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By Michael in Georgia

People of the Gun loath the term “gun violence”. For good reason. What about “gun safety”? If there is only violence rather than gun violence, why isn’t there safety rather than gun safety? I understand the four rules of safe gun handling but that is when you are manipulating the firearm. What about the majority of the hours in the day when you are not touching or carrying your firearms? Is it gun safety to lock them all in a safe? Conversely, is it reckless to leave your guns where you normally do if that place is where an unsupervised child can get them? Is that “gun danger” or is that simply danger? Is it unsafe gun ownership or is it child neglect, bad parenting? . . .

The last time I argued with my brother over his liberal ideology was Thanksgiving Day 2008. Aren’t family gatherings just the best?During casual conversation, he revealed to my father and I that he voted for Obama. My dad and I laid into him. He said the reason he supported Obama was that “Sarah Palin wasn’t qualified to be Vice President.” Insert your own counter argument here. That isn’t the point of this story.

Fast forward to May 24, 2015, Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. I’m hosting a family cookout. On the guest list are my mother-in-law, mother and father, son and two of his friends, my sister, her husband and their two grown children. Lastly — and they showed up last — was my liberal brother, his wife and Hell’s own spawn, AKA my brother’s kids, 6 and 8 years old. I love those boys, don’t get me wrong, but I totally get what Billy Bob was talking about in “Tombstone.”

When they finally showed up they unleash the Hell hounds upon my property. The boys run straight for the pool where they commence to terrorizing my sister and niece who are trying to relax and digest the holiday’s grilled cuisine. I peer down from my deck to see Thing 1 and Thing 2 smashing my croquet course to bits with the mallets.

I yell “Buford! Stop doing that!” They drop the “hammers” and run out of view. My Mother asks, “Did you put your gun up?” I assumed she meant the air gun that I let the boys shoot when they were here on Mother’s Day, because she said she heard a pop. That was the sound of them hammering everything in sight with the croquet set, but to be sure I went downstairs to put away the air pistol.

I normally home carry but in the hectic fury of house cleaning and taking the helm at the grill, I never took my gun off the night stand. I went back upstairs and pushed open my bedroom door. I was terrified to see nothing on the night stand but the alarm clock. Next to it was my rifle. I looked in the closet and found my pistol where my wife had “safely” put it away.

I followed suit and hid my rifle in the closet. I shut the closet door behind me, shut the bathroom door, then finally the bedroom door as I emerged. Back at the gathering my brother asked in his typical snarky manner, “Do you just leave your guns lying around?” Not to be outdone by sarcasm, I reply “Yes, I hang them in the trees like Christmas ornaments.” At this point, my brother has no idea where his children are or what they are doing.

It’s late afternoon and the sunlight is below the treeline casting a shadow completely over the pool. I finally get a chance to join my wife for a swim. The weather lately has been unseasonably cool for Atlanta. The high two days before was 79. I’ve seen 79 degree days in January. I decide to build a fire poolside. The fire pit has leftover char wood. I douse the coal with lighter fluid and stack firewood on top before lighting it. The dry weather has the wood well-seasoned and the fire is glorious and toasty.


The grandparents have gone home. My son and his friends complained that the water was too cold and have retreated to the video game room. Soon after, my sister says goodbye leaving me with my brother, sister-in-law and nephews. The little one is in the pool with my wife. The eight-year-old and true hellion of the pair is trying in so many ways to destroy the Earth with this fire.

He comes out with one of my golf clubs and sticks it in the fire. I grab it away from him and put it away. When I come back out, he has the bottle of lighter fluid, a golf ball and a lighter he found in a storage box near the pool that we use to light citronella candles. My brother just sits on his ass the whole time whining at his little darling. “Bufooooord, don’t dooooooo thaaaaat.”

Buford wants to set the golf ball on fire and then hit it through the air. I appreciate the “adventurous nature” in this kid. I was a kid once and still have a youthful spirit but I also have at least a little discipline in my character thanks to several ass whoopins from my father.

I tell Buford not to play with fire (possibly the first time anyone has told him that) and I put the lighter fluid back on the shelf under my smoker/grill. I don’t remember what I was doing next, and frankly, it doesn’t matter, but I do know that my brother was still sitting on his ass facing the fire and my house and my grill. That’s when I heard Glenn whining again. “No, Bufoooooord. Don’t dooooo thaaaaaaaat”.

I turn around just in time to see that little shit throw a Solo cup full of lighter fluid on the open flame. At this point, wouldn’t you expect a father of an eight-year-old to get up and administer some sort of…anything? I realized that I was holding a switch in my hand and within three steps and 0.36 seconds, I could be on that kids ass and give him a well deserved lesson in…anything. But within 0.27 seconds I remembered that Buford was not my responsibility.

I took the cup from the little angel and disposed of it. While inside I determined that my guests had worn out their welcome. I turned off the music that was broadcasting outside (clue 1). I pulled the garden hose down to the pool and extinguished the fire (clue 2).

I’m pissed off, but not at my nephew. I am pissed off at my brother’s total lack of concern for what his kid just did and what he does at everyone’s house for that matter. You don’t have to spank a child, but at least put then in time out or at the very least, TAKE THEM HOME! So I decide that I need to cool down before I say or do something that I regret later.

I decide to take a shower and change out of my bathing suit. Maybe by then they will have left. Then I have another thought: I need to say something to my brother. The six-year-old and my wife were below the fire in the pool in direct line of fire when Buford tossed the fuel. This was a serious act that required attention and none was given.

I skip the shower, wash my hands and change clothes. When I go back outside, I find my brother still sitting on his ass where he has been for the last hour. His wife has the kids inside. I walk down the stairs and ask my brother seemingly in jest, but actually in all seriousness, “Glenn, when you bring your kids over, am I responsible for looking after them?” (clue 3). He looks at me with a shit-eating grin and says “Yep.”

Since he has no ability to take a hint (or three) I say, “Then take your kids and get the fuck out of here.” I don’t want to rehash the altercation that ensued. It was all of the verbal variety, so no harm, no foul. I will say that politics was mentioned. I think it was because I said that if Buford had set himself on fire, I would be expecting a law suit knowing how liberals operate.

Where does the responsibility lie in keeping kids safe around guns? Why guns? What about swimming pools? Fires? Spray paint? Ladders? Lighter fluid? Kitchen knives? Pesticide? Automobiles? Why does the responsibility lie with the owner of these “dangers” and not with the parents of the kids? How are we to child-proof the world? Why do gun owners have to lock up guns just so kids can be “safe”? In all honesty, would you prefer a child to drown than shoot himself? Would you prefer third degree burns over a gunshot wound?

Discipline is safety. Safety is discipline. A gun owner who leaves his pistol behind a closed door is not negligent. A father who refuses to discipline his children is negligent. And if you won’t discipline them, then you must keep them in sight and intervene every single time they misbehave. Irresponsible parents are worse than irresponsible gun owners. Because, it isn’t about the guns.

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      • The bastard’s father first!

        When he asked why I had nearly beaten him to death, then I would tell him that his son nearly burned down my house and he didn’t do anything to stop it. “Try suing me, you %#&@! @$%^&*, and we’ll see who loses not only the lawsuit, but custody of his children too. Now get the hell off my property. NOW!”

        Sorry, but this story makes me angry.

        • This story makes me pretty angry too, because it’s scary how similar it is to how my sister is raising her boys… Except she has 4 of them.

  1. You have far more patience than I would. I would have had the little Hellion’s butt in a lawn chair much earlier, and if his couldn’t-care-less father complained, he would have been welcome to take the little thug-in-waiting home.

  2. Michael should have know anybody who would name their kid “Buford” has only got one oar in the water!

  3. I don’t want to rehash the altercation that ensued.

    !!?! Man! – I was waiting for the climax of this story and you dissolved it. I’m going to patiently wait until you click reply to this comment and fill us in with the rest.

    • Basically I blamed his lazy parenting on his liberal ideology and brought up the point about him most likely wanting to sue me if his kid burned himself. Then he questioned why politics were germane to the situation. To which I replied Its an ideology that shrugs responsibility. Then he disowns me. Then I remind him that I am only looking out for his children, something he should start doing. Of course there was a bunch of cursing and yelling and it wasn’t pretty. Thankfully he was two stories above me on my deck and I was still down at the pool. I was against whipping his kids ass but would have no problem whipping his. He got up to leave immediately after I ordered him to, so at least he has that much sense.
      Believe it or not, neither one of us was drunk. .

      • ‘You don’t have to spank a child…’

        You have to do whatever is required for your children to behave. Unfortunately, some kids only respond to the threat of violence (note, if corporal punishment is effective you only have to administer it a couple of times. It is the threat of that as the punishment which modifies their behavior).

        Obviously, your brother hasn’t been bothered to try any type of discipline with his kid. That kid will eventually learn some life lessons the hard way.

  4. You and your brother are idiots. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO LOCK UP YOUR GUNS WHEN YOU HAVE CHILDREN AS GUESTS. “Hiding a rifle in the closet” doesn’t count. You’re lucky there wasn’t a negligent discharge and accidental death or injury.

    Sure it’s your brother’s responsibility to watch his kids. That being said (you probably aren’t a parent) it is NOT POSSIBLE to have an eye (literally) on your children 24/7 nor is it appropriate.

    You really need to think some things out and reflect on how bad things could be if you were responsible for a relative’s death in your home.

    Your brother is an idiot because he (if your representation is accurate) doesn’t appropriately reprimand his children and because he comes up with stupid reasons to vote for democrats. Sarah Palin is the least of the reasons why Obama was the least crappy option back in the day.

    And I could give a crap about becoming one of you single issue voters and only vote based on who might not threaten my hobby. I enjoy shooting and collecting firearms but aligning myself with anti-science, fundamentalist, corporate welfare loving bigots is not ever going to happen.

    • Good post. I am not a parent but I have always thought that keeping kids safe was everyone’s responsibility (especially the homeowner since the guest doesn’t necessarily know what kind of potentially dangerous issues are present). No excuse for bad parenting though….

      Also, it is very difficult for me to get behind the idea that firearms safety is anyone OTHER than the owner’s responsibility (especially in this context).

      • In my house I will stow my guns however I please. Now in public or at your home, my gun is 100% my responsibility. When you bring your kids to my house, you need to make sure they don’t mess with anything that doesn’t belong to them and you need to not let them roam the premises.

        • Gotta agree with humanist:

          You and your brother are idiots. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO LOCK UP YOUR GUNS WHEN YOU HAVE CHILDREN AS GUESTS. “Hiding a rifle in the closet” doesn’t count. You’re lucky there wasn’t a negligent discharge and accidental death or injury.

          Not taking reasonable childproofing measures when you are expecting children over is grossly irresponsible.

        • No, your guns need to be locked up or otherwise solidly out of reach of kids who might not know any better (which your brother’s kids obviously don’t)

          Everyone else is right–in the circumstances you described, you’d be to blame if one of the hellions found one of your guns and shot himself or someone else with it.

        • So by your logic, the fire incident was my fault too.

          Beat me to it. When visitors are over – apparently everything is your fault and these people calling you an idiot are embracing your brother’s mentality that once they arrive at your house – they are your responsibility.

        • His responsibility is to act like he realizes that these bad kids are in fact bad kids. It matters. I’d leave my 8-year-old alone in a room with a loaded pistol without worry, but I know my 5-year-old would pick it up and point it at someone. So I make sure he’s not around any unsecured dangerous items.

          Yeah, I’d have put the lighter fluid on a high shelf, too. And as I said in another comment, I’d immediately eject anyone who sat there and did nothing while their kids deliberately did something dangerous right in front of their faces.

          His attitude is the same as his brother’s–he can do what he wants, and any problems are someone else’s fault.

        • His attitude is the same as his brother’s–he can do what he wants, and any problems are someone else’s fault.

          I wouldn’t say that. As the article indicates, he has a son too. Obviously he trusts his own son not to cause immolation of oneself or others (or shoot people) and also I’m sure he acknowledges that his son is his responsibility no matter whose house they are at. Looks to me he wants responsibility placed where due.

          If I were him I’d tell the brother that he can’t come over at the present for the following reasons:

          1) His kids are ignorant of common dangers due to a lack of parental guidance and responsibility.
          2) His kids are undisciplined monsters who lack behavioral decency also due to a lack of parental guidance.
          3) I’m not a baby sitter. Hosting a party with many people present – don’t have the time or patience for his little monsters.

          I’d inform him when the above are corrected- him and his family are welcome to join the party.

        • No, the gun thing is your fault. I teas a good article – don’t get me wrong – but when kids are coming over my guns are always locked up – first thing.

          It’s not just safety – guns are valuable. If you wouldn’t leave $800 lying on a nightstand in plain view, why would you leave an $800 Beretta lying in full view.

          My kids have been around guns since they were born, but I still lock them up, even though I trust them not to touch them.

          The Egyptians have a saying “Trust in Allah, but tie your camel.”

    • “Anti-science, fundamentalist, corporate welfare loving bigots”…so are you saying you do or don’t vote for Democrats ? Without further elaboration on your part, I’m going to have to take that as a no vote for the Democrats.

    • You and your brother are idiots. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO LOCK UP YOUR GUNS WHEN YOU HAVE CHILDREN AS GUESTS. “Hiding a rifle in the closet” doesn’t count. You’re lucky there wasn’t a negligent discharge and accidental death or injury.

      I guess he should have put the lighter fluid in the safe too – and the matches and the lighter and the golf clubs and the crochet hammers. I’m sure there are a million other items I’m missing on this list. Hopefully it can all fit in the safe so next time when kids come over their parents don’t have to teach them anything at all – Because safety and ignorance is more important than knowledge and the application thereof.

      • It would be easier to just put Buford in the safe. Perhaps it’s hermetically sealed.

        Once the brother said ” you are [responsible],” Michael should have spanked the kid. Not hard, but to make a valuable point to both the brat and his irresponsible father.

        • Yep. If I’m responsible for the kid, then I’m going to control him as I see fit. What he needs is a very good spanking – the kind he won’t forget about soon.

    • I don’t lock up my guns for anybody.
      I’m not lucky there wasn’t a negligent discharge. I am lucky the kid didn’t catch someone on fire.
      I raised two boys already, I’m not raising my brother’s. My avatar is my youngest one who is on the deans list at an engineering school.
      It is absolutely possible to keep an eye on your kids the whole time they are at a house party. They had two parents here to do it. Now those times when you can’t be with them, that is where discipline comes in. You parent them right and you don’t have to worry about them as much when they are not with you.
      I did think about how bad it would be if a relative was harmed at my home. That is why I told him to get the fuck out.
      The rest of your post was so ridiculous that responding to it would give credence to its content.

  5. I remember growing up and my dad didn’t keep his shotguns in a safe. He had a few rifles in a safe, and all of us kids knew where the shotgun was, but never touched it. The very idea of ‘playing’ with a gun tended to remind of what a belt could do to a behind.

    When I was 11 and my brother 14 we had out own gun cabinet with our collection of airguns and gasp a couple 22 rifles and some shotguns. We never played with guns, but we shot the hell out’ve them, safely of course.

  6. Michael –
    “Where does the responsibility lie in keeping kids safe around guns? …. What about swimming pools?”

    There are laws making you responsible for anything that goes wrong regarding the presence of a pool. The legal theory is “attractive nuisance”. In some jurisdictions you can be convicted and jailed for injury suffered by someone trying to tear-off a locked security cover lying over a pool. A cover designed to keep people from injuring themselves in the pool !!

    One good way to answer the question of “who is responsible”, just ask your home/auto insurance company. The magic question is whether or not the insurance company will try to recover from you any expenses incurred after a claim.

    • Again, attractive nuisance does not apply when the kids guardians are present.
      And I am not going to rely on the law or insurance policies based solely on profit margins to keep kids under my care safe.
      Is your medicine cabinet locked up? How about that mercury filled thermometer? To keep kids safe, we need to discipline them and reinforce boundaries. Locking the gate on a pool or locking the gun in a safe is not going to replace parenting nor make kids safer.

      • It might be considered lax to put your guns in the closet, but at least everyone KNOWS they are there. It’s not some mysterious murder object waiting to blow a kids head off. In any case your overall point is inescapable. Of you insulate a child from responsibility then you get unrulable kids. What else can you expect? You can’t protect them from everything, you have to do the best you can to teach them some sense and responsibility.

        • Great point, PeterK. My job as a parent is to teach my kids how to deal with danger and hazards (life) responsibly. Even at a young age. I believe the idea we have to keep kids from anything remotely dangerous is more detrimental to them than the actual danger.

  7. Take it from an old guy that raised 2 girls and now have grandchildren from 9-13 visiting me. Both you and your brother need lessons in kids. Your brother needs to control and discipline his kids and you need to learn how to prepare for kids. If you know kids are coming, you need to childproof your house by moving all dangerous temptations from their reach. Your guns should ALWAYS be locked up unless they are on or with you (whether there are kids around or not). Both kids and adults will “play” with guns they run across. My 5 long guns are always locked in my gun cabinet and my 5 handguns are either locked in my main safe or the little safe next to my bed.

    You should be aware that you may be held legally responsible for death or injury caused by a gun you left out if the court deems it to be an “attractive nuisance”.

    • Attractive nuisance applies to unaccompanied children such as trespassing kids on your property. If the parents are with the kids then they are responsible. If I was caring for the kids then I would be 100% responsible for them and I guarantee I would watch them better than my brother does.

    • I was raised in a household that was not “kid-proofed”. Instead, my parents “house-proofed” us kids. We were taught not to touch things that didn’t belong to us. I raise my children the same way.

      That said, I choose not to assume that other parents raise their children properly. Children are not allowed in the master bedroom, and the only loaded firearm in the house is on my person.

      That said, I don’t presume to tell any other person how to manage their household. Personal responsibility FTW.

      • “I was raised in a household that was not “kid-proofed”. Instead, my parents “house-proofed” us kids. We were taught not to touch things that didn’t belong to us. I raise my children the same way.”


        We refused to use those STUPID cabinet locks and suchlike in our house. Instead, we taught our children from ‘age of mobility and curiosity’ onward not to monkey with crap you are not supposed to monkey with..including the outlets, kitchen knives and stuff in the cabinets.

        Surprise, surprise…they learned it. Quite easily, I might add.

        It is truly amazing what they, our children, can accomplish when we parents don’t try to steal their lives from them.

      • I grew up the same way. My parents told me if it is not mine I do not get to touch it. If a door is closed in someones house, then I am not to open the door and go into that room. I never did because my parents taught me to respect other peoples houses and property. Did we do some dumb stuff as kids still? You bet! But we were stopped before we did any really dangerous things.

        I see a lot of people today who do not teach their children these things and they are out of control little brats.

        • Yep. I only had to touch the hot iron once to figure out what “don’t touch” meant.

    • You can not ‘child-proof’ a house. The best you can do is slow them down, which is why kids need to have discipline so they know where the line is as a guest in someone else’s home. And have adult supervision, particularly those kids who have demonstrated a willingness to break or skirt the rules, or lack the maturity to contain their curiosity.

  8. Bravo! I have one neighbor whose kids are guaranteed to be bad at parties, but they never did anything dangerous. I’d have immediately ejected your brother and his family too.

  9. You do know that when I was a kid that Grandparents and Great Uncles had loaded guns about the house and I was informed of them. I was shown the guns and told to leave them alone. If I wanted to shoot one, that would be granted, but with adult supervision. The generation born in the 19th century did not tolerate the stupidity and lack of responsibility of today’s liberal politically correct generation. It would have been interesting if Michael’s outlaws had shown up at my Grandparent’s farm and acted as they did in the article.

  10. My wife’s friends come over once in a while, with their 2 toddlers. She’s usually stays in the kitchen yakking with my wife. I have to constantly remind her to watch her “crum snatchers” I don’t have guns laying around, but their after anything they can pick up, and, or put in their mouth. The glass cookie jar is especially attractive.
    Maybe if I just gave them enough cookies to give them a mild tummy ache, they’d lay down and go to sleep.
    No, I didn’t really think so either!

    • “Maybe if I just gave them enough cookies to give them a mild tummy ache, they’d lay down and go to sleep.
      No, I didn’t really think so either!”

      That’s what NyQuill (That stuff is like 40 proof) is for.

      A few shots of that will knock their ass out for a few hours…


      • NyQuill! Seems like I’ve heard of that. How do I get it into their innards? Can I use my morphine syringes?

        • “Can I use my morphine syringes?”

          Ask your wife if you have one of those infant squeeze bulbs to squirt it down their throat.

          On the other hand, adjust the morphine dose down to their body mass it should knock their ass out for a few hours. Or kill them.

          In my book asleep or dead, either is a win. )

    • May I suggest several handfuls each of chocolate covered espresso beans just prior to their car ride home?

    • Thanks! Guns were not central to this story but it seams the critics are harping on that. I knew they would so that is why I wrote this. I wanted to illustrate that there are more dangers in a typical household than guns. People treat guns and children differently than other dangers and children. The focus should be on the children rather than any single potentially dangerous object. I bet these people keep up with their kids at Disney World or when crossing a busy street. So why do they think they get an off day when they come to my house?

      • The ones harping on the guns are telling MUCH more about themselves than they even think they are saying about you. Rest assured in that.

      • A lot of people focus on the guns + children angle because if things went south, it wouldn’t have just been a family tragedy, but invariably a national one.

        • So you have a preference on how a child is harmed. I don’t. I would rather teach the kid to be safe and if he can’t control himself then I will control him. And if at 16, he hasn’t shown any safe behavior, he isn’t getting the keys to the car.

      • The focus should be on the children rather than any single potentially dangerous object.

        Not the pool. At any party where there’s a pool and children, either it should be behind a locked gate or a responsible, sober adult should have both eyes on the water at all times.

        Ask a firefighter or paramedic if you want to hear tragic stories of parents who thought someone else had an eye on their child, or did just a second ago. The mantra is watch the water.

  11. When I was single, I left unused guns locked up and out of sight, but always had a pistol ready next to my bed since I did live in a bad neighborhood and there were more than a few murders during my residence there.

    Fast forward to now. I’m dating and living with a girl who has a son from a prior marriage. Suddenly I have to think about balancing response time for home defense with the safety of her child. When I’m home, I carry a pistol on my hip at all times. Any guns not in use are locked up. No big deal. When we sleep, a simple GunVault keeps a pistol ready but safe from questing children.

    Since even though the safety of those on your premises falls to you (kids included) it’s nigh-impossible to keep an eye on the kids at every instant.

  12. Oh I was cringing at so many points in this story. I had a panic attack when your pistol wasn’t on your nightstand and a rage attack when the kids were destroying things. If you have kids that are of a responsible enough age then it is your judgment call to determine if they can be around unlocked guns. Other peoples kids and adults I guess should never be trusted unsupervised around unlocked guns. Even if the guns are in an area that is off limits to the guests… never trust them.

  13. If one of your brother’s kids had found one of your guns and killed your wife, his brother, or himself with it, I doubt you would be debating whether the blame should lie with your brother’s parenting or your gun storage choices. Your brother sounds like a bad parent, but that doesn’t make it ok to leave loaded guns where his or anyone else’s children can get them. Prudent people with kids around secure all sorts of things including guns and lighters. Guns merit extra precautions because of the speed and distance with which they can seriously injure and kill both the child handling it and others near the child.

      • It sounds like you think you would have a clear conscience either way. You chose to invite children to your house. In my opinion, that is the point at which it became your responsibility to secure your firearms (and perhaps address other hazards add well).

        • Open the breakers too. Can’t have them cutting off their hands with the power tools in the garage. You would be responsible for that as well.

          When it comes to mainstream media, it’s ok if they drown, ignite themselves on fire, fall down the stairs and break their necks, or stab themselves with a sharp object while running – just as long as a gun is not involved – keep that locked up. Because guns.

  14. Michael-
    I enjoyed your post and appreciate your point about safety and discipline being greater than just locking up your guns. After hearing about your nephews’ behavior and the deadbeat Dad, I also cringed when hearing about the location of your guns. I can’t judge though, since I have been caught in similar situations and begrudge the idea I have to be responsible for someone elses naughty kids. I hope things work out with your family.

    • Thanks. I usually carry my pistol and put my riffle out of sight when they come over but after the fireball, I reevaluated what was the most important factor in keeping kids safe.
      My family has been pretty dysfunctional for a long time so this is just another day in the life. It’s bad when my wife calls me the normal one in my family. Thanks for your concern.

  15. Good on you man, you showed a lot of restraint by not handing out a couple of whoopins.

    Personally I feel like how you store your guns is your business, growing up I knew where the guns were, I also knew there would be hell to pay if I went in to my parents room without permission. The only reason i started licking up my nightstand gun is because somebody kicked my neighbors door in while he was at work and I decided I didn’t want my kimber to disappear.

  16. Any parent knows even the best behaved little kid is sometimes an idiot. All of us have stories of us being idiots at times as kids. Letting a kid have even the remotest chance is irresponsible.

  17. I am a sailor. I believe the Captain of a ship has the ultimate responsibility for all souls aboard, period. So in my house, I accept responsibility for the safety of all hands. That means locking up all of my guns before guests arrive who are not mature enough to be trusted with them. It also means keeping an eye on little ones. If someone’s little ones are behaving as Michael described, I would immediately step in with their parents and lay down the house rules. A second incident of unruly or unsupervised behavior would end their visit. As Michael points out, it isn’t simply about guns. There are dangers all around. The left minded seem predisposed to ignore those dangers. I, being in my right mind, do not.

  18. Liberals always love to quote their community (read: communist) ideas. So here’s one with the unintended consequences. “It takes a village to raise a child” Ok, so I get to spank YOUR child when you fail to provide discipline!

    • “Ok, so I get to spank YOUR child when you fail to provide discipline!”

      I have two sisters. One married a responsible man. The other married a boy like Micheal’s brother.

      When Sister 1 is over it is a joy and pleasure. Their 4 kids behave impeccably.

      When Sister 2 is over it’s a situation much like Micheal’s brother.

      I dread when Sister 2’s kids are in my vicinity. Her kids are the “Special Snowflake” variety.

  19. Amusing content aside, this is a well written, attention grabbing (and keeping) article. I was entertained the entire time I was reading it. Well done Sir, and please keep them coming!

  20. Michael in GA,

    My dad is “elderly” and when we come and visit him and my mother out at the farm there is no fvcking way that he is going to go through all his buildings and possessions securing them of all hazards (guns included). So it’s an unspoken expectation that we all understand that when my family and my brother and sister’s families are over – we need to watch our kids (and take responsibility for them) – because grandpa isn’t going to. If we don’t accept that – we shouldn’t come over. He keeps an unloaded shotgun right in the corner behind the door in his office. When I arrive the first thing I do is check the shotgun and lock the door. So all this bullshit from other commenters directly pointing the finger at you when in fact, responsibility, is an agreed upon decision between the home owner and the visitors.

    Example when visitors are responsible: (see above)

    Example when home owner is responsible: my son’s friend is over spending the night.

  21. I question the ability to analyze and evaluate risk of anyone who thinks unsupervised access (don’t shout strawman; that’s exactly what’s being discussed here) to loaded firearms, swimming pools, lighter fluid, power tools, and pesticides all present equal or similar risks to young children. At the most obvious level, loaded firearms can harm people other than the child in question. These other items harm only the child. Firearms pose a greater risk of death across the board as opposed to serious injury. A child can also discharge a firearm more quickly than it can injure or kill itself with these other items.

    Injuries and death to children from accidental shootings are extremely rare because the vast majority of gun owners understand the nature of the dangers firearms pose and take appropriate cautionary measures. A lot of folks get complacent about the dangers posed by common things in and around the house, and some children die as a result. I don’t think arguing firearms are the equivalent to the many other dangerous things around a house helps anyone.

    • “A lot of folks get complacent about the dangers posed by common things in and around the house, and some children die as a result. I don’t think arguing firearms are the equivalent to the many other dangerous things around a house helps anyone.”

      But, guns are “common things in and around the house”. I personally know of only two houses that don’t have guns in them (if you don’t count airguns then it’s zero) and one of those two wasn’t gun free last summer and probably won’t be in the future.

      As far as being equivalent goes, guns don’t “kill you deader” than when other things kill and plenty things are just as dangerous to people other than the person mishandling them as guns are. take bleach and ammonia as an example mixing those two produces toxic fumes including chlorine gas which was used as a chemical weapon in WWII.

  22. Some people seem to be missing the main point of this story. The point is that the world isn’t safe- and an unsafe child will find ways to endanger himself and others. There is a point at which you should minimize the danger children are exposed to but we cannot make the world safe enough for a human who has not learned to respect and handle implements which can cause harm. The gun owner having inaccessible firearms should be a secondary line of defense.

    Also worth considering that an 8 year old as described is certainly capable of doing something stupid and deadly with a car. Would Michael be negligent for not locking his keys up? If the answer is no- then regardless of justification/distinction, there is agreement that is a point at which it unreasonable to try to make the world safe

    • The author’s premise and main point is that it is not negligent to leave a loaded pistol on a nightstand when you have invited children into your home as long as you close your bedroom door. Read the last paragraph.

      The author tries to support his conclusion that closing the bedroom door satisfies the gun owner’s duty to exercise reasonable care by 1) pointing out that homes have all sorts of dangers in and around them, and loaded guns on nightstands are but one of many such dangers; and 2) if a child opens the bedroom door and hurts or kills someone with the gun on the nightstand, the fault lies with the child’s parent due to poor discipline, not with the homeowner for leaving the gun out.

      I strongly disagree with the author. The existence of other dangers does not justify creating new ones or allowing easily remedied dangers to exist. Bad patenting does not justify exposing people to danger that is easily avoided. Remembering to secure your firearms while your guests’ children are in your home shouldn’t be any skin off anyone’s back. Securing firearms is not like draining a pool or disconnecting the power to a house. If you don’t want to secure your firearms, don’t allow other people’s children in your house.

      If you think guns are like everything else dangerous, try an experiment: Get a random young child. Put a circular saw and a loaded pistol in a room. You and the child then go into the room together for five minutes. You don’t get to say anything or touch the child, the saw, or the gun. Feel free to substitute the saw with lighter fluid, a car, poison, or whatever common household danger you choose.

      • You and I are focusing on different aspects to the article. I think people are focusing on the author’s statement that a locked closet was adequate rather than his overall point that we can’t make the world safe enough and therefore holding people criminally and morally responsible for not making it safe enough is treacherous ground.

        Directly on your point that different dangerous objects are alluring to different degrees (you think children are more likely to play with a firearm than a table saw), the question that must be asked is “Why is that so?”. Why will he do something stupid with the gun but not the keys? Why does the objectively less powerful item need to be locked up but not the other? And once you start thinking about that question- you wind up back on the author’s main point.

        Don’t misunderstand, I’m all for layers of safety and locking firearms up. Much more important though is teaching my child a healthy respect for powerful tools and phenomena. The world is not safe- a wise parent trains their child to deal with danger rather than trying to babyproof the world.

        • The author didn’t say anything about locking guns in a closet. What he said was closing a bedroom door was adequate security for a loaded pistol on a nightstand in a house with children.

          My point with the experiment was not that a gun is more alluring than a power saw. My point was a child left alone for five minutes is more likely to kill or seriously injure himself or others with a loaded gun than an unplugged saw.

  23. Great story Micheal. I’m with you. You come into my home, you will not be roaming around in my bedroom or gun room or workshop without my knowledge. I will be damned if I am going to start making special arrangements for idiots, kids or fools. The way I handle the need to lock up my firearms is NOT to have those people in my house. If my brother or sister or dad or mother could not be trusted to manage their kids or friends, they would not be coming by for any more visits. I would either visit them or we could write (or not, if they voted for Obama). I was raised around guns, my sons were raised around guns, my grandchildren are raised around guns. Everyone knows what a gun will do, everyone knows gun safety rules, everyone shoots. Guns are no different than many other tools I have that are not locked up. These things called guns are nothing new or special in my house. They aren’t a politically correct or not. They are tools.

    • Let me tell you what this asshole (my brother) told my wife a couple years ago. We had a dog that had to be put down last year because of a massive tumor in her chest. But when the dog was alive, my nephews were afraid of her even though she was good with kids. So my brother tells my wife that we need to lock the dog in another room when he brings his kids over. The nerve of some people!

  24. My Parents were old school, you ####up you got the switch or the Belt your choice! today Our Government says you can”t do that for child safety!
    Every shooting Iron in the house was loaded with one in the chamber ready to rock, if you touched that weapon without good reason you had the dickens butt slapped into you!
    At age old enough to crawl training began with those weapons, at age 5 you learned how to shoot them, it did not matter the bore size, .22 to 30-06 to 12 ga. you experience the power and destructiveness of that power! you learned how to clean them, reload, make safe and store them in racks for
    ready usage1 Bears, Rapid skunks, and Rabbits chicken coup predators, escaped pig rooting the Garden ETC!
    my kids and grand kids learned the same way, so far no unintentional discharges! Teach, instruct followup, show and tell! of course the Me generation does not have time for Families and kid are treated as an Inconvenience instead of Gods Blessing, when hunting you were given 5 rounds, you better have game or each cartridge or shot shell given you, buy you own Ammo so you cold shoot more not a good Idea, target practice was for money 10 cents a clothes pin shot off the back porch! target 25 yards away! my step mother usually won until I went in the service! my children and Grand children were raised that way!
    In my house all my weapons are locked an loaded and a strop hanging in view!

  25. Everybody saying that locking up guns will prevent a child from getting it are obviously correct. Whether that is reason enough to make it mandatory is debatable. Let me explain where I am coming from in raising this issue. Remember the woman shot and killed by the toddler who reached into her purse? She was responsible for that tragedy not because it was her firearm, but because it was her child or the child was under her care. Who’s responsibility would it have been if another child not under her care had reached into her purse and discharged the weapon? I say whoever that child’s parents or guardians or caregiver are. Your kids should not reach into your purse any more than other’s kids. If the gun wasn’t in there, wasn’t within reach, had a safety, bla bla bla, of course it may have avoided the risk. But what if we taught our kids to leave stuff alone that do not belong to them, and until they learn that lesson, we keep an eye on them and be there to stop them. This is a life lesson that goes with the kid as they grow and are not under adult supervision.

    • It would be the fault of both parties. Carrying a gun into a store and leaving it in a condition that is so unsecured that a toddler can fire it is grossly negligent, regardless of the child’s supervision and discipline level.

      Michael in GA, I’m guessing you don’t have children. There seems to be a large disconnect between how you expect children to behave and how even the best-disciplined children actually behave in reality. Beyond that, children can access and fire poorly-stored firearms at ages much younger than the ages at which they can be taught to control impulses and follow directions 100% of the time.

      Parents should certainly supervise, but sometimes things go wrong. That’s the point of redundant safety systems.

  26. How much alcohol was served at this cookout? Did the irresponsible brother-parent imbibe? Fire and firewater do not mix.

  27. Your brother certainly sounds like an Obama voter. Take that as you will.

    You were also right to bring up politics. A person’s political leanings are a very good indicator of the type of person he or she is. A person;s politics may not be relevant to every incident, but you can certainly guess how a person will act knowing what his politics are. Your brother acted exactly like a leftist, except he didn’t call the police and try to have you arrested for hate speech against him.

  28. Michael, please tell me. Is he your older or younger brother?

    While neither of us are in the same situation (kids/house/wife) my younger brother and I have had heated disagreements. Its easy with a sibling, you know what buttons to push and how to piss each other off that special way.

    Good on you though for voicing your concern. Whether politics were necessary to the conversation is a philosophical point you brother latched onto. The crux of it is that he needs to start being irresponsible; that is obvious regardless of the philosophical point also being made.

      • I would have put money on that!

        And obv, I meant he needs to start being responsible.

        Better yet have his wife act like the strong independent woman she probably thinks she is and lay down the law or kick his butt into shape.

  29. I feel so fortunate that my kid has never been a sneaky destroyer. He’s always been curious about things, but he would rather have an adult (usually me) help him explore whatever it is he is curious about. He also learns his lessons and has always had a healthy respect for danger. Even when he was a toddler. He will question authority, but not dismiss it outright; that part was intentional on my part. He also knows (at 5) that guns are both wondrous and dangerous, much like swimming pools and fire.

    Also worth noting: my wife (who is somewhat hopolophobic) and I decided that, at least with our son, education is lock enough for the guns. He knows he can help me take them apart, look at them, and even fire them with me, but that it is very dangerous (remember the healthy respect for danger) to mess with them without me.

  30. Michael, it is entirely your fault. For inviting them over that is and not throwing their asses out much sooner. We ran into a problem like this once, ourselves. My wife warned the Keeper to the Demons From Hell that there are guns, bows, swords and knives in the house and she better keep control of her demons so someone doesn’t get hurt. We also kept some of my son’s shooting targets (with the bulls eyes shot out) laying around to stress the point.

    As far as controlling those kids are concerned, the responsibility is your brother’s. If he wants to give it to you then, fine. Do it by your rules. I’ve always made it clear that is how it work at my house.

    One thing you might consider… Go ahead an open carry on Father’s Day. You should to “forget” to put away your gun. If nothing else, you’re sure that its in a safe place.

    • I normally do home carry. My whole family owns guns except my brother. And he served in the Army. He did it for the GI Bill. He knows my stance on guns. That’s not the issue. The issue is that he is a lazy parent and probably a good thing he doesn’t own guns, or a pool.
      I’ll be more prepared to lay down the ground rules if there is a next time. Good news is, even if they don’t come to my house, my whole family knows what happened and they understand my position so they will be prepared to deal with my brother when they host family gatherings.

  31. Michael in GA:
    Loved the article. Sounds like family visits aren’t the greatest for you.
    I never had that problem, because of a simple house rule that I had:
    “No kids”
    I hosted maybe 2 parties a year- never more than 3 (parents couldn’t
    line up babysitters for the same day very often).
    I once heard a friends’ wife complain: “Why doesn’t he just child proof
    his place so we can do this more often?” My buddy told her the truth:
    “He collects guns, antique swords, and poisonous plants- he can’t!”
    To be honest- all the couples that came over tended to really NEED
    a “no kids” party the few times a year I held them.

  32. I think this was great commentary. I am a pediatrician, and I can’t tell you how many times I have had to be the adult in the exam room, when the parent refuses to do so. Some parents would let their kid rip the otoscope out of the wall by the wiring if they thought it would entertain them. When “I” have to do the correcting, some of these kids freeze and look at me like they have never heard a commanding tone of voice before in their lives.

    I think for everyone’s safety, you need to permanently ban your brother’s kids ( and your brother?) from your home.
    That being said, I think you have a dangerously casual attitude about the firearms. It’s one thing if someone drops by unexpectedly with their rugrats in tow, but if you KNEW they were coming, and you KNEW that they are always out of control, then IMO it is irresponsible to not put the firearms under lock and key – if only to protect “yourself”. If the demon spawn pry open the lockbox, or cut the cable lock, at least you have some leg to stand on that you took reasonable steps to prevent their access.

    May I ask what you do with the rifle you mentioned, when you aren’t at home? Could someone break into the house and just walk off with it? Also not good.

    But, I do also agree with you that there are all kinds of things in the world that can be hazards if you really look at them. Have I fallen asleep during a teenager’s slumber party and not had a second thought about the liquor cabinet? Yup. Did I take steps to secure my car keys during said event? Nope – never even occurred to me. Would “my” kids bother any of that stuff? Nope, but might others’? Maybe.

    We can’t wrap kids in bubble wrap and expect them to figure out boundaries on their own. That never works. But the thing is, if you are careless with the security of your firearms, we ALL suffer. Every Law-abiding gun owner then has to pay the price for the negligence of one person – because it gives more emotional fodder to the anti’s. My two cents.
    Thanks for the article!


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