“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?