t close.

    3. avatar Ardent says:

      I’m glad you said it, I touched on it above. ‘Always keep guns secured’ is like a lot of other seemingly sage advice about guns, utter BS. There are so many necessary exceptions to the ‘rules’ about firearms that it would be miraculous to meet a person who has always obeyed them. I suppose advice to ‘think things through and use good judgment’ just doesn’t have the proper dogmatic feel that some people need.

      1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

        “proper dogmatic feel” Is that, like, when a dog sneaks up and puts it’s head right under your hand?

  7. avatar Bob says:

    On a high shelf in the closet is NOT secured. Things fall off of shelves, especially when kids are rough-housing in the house.
    The kid probably ran into the wall or the door of the closet while he was playing, knocking the gun off the high shelf. Now the gun is on the floor inside the closet or just in front of the closet. He may have heard it fall, and went to look see what that noise was. With no gun safety training, the chances are VERY high that he would pick it up and experiment with it.

    I will say it again. On a high shelf is NOT secured.

  8. Sick to my stomach after reading this.

  9. avatar Brentondadams says:

    When I think back on it, my dad had unsecured guns around when I was a kid. I guess he figured he would gun proof me and my sister instead.

    It seemed to work. I remember shooting the .22 at a very early age. I also remember him explaining the danger that a firearm can pose if handled irresponsibly.

    I remember it well. I got the same talk for cars , power tools and women.

    Good job dad

  10. avatar Gunr says:

    If handguns need to be “at the ready” then I think they should be kept in a portable safe that opens with coded finger touch. I just wonder though how many combinations are possible, and if your youngster will sit down with the safe and go though all of the possible combinations when you are away for a while.

    A “keyed” safe has the problem of, where do you keep the key? The only thing I see that would be safe is: around your neck, all the time.

  11. avatar Tominator says:

    My guns are ‘on my person’ or locked up. Always have been.

    Respect.

    My father always had his ‘870’ in the closet. As a young child I shot it. That hurt and it was LOUD!

    Again, RESPECT!

    Knowledge is power…..young or old.

  12. avatar O2HeN2 says:

    “He placed his finger on the trigger with the gun pointed at his head and pulled the trigger.”

    Actually probably not. Just so others might understand how small children fire guns and how they shoot themselves in the process, I offer the following [scary] ergonomic analysis of guns and tiny hands.

    A 4 year old’s hands normally are not small enough to wrap around the backstrap and reach the trigger, much less having the arm length to point the gun at any part of their body except maybe the lower legs and feet. Though there are many ways they can accomplish pulling the trigger, tragically the most ergonomic way tiny hands can generate the leverage and strength to pull most double action/Glock-type triggers is to wrap their fingers around the backstrap and put both of their thumbs through the trigger guard and squeeze. Obviously this grip points the gun right at them. Which is how a significant number manage to shoot themselves.

    This is most probably what happened in this case.

    O2

    1. avatar Cameron B says:

      I consider the thumb a finger for that statement. for all we know it could have been a toe.

      1. avatar Jeff says:

        the thumb isn’t a finger, the bible says so.

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Oh, well, then.

    2. avatar 2hotel9 says:

      So, your point is the child pulled the trigger. Which digit did it is irrelevant.

    3. avatar Ardent says:

      Unfortunately you’re entirely correct. There was a study regarding why so many accidental self inflicted GSWs to small children are to the head. The result was exactly what you describe. In order to actuate the trigger the thumbs are often employed, which has the effect of lining the muzzle up with the head. It’s a horrifying thought, but evidence bears it out.

  13. avatar former water walker says:

    This tragedy was actually in a fairly crappy area of Merillville more akin to Gary, Indiana. The local media interviewed a representative of Blythes gun shop (MY favorite shop). To me they implied that they bore some kind of responsibility for these idiot parents. Lock your guns up so your 4 year old doesn’t kill himself. Nuff said.

  14. avatar Mediocrates says:

    This is sad, but truly nature is self correcting.

  15. avatar Mark N. says:

    Same thing happened in California. CHP officer puts his duty weapon (Glock) on a high shelf when he got home from work, figuring his twins wouldn’t be able to reach it. They knew it was there–they used boxes to climb up. One is dead. Or the cop who left his Glock in the back seat of his family car where his three year old got it, pulled the trigger and put his dad in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Or the old retiree (an FFL to boot) whose family showed up early for a visit; he left his Glock on the floor by his chair when he got up to answer the door, and forgot about it. His grandson found it and put a bullet through his brain (although the child survived, his injuries were catastrophic). We have seen lots and lots of IGOTD awards on this site–but sometimes the simplest of precautions is not enough.

    1. avatar Jeff says:

      IGOTD, maybe, but frankly it also seems to be a shared trait with their children.

  16. avatar doesky2 says:

    I’ll go with the idea that the kid learned to point the gun to his head like he saw on the Everytown video.

    Where is the outrage!

  17. avatar Jordan S Zoot says:

    Well….maybe someone can tell me why the Chicago Public School system refuses to conduct the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program or any similar program in the schools of Chiraq.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Don’t be silly! It’s because guns!

  18. avatar Dan says:

    Any honest parent will tell you that the ONLY way to keep a determined child away from something is to lock it up in a VERY secure location. In a drawer or filing cabinet with a cheap lock isn’t good enough. Kids are smart and persistent. If there is a way to defeat a lock or storage method they WILL find it…and the end result is tragedy more often than not. That is why EVERY home that has children…even if they are just visiting….must have all firearms secured at ALL times. Because as has been pointed out…
    guns do not just “go off”…..they have to be fired and even a 2 year old has the strength to pull a trigger.

    1. avatar Ardent says:

      If a child will persist to the point of defeating a real honest to god locked filing cabinet to gain access to something you have simultaneously an under supervised and poorly disciplined child. Locks are for honest people, the surest way to ensure a child doesn’t shoot themselves is to regulate the child so that they don’t go about lock picking to get at them. If the system you propose were in anyway a good plan garages would look like fortresses, tool sheds like prisons and cars would require the implementation of complex mathematics before they could be started or taken out of gear. You can’t lock up every dangerous thing, it’s just not possible. You have to teach children not to engage in dangerous activities and failing that, lock up the child.

  19. avatar JoshuaS says:

    As soon as a kid is crawling, he can get into things. By the time I was 4 or 5 I knew how to go get the step ladder and get anything from board games (kept in a shelf above the linens) to my dad’s Everclear….we didn’t drink it at that age…but we set some quick fires and cracked a few ashtrays…at 6 or 7 we had gotten into fireworks, power tools, you name it. Childproof devices cease to work once you get any dexterity at all.

    Funny thing though. My dad owned a gun (still owns it). We never touched it Or even found it.And I only remember seeing it once before my adult years. I have been through every nook and cranny of my parents’ house growing up. Even picked some locks. Funny, never had any reason to go find his gun and play with it…maybe it was because my dad told us ever since we were young that you only point at what you want to shoot, and you only shoot someone who you are willing to kill. Besides, we shot guns (not my dad’s) out in the desert at a young age and in Boy Scouts later on…we found much more fun ways to endanger ourselves… but seriously, some basic common sense. Even at the age of 4 or 5 I was never going to drink something from under the sink. I knew some basic fire and tool safety. Heck my dad taught me to operate a forklift at the age of 9. Kids need some risk taking in addition to teaching and some discipline. Sometimes I think such accidents happen more easily with molly-coddled kids, who are sheltered not only from seeing/using such, but from even mentioning such things, even in the context o safety.

  20. avatar Hannibal says:

    This sort of story makes the holes in walls ones look a lot more happy.

    1. avatar jon says:

      I shouldn’t need to say this, but: Unsafe and negligent weapon handling is never something to be happy about, even if no one gets injured, or “less injured” than they potentially could be.

  21. avatar Pete S. says:

    I have to agree 100% with the Rabbi, my guns are either under my or my wife’s direct control or in a safe. My kids are fully gun safety trained, but they are in and out of the house with their friends and I guarantee you most of their friends have not seen a gun outside of a movie or TV show. I live in a large urban area near a university and I know most of their parents (professors) do not own guns. Leaving a gun lying around is the height of irresponsibility and gives anti-gun people ammunition to assail our rights. My dad 35 years as a LEO, left his duty weapon on a high shelf too and I knew exactly where it was and touched it a few times w/o him around. The only secure place is on my person or the safe.

  22. avatar 2hotel9 says:

    We have a loaded firearm in 5 of the 9 rooms in our house, and always have. I have a firearm on my person at all times, always have(exception being in Army where troops are NOT allowed weapons in their possession at all times). Boy was taught weapons safety from the earliest point in his life, not just guns, blades too, by 10 he could, and did, teach other people firearms safety and handling. He has NEVER treated a firearm as a toy, and even handled his toy guns in a safe manner.

    Point being, if you are incapable of teaching, or have a child incapable of being taught, firearms safety then you got FAR BIGGER problems than firearms in your house.

  23. avatar 2hotel9 says:

    And lets us address language here for a moment. Does anyone really consider a weapon in a closet to be “lying” around? Are the cleaning chemicals under the kitchen sink considered to be “lying” around? The oil and transmission fluid and paint in the garage and shed are just “lying” around?

    This idea that every single thing on the planet must be under lock and key at all times is a great deal of the overall problems we are having as a society. Teaching people from infancy that they are stupid and incompetent creates stupid, incompetent people.

    I feel bad for this kid, because he had stupid, incompetent parents. Exactly how did they become stupid and incompetent people? They were taught to be that way from birth, thats how.

    1. avatar Ardent says:

      +1 You can’t protect children from themselves so you have to teach them how to protect themselves from the world.

      1. avatar 2hotel9 says:

        Sadly, that is a task far too many people simply ignore. And the results are on the news every day.

  24. avatar Marcus says:

    My dad was a Detroit cop. I had loaded guns around me all my life. When I was about four he told me any time I want to handle one ask him. He made a demonstration of unloaded it and handed it to me. After a while they were about as interesting as mom’s toaster. Believe it or not no one ever got shot.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      That is me all over. First time there was a gun in the house, it was mine, when I was 12. I had to teach myself, neither parent knew squat. All worked out, I did love to play with that rifle, but I was never interested in shooting myself, or being unsafe. Only bad habit I developed through the years was finger in the trigger guard, still have to fight it sometimes.

      And my kids have far less interest than I did, having been shooting pistols since they were 4.

  25. avatar Mina says:

    Excellent observations and very, very true.

    Problem is the truth doesn’t help them forward their agenda and so it is ignored. Like most other truth that also doesn’t help their agenda.

    The Left are insidious and devious. As they always have been, as they always will be.

  26. avatar Parnell says:

    At the age of eight, each of us was handed Dad’s S&W Chief’s Special (unloaded) and taken on a detailed journey regarding the fact that it was not a “toy”. By the time this journey was over, we realized the power of firearms and respected why Dad kept it in a wooden case on the top shelf of the closet. It wasn’t until I was eighteen that I realized that the box was empty and the gun resided in the night stand next to my parents’ bed all those years. That discovery came when Dad told me to get it out the the closet. Boy, did I feel like a fool! To paraphrase Mark Twain, I was amazed at what the old man had learned in ten years.

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