Just one child
I love my children. I’ve apparently been blessed with a talent for teaching, especially with children. I take my work with children very seriously, especially when it comes to protecting them: both my direct protection of them when they are within my care, and teaching them how to care for themselves.
A common line of reasoning you hear these days is “if it saves/helps/protects/aids/etc. just one child, then it’s worth it.” No, I’m sorry but that’s not a sound line of reasoning. Is abridging the rights of millions of people the right thing to do if it might save just one child? So injure millions to save one? I’m not saying it’s welcome to injure the one, but life isn’t perfect and without pain, and I just don’t believe it’s right to save one and injure millions… the math doesn’t add up for me.
The past few days the gun blogging community has been talking about this particular blogger and their interactions with her. Here’s one of her posts, and as an example of gun blogger responses, I give you SayUncle’s response to her particular posting.
I agree with Catherine. That is a horrible story, and it breaks my heart that an innocent 2 year old child was killed through negligence. And what’s worse, it appears the negligence is on the part of the parents. I agree those parents should be held accountable for their actions.
What I don’t agree with is Catherine’s final statement:
I could show hundreds of statistics on why tough gun control laws should be strictly enforced, but the best argument is that one child’s death is too many.
(And I gotta agree with SayUncle, show those statistics, and be sure to answer Just One Question while you’re at it). The thing is, there are already laws on the books about this (e.g. Texas Penal Code §46.13). But how is enforcement going to prevent such things? The law is now only going to apply after the fact. This isn’t to say the law shouldn’t be enforced, but passing more laws won’t stop more death. What will stop more death? Call for increased responsibility. Call for education. Accept no less.
Take a look at the NRA’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe program. This is a fantastic program that teaches children if they come across a firearm to:
- Don’t touch
- Leave the area
- Tell an adult
Drill that mantra into your children. Even if you detest guns above all things, don’t leave your child ignorant; they may encounter a gun at some point in their life – give them at least the minimal knowledge necessary to keep them alive. If you wish to go above that, teach them the basic rules of gun handling safety (source: Jeff Cooper, Commentaries, Vol. 11 No. 4, 2003):
- All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1).
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60% of inadvertent discharges.
- Identify your target and what’s behind it. Never shoot at anything you have not positively identified.
This doesn’t mean you have to teach your child how to handle a firearm, but safety rules are always good things to teach (e.g. walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic; keep your fingers curved back when slicing vegetables). And teaching respect for the power of a gun is worthwhile — they are tools, not toys. We agree that education is so important, we teach our children the dangers of strangers, drugs, alcohol, sex, but for some reason our society accepts ignorance about guns. How does that keep our children safe?
But on the same token, we have to accept that the world isn’t a perfect place. We have to accept there are and always will be people that are going to do stupid and irresponsible things, or just make mistakes (and I believe each and every one of us is guilty of this in our past and will be again in the future… such is being a human; if you’re perfect, please drop me a line!). But we don’t have to be complacent with this either. Instead of abridging people, why not teach them? educate them? lift them up?
Updated: For those that like statistics, here are some.