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Photo from Joanne Winding's Facebook page

The importance of securing your firearms from children cannot be overstated. When an unsecured firearm leads to a gunshot injury, it’s usually because one child finds the gun and shoots another. But this disaster can unfold in many terrible ways, and a Georgia toddler recently shot his own mother when he found her loaded handgun . . .

23 year-old Joanne Winding thought she saw a prowler outside her Hinesville, GA home on March 26th. The young Army wife retrieved a handgun and loaded it, in case the prowler tried to break in. Nobody tried to break into her home, but Winding failed to secure or unload the handgun before she went back to bed. 

‘Oops’ doesn’t quite cover it.

Whether you’re talking guns, gasoline, matches or drain cleaner, nothing on Earth can ferret out trouble like an unsupervised 2 year-old boy. Winding’s toddler apparently found the loaded heater next to her bed, and promptly shot her with it.

Not everybody can be an IGOTD like Mrs. Winding and live to tell the tale. She was lucky that he only shot her in the arm, and she’s expected to recover. 

Any of the Armed Intelligentsia could have told her that all firearms must be either locked up or on your person if you’ve got children in the house. Mrs. Winding will have time to consider her bad decision and good luck while she admires her gleaming IGOTD award.

Story: WSPA News

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  1. not only should she be more careful, but she needs to start teaching her kid NO TOUCHING GUNS without mommy or daddy. I taught my boy that around the time he was 2 and to this day, he’s very good about this.

    • Yup, exactly this. No mystery, always a learning experience, and reinforces safety.

      This is just a horrible, terrible and easily avoidable incident. My prayers go to the child and the family.

  2. My father once collected a debt from a friend who had no cash – he accepted instead a very high quality metal replica of a nickel-plated semi-auto pistol. When he brought it home he placed it on the table in the hall next to the telephone and three weeks later, in a house with four kids from 4 – 9 years old, that pistol was in exactly the same spot.

    Shortly afterwards he gave it to me (the only boy) to play with, out in the street, in Chicago. Yeah, it was a long time ago.

      • Young, married military spouses are a species of people prone to generating headline news stories.

        It’s so bad if the DoD reinstated the requirement for COs sign off before marriage I’d be all for it, self determination be damned. If you don’t believe me , dear reader, stop by a bar closest to the nearest DoD installation and count the women with tan lines on their ring fingers.

        • As a (has been) PSG and acting 1SG I believe in the 10/90 rule. Ten percent of your folk will require ninety percent of your time. In G Trp, 2/2 ACR in Bamberg, FRG, back in the day, one of my scouts proved this rule.

        • Overseas troops can check out how their wives are holding up by logging onto online dating sites. Thats where their wives are.

        • I believe this to be the trustiest thing ever written on this TTAG…

          Military wives are wretched creators by and large, military men are notorious for picking women of a sub-standard quality for matrimony.

          You want to get some easy action… Hit a dive within 20 miles of a military base on the Thurs, Fri, or Sat after a large scale movement…

          You won’t even have a try to get laid, the women will court you and buy you drinks.

          Oh, the stories I can tell about knuckleheads that married wild and loose women, and later finding out the woman was screwing half the county.

          The real fun was later on after getting run through the ringer during the separation/divorce…

          That’s when she would usually screw the other half of the county.

      • She made a terrible mistake.

        And so did you, to insult an entire group of people making sacrifices for your freedom.

    • WTF? I spent 29 years in the Army and met and married my very intelligent and responsible wife while she too was serving. While I’m sure my experiences are not the norm, I’m just as sure that the 10/90 rule is also true. If we hold that anecdotal statement as truth, then 90 percent of the people and spouses in the military are not causing trouble for their supervisors. Do you want to be judged by the small minority of a group into which you fit? I wager not. But I will defend Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines from civilians any time I see them or their spouse disparaged. The far majority, like concealed handgun license holders, are far more trustworthy than the general populace.

  3. This problem could have been avoided with no children in the house……..

    In all seriousness she should have secured that gun where she could get to it but not her son

  4. Teach your 2 year old? That 2 year old has NO concept of right or wrong, impulse control or coordination of an older child . I have 4 sons…all very different from each other. That young mother is lucky to be alive & even luckier her baby didn’t KILL himself. End of tirade.

    • You assuming the kid is mentally deficient? Normal 2yr kids have been taught to stay away from the stove, out of the kitchen cabinets, keep the refrigerator/front door shut, turnout the lights when leave the room, etc.

      So you don’t/can’t teach them not to touch firearms? My kids know this. The mystery of firearms.

      • 2year olds barely have language and you think you can teach not to touch a firearm. That this is something you feel they can learn at 2. Lol You let your kid go into the refrigerator and they close it and they turn out lights on their Own? Is the light switch on the floor?

        Children that age cannot understand those concepts and have little or no impulse control so no you really cannot teach them not to touch.

        How may you ask can I be so sure….. because my wife has a PhD in child psychology and unless you have a truly amazing child that is so advanced developmentally then the other gentleman’s statement stands.

        • “my wife has a PhD in child psychology” vs. parents who are actually teaching their children and having real world results. I’ll take the parents….

          • Lol. I knew I would get that response at least once and I wondered how long it would take… Ding ding you are the winner.

            What I am saying is that there are certain things that children cannot understand because they are at that point developmentally. They cannot understand certain concepts at that age no matter what their parents are like. These are facts no matter how much we may not want them to be.

            Yes you try to teach them but as they do not understand then you realistically cannot expect them to obey. They have little or no impulse control!

        • I’m the oldest of 10 children and I can tell you that I and all of my younger siblings understood what not to touch at age two. We may not have understood right and wrong, but we did understand that if we touched this thing over here, there was a spanking coming. Repetition and consistency builds memory. So yes, you most certainly can teach them not to touch. I’ll take my real world experience over a PhD any day.

        • Your real world results could be a dead 2 year old, or a shot parent as in this case. Maybe she did teach the kid not to touch the gun. Maybe the kid, being 2 years old, did it anyway and shot the person dumb enough to think she could trust a 2 year old!

        • Mike, I think you’re equating understanding “why” not to do something, and “what” is and is not to be done. I agree that a 2-year-old, unless at the prodigy level, cannot grasp the life-and-death consequences of why not to play with Mommy’s gun. Just as they don’t understand why they can’t do any number of things. But as a parent of three children, I can tell you with absolute certainty that a 2-year-old can easily be taught not to do any number of things. The only reason in their budding mind is that “Mommy and Daddy told me no” but if they’re also being brought up to respect and listen to Mommy and Daddy, that is reason enough.

          • I understand what you are saying but i still stand by my statement that they do not have the ability to control themselves. The impulse control is not there and that is why kids have to be told the same thing repeatedly even at 5 and it just does not work at 2. They can be told something and turn around do the exact thing you just told them not to do. The concept of respect is not one at 2 they can grasp. They want to make you happy because you are there world but they cannot control their impulses. There are studies galore proving this point so why not leave knives around and just tell them not to touch them.

            Despite how much people do not want to believe this it is a scientific fact that is backed up by empirically backed research. Your job at this point in their lives is to keep them from hurting themselves, feeding, changing etc. you are protecting because their brains are not developed enough to do this. End of story. Impulse control, impulse control, impulse control.

            Please do not take my word for it but do the research for yourself. Look in the child dev research not what someone blogs on their site but at the real data. They are just in the starting phase of that type of development and it can continue with some through their teen years. Once again, look at the research.

            If someone is stupid enough to leave a firearm that is loaded where a 2 yo can get it then perhaps they should not be able to own a gun. I have a hard time with concept of accidentally leaving it out. Plain and simple, the parent should be held responsible because it is their weapon and their responsibility.
            People go on and on about personal responsibility well this is an example of it here.

        • The problem with “scientific fact” argument is that it’s a misleading appeal to authority. No, I’m not arguing 2 year olds comprehend death let alone mortal danger. But if you’re talking about tests where children are given the opportunity to play with something dangerous you’re not actually testing what the children are capable of, you are testing children (and their training) ON AVERAGE.

          This would be analogous to testing the average american’s dog and making inferences about a breed’s capability. Most Americans are crap dog owners, that doesn’t mean that the dogs aren’t capable of more, it just means that on average they don’t deliver. The difference between a normal collie and one that’s been trained is day and night.

          The reality is good parents and good training can indeed have an affect on 2 year old behavior. We should never rely solely on that training, but to dismiss entirely is unwise as well.

          Yes. The mother failed twice: once in not locking up the gun not in use, a second time in not having her child under direct supervision. The child also failed in touching something he should never have touched. You needed 3 levels of failure here.

          • Ok dude what are you talking about? This is not rocket science or perhaps it is.

            What the h..l with the appeal to authority thing argument so please stop as it not valid in this case. Really. Before you pop off look at the research and what the researchers are measuring. Parents make a huge difference but there are developmental milestones that kids at 2 have not reached. End of story but it does not mean we should not try but we have to understand what they are capable of. Why is this so hard to grasp?

            I am not asking them to understand the concept of death ( really you made this leap) but I am saying that they cannot control the impulse… Let me repeat… They cannot control the impulse..

            Parenting helps but they do not have impulse control… Read.. Impulse control not cognitive ability or basic intelligence.

            You cannot apply the dog model to human children because they are not the same from any number of ways. To suggest so is to show that you really do not understand much about human vs dog physiology etc or research principals. Your argument makes no sense if you take the time to think this through.

            I am done commenting on this as it seems few of the people who post replies along with many Americans anymore do not have the ability to apply critical thinking skills. To look at an issue and look at the research and think something through and base your opinion on that and not a hunch or something you heard from someone who seems smart. Not sure why people are so afraid of?

            Please google “developing critical thinking skills” and go from there.

            I am done here…..

        • I am talking about your assertion that 2 year olds cannot be trained to not touch guns. Cognitive development, in point of fact, is a great deal more complicated than rocket science.

          It’s not difficult to grasp, what you fail to comprehend is that Impulse control is not a milestone in the way that crawling, walking, speech, conservation of matter and other cognitive concepts are. I even explicitly granted that 2 year olds are not capable of understanding death (an important cognitive milestone) yet but behavior and cognition are not the same. A 2 year old does not have to grasp what electricity is in order to not to stick objects in the outlets. What he requires for that is training.

          They can be trained to not perform certain behaviors without having developed an adult’s impulse control. This does not require high cognition. We can condition invertebrates not to perform actions that they would, without the training, perform.

          Impulse control is a description of cognition. I am describing behavior. We can affect behavior. We should strive to grow cognitive ability and have them understand the basis for it. In other words have them grow beyond mere training into where they exert cognitive control of impulses but you don’t need the latter to have the former.

          You are correct that dogs and children are importantly different. They are also importantly similar ( The argument I made is an analogous one. A further analogy using humans, since you prefer: Suppose that you test the mathematical abilities of high school age children from third world countries and finding an inability for them to use algebra. It is wrong to conclude that high school age children are incapable of performing algebra. The question is one of potential and average reality. This is not like the inability of 2 year olds to realize that the same water transferred to different containers stays the same. This is about behavior, not cognition.

          You have a good day sir.

          • Thanks you just proved my point and I responded to your previous post. You cannot consistently overcome their lack of impulse control no matter the amount of training unless you make it so aversive that they will be frightened.

            I appreciate your looking it deeper and providing a better explanation of belief. I do not agree but I am heartened by the fact you took the time to explain it better.

            We will not agree on this point and it comes down to the parents doing what they should be doing which is locking it. It is on mom and dad no matter how much they wanna blame the kid.

      • So you would teach a 2 year old not to touch that loaded gun and be satisfied with that? Well damn! Let’s just modify cars and let 2 year olds drive themselves to daycare. Or better yet, just grant 2 year olds CCW permits. Afterall, you just said you could teach them to be responsible. And obviously they can pull the trigger.

  5. Not everyone agrees with your nanny state approach. It is that thinking which is a hairs breath from the PSH leftist BS. I am a firm believer in the “mind your f ‘ing business when it comes to their household.” I won’t tell you when to lock your doors, windows car, garage or how to treat your kids, wife or dog. You don’t tell me what the hell to do with my guns. End of discussion.

    • There is a significant differentiation between telling you what you must do and giving you really good advice.

      On the other hand, maybe Darwin had a point.

      • Yup, big difference between a billboard saying “you should lock up your guns where kids can’t get them” and a swat team going door to door reading off their nice list of names and serial numbers to make sure.

    • Seriously! If I want to let my children drink gasoline and play cowboys & indians with real guns, that’s my right as an American…don’t tell me how to raise my kids!

      • Your comment is very funny because I (fingers crossed) am assuming you are being sarcastic! Right? I hope…

      • I agree with you. However, your examples are pretty far-fetched. Any parent that was allowing the kids to do those things should lose his/her parental rights.

        You have A LOT of parental rights, and your parental rights should not be over-turned lightly. However, a child has a right to a parent that tries to provide a safe home for the child. Any parent that is not trying to do that is guilty of child abuse and/or parental neglect.

  6. From the article, “Whether you’re talking guns, gasoline, matches or drain cleaner, nothing on Earth can ferret out trouble like an unsupervised 2 year-old boy.”

    That has to be one of the best written sentences I have read in a long time! I am still laughing out loud.

  7. Firearms need to be on you or in the safe, regardless of whether or not you have children in the house. You never know who is going to make their way inside,invited or not.

  8. nothing on Earth can ferret out trouble like an unsupervised xx boy except 18yr old boy and where trouble is a young female creature.

  9. As the population ages, be aware that many of the same dangers apply to the elderly, as do to the very young. Whether mental diminishment or physical impairment, responsible firearms ownership requires guarding against unsafe handling by some of the elderly, as well.

  10. At the age of 2 kids are still learning to speak let alone comprehend…yes they grasp things but not everything. @neiowa i dont know of any 2yr old that can hit a light switch or the strength to even break the vacuum seal of a refridgerator door. And you expect for that 2yr old child to understand what a gun is capable of doing or to have an adult talk about crime and murder to a child of that age.

    • Lol. I commented on this also – from a developmental standpoint they are not able to understand this no matter how many times you whack them. My daughter is 5 and still manages to get food all over when she eats at times. Does this specific training at 2yo involve differentiating between revolver or semi auto.

      To all those who feel it is a matter of training first you really donot understand how children are developmentally at that age. If you think it is as easy as a swat again and again well I would not wanna be your kid. Yes they can learn obviously but this a whole different thing.

      Let me be clear about this . How do you train them? Leave a handgun and wait for them to reach for it and crack and then do this over and over. Do you just have handguns lying around where this becomes an issue. Is this after some boozed up night of Russian roulette with the boys? I am going to make the assumption that you have these things stored so when they see it then it will be something new. The stove analogy really is not applicable and I am sure you recognize that as they see the stove everyday.

      Yes I teach my daughter (5yo) not to touch firearms and to run the other way and find an adult but at 2…. Seriously. Lol lol

  11. Good to see some of you have such highly evolved & super intelligent 2 year olds. NO, your 2 year old ain’t THAT great. Do any of YOU remember being 2?

    • It’s got nothing to do with super intelligence but rather discipline. At that age it is a lot like training a dog. Your dog doesn’t understand right from wrong or the greater reasons for why he shouldn’t chew up the couch because it will cost you money to replace it. What the dog knows is that if he chews on the couch, he is going to get swatted. Pain repetition builds memory and discipline, even if the reasons are not understood. Eventually, the dog will remember that chewing on couch leads to pain and pain is bad. If you want to train children at that age, you have to be willing to spank them. I’m not talking about beating, I’m talking about a quick pop to the wrist or the fleshy part of the thigh; just enough to induce a little pain, but not leave a mark. Eventually (and a lot quicker than you might think) the child will remember that touching this thing over here will lead to pain and pain is bad. However, if you aren’t willing to spank, then the child will not be able to learn not to touch until they develop more, which means an increased likelihood of them hurting themselves because they haven’t learned not to touch certain things. I am the oldest of 10 children and our parents used spanking as a tool to keep us from hurting ourselves when we were too young to understand the why. So far, we have all turned out fine and were always the best behaved kids anywhere. I can tell you, at age two in our house, we knew what not to touch.

    • I do, I’ve got memories back to just before I was 2. Namely my first airplane ride and a specific butt whooping involving a puddle of water and a baby suit. I remember being very wide eyed and confused and had no idea what I even remembered until I rode an airplane again when I was 10. Turns out you climb onto a plane using a jetway, and the jetway is not the plane’s wing. I don’t think I even thought in complete sentences yet. I also remember catching my first fish at 3 with my dad and granpa, first riding my bike without training wheels at my grandads house on my 4th birthday, and going to kindergarten. Do people not remember stuff like that? Seems important to me.

      • I don’t’ have any memories from before 5 or 6 years of age. But then I’ve got a pretty solid memory for things in general; from an episode of Pinky and the Brain I have pi down to 3.141592654. Maybe I’m like Johny Neumonic and some of my childhood was removed to make room for other stuff.

    • It must of been big fun at Charles5’s house and I am amazed by the fact that people seem to think the child understands these concepts.

      My daughter is five and pretty smart but I will be damned if she does not fully grasp the meaning and debate over the second amendment. She still will not eat her veggies no matter how many times I threaten her! Lol

    • Who is to blame if your 2-year-old acts stupid and does something stupid and potentially lethal? You.
      A young child doesn’t know any better? Wrong. It’s not a fatality. No reason to infer that they can’t. No reason not to try and TEACH them. You know? EDUCATION? That novel concept where a parent has certain responsibilities, such as, yknow, NOT let a child be unsupervised around firearms, and NOT let a child be unaware as to what to do when there’s guns in the home? Simple things like “Don’t touch mommy’s guns” until he’s old enough to know how to use them, it’s basic childrens’ gun safety, it’s what I consider common sense as a gun owner.

      If you blame it on the kid and your sole justification is “Well gad darn he’s 2 years old, OF COURSE trouble is gonna happen”, I feel sorry for your children and your parenting. You’re not treating your children as people, you’re treating your children as hopeless morons. As a gun owner, a woman, and someone who has had to take care of my fair share of kids, you sound disgusting to me.

  12. My 2 youngest sons are the best behaved , most respectful and I think the best 18 & 21year olds in the world. Never hit ’em. My brother also has 10kids & doesn’t beat them. It’s possible to train your children without treating them like a dog. BTW I’m NOT against spanking. The whole point about remembering being 2 had nothing to do with training your kid. My wife has vivid memories about her 1st birthday, while I have vivid memories about my mother taking me into the women’s locker room at the YMCA. LOTS of boobs & dark triangles LOL. I think I was 3. In conclusion keep your f##king guns out reach of your 2 year old.

    • Thank you and I agree and as we do not spank either but I guess that makes me a too permissive parent yet my daughter is very polite and well behaved.

      A shock collar would work and hell you would not even have to get up off of the lazboy! Just sayin…

  13. You simply CANNOT teach a child under the age of about 4 to NEVER do something.
    They quickly develop the motor skills for simple actions…especially ones they see on
    TV routinely. But it takes FAR longer for them to develop the mental faculties to understand
    and remember an admonishment to NOT do something. Unlike a child who burns a hand
    on something hot which literally sears that conditioning into their psyche the admonition to
    never touch a weapon simply will not stick in the mind of a child. Even elementary age school
    children who can remember what bus to take home and the combo to their locker at school
    have trouble with such tasks. For homes with children who have not reached puberty the
    best course of action is to keep ALL weapons locked away if not ON THE BODY. And even
    then there is no absolute guarantee that something bad won’t happen.

  14. I don’t remember much past about 8, but I’m kind of dumb. I think the lesson here, and often, is to make sure you know the location and condition of your firearms at all times.

    @Marcus Aurelius: That 4 on the end is actually a 3, but the next digit is 5 so if a calculator or similar device only shows ten digits it will round the 3 up to a 4. Just FYI in case you end up on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” or something.

  15. I’m not going to preach to someone about how they show teach their kids or do things certain way around their house. In my house all firearms are locked up and stored away except the home defense pistol which is in a quicker to get to lock box beside the bed.

  16. From birth through age 10, kids can not be trusted with firearms due to mental immaturity. From 10 through 21, kids can not be trusted with firearms because of raging hormones. From 21 through 64, kids can not be trusted with firearms because of emotional instability. From 64 on, kids can not be trusted with firearms because of decreased physical capacity. VICTORY!
    -Mothers Demand Action

  17. Goes to show you that the trigger instinct is innate. Would a 2 yr old have to be particularly strong to pull a pistol trigger ? Assume this was a semi-auto not a revolver.

  18. Homes with toddlers might be better served with a revolver for home protection. All the most common revolvers have a trigger pull weight of 12 to 15 lbs. My Ruger DAO .38 LCR has trigger pull of 14 lbs.
    Frankly don’t get why more folks do not folks keep a good 3″ or better revolver for home protection.
    I know, I know, the whole bit about number of rounds, as I’m setting here with loaded Ruger 5 rounds .38 hollowpoint, in my pocket w/5 reloader in other one.
    Have no idea if my dad kept a gun in the house or not, if he did I know him well enough to know it would not have been in plain sight

  19. I would be more inclined to believe that she shot herself accidentally while loading or unloading and is blaming it on the child…

  20. My 2 year old daughter knows not to go near real guns all I had to do was rack the slide and say ow in front of her now she won’t gi near them

  21. Why isn’t she in jail for child endangerment why is she not put away for child neglect why would u go to bed at 2am knowing ur toddler is awake and u are worried about an intruder I also read in one of the articles that she lived in filth with dog poop everywhere and kids dirty its all a shame

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