Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Guns in the hands of toddlers and youngsters                                                   

Accidental shooting deaths are most commonly associated with one or more children playing with a gun they found in the home.  In one survey, 10% of families admitted to having unlocked and loaded firearms within easy reach of children and one-third of the deaths by firearms involved children under fifteen. 

When I was fourteen, I and my mother visited my aunt and uncle in Creston, British Columbia, a province of Canada. We learned from them that the ten-year-old boy next door to them was playing with his father`s handgun and he aimed it at a neighbour`s boy who was visiting him. The ten-year-old didn`t know that the gun in his hand was loaded. He pulled the trigger. The other boy was killed instantly. The ten-year-old`s father should have known better than to leave his gun loaded in his house. He was fired from his job as a game warden. Then the family moved out of Creston.

When I was fifteen, I lived on a farm next to a very large forest and I used to go hunting small game with a repeater 22 calibre rifle. One day,  years later while I lived in Vancouver, I showed my rifle to a friend. He aimed it at my head in jest and I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t unloaded it. I unloaded it and handed it back to him again. He aimed at my head again and pulled the trigger yelling at the same time, “BANG.”

If I hadn‘t unloaded it, I would have been killed and after that particular event, everything that I did as an adult in Canada and with the United Nations wouldn’t have happened and millions of people in Canada and around the world would not have benefited from the bill of rights I brought to the UN with respect to the rights of young offenders nor with other benefits with respect to the rights of citizens that I brought to millions of Canadians. My act of stupidity by leaving a loaded gun in my bedroom was the same kind of stupidity that goes on in homes and elsewhere around the world.

In Tampa, Florida, a sixth grader jokingly dared another boy to shoot him with his father`s .357 revolver. The other boy went ahead and pulled the trigger. He later said that he thought that the handgun was empty, It was not empty. The bullet struck 14-year-old Stephen Santiago-Grey in the chest. He collapsed in the driveway of his house He later died at the Tampa General Hospital.

The United States accounts for nearly 75 percent of all children murdered in the developed world. Children between the ages of 5 and 14 in the United States are 17 times more likely to be murdered by firearms than children in other industrialized nations.
The victims of these gun accidents were boys 81 percent of the time. In about two-thirds of those cases, the victim was shot by someone else. In those cases, 97 percent of the time the shooter was male. And more than 90 percent of the time, the shooter was a member of the family or a friend. About 19 percent of victims were shot in the homes of friends, and 11 percent of deaths involved hunting accidents. It was very rare for an adult who's not a family member to be accidentally shot by or accidentally shoot a child.

In June of 2014, a study on accidental shootings by guns reported that children killed accidentally by guns in the US was laid bare in new research that showed that as many as 100 boys and girls aged 14 and under were dying each year which  was substantially more than US federal statistics had previously suggested.

People tend to believe that having a firearm on themselves or in their homes will protect them. But the research shows this isn't the case. Living in a house with a gun actually increases a person's odds of an early death. Looking at the evidence, the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded, that the absence of guns from children's homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents.

Americans are among the least likely people to follow this advice in the developed world. Americans make up about 4.43 percent of the world's population, yet they own roughly 42 percent of all the world's privately held firearms. The reason for these figures is that more people in the United States are permitted to possess handguns than any other country in the world.

In Canada, all firearms have to be unloaded when stored.  Non-restricted firearms must be secured with a locking device, “such as a trigger lock or cable lock (or remove the bolt) so the firearms cannot be fired,” or the firearm must be locked “in a cabinet, container or a room that is difficult to break into. Restricted and prohibited firearms must be secured with locking devices and be kept in a cabinet, container, in a vault or a safe or room that was built or modified specifically to store firearms safely. Anyone who doesn’t take these precautions can lose their firearms and the right to possess firearms and be subjected to a large fine. Parents should keep their guns locked in a safe hiding place and keep them separate from the ammunition to decrease the high number of accidental injuries, especially for smaller children

Estimates of the rate of home ownership of guns in Canada range from 21% to 34% nationwide, although one recent survey suggested a lower rate of 17% . Provincial rates of firearm ownership vary widely, from 15% in Ontario to 67% in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Most Canadian firearm owners own a rifle or shotgun; only 12% own a handgun. In a study conducted in Canada, mortality from unintentional firearm injury in Canada, found a strong positive correlation between provincial rates of home ownership of guns and death rates from unintentional firearm injuries.

In a country with more than 30,000 annual gun deaths, the smallest fingers on the trigger belong to children. These are young shooters who need help tying their shoelaces and are too young sometimes to even say the word “gun and yet, they either killed by themselves or others because of their own curiosity. They accidentally fire a parent’s pistol while playing cops and robbers, or in one case, finding a handgun in the pocket of the coat their father forgot to wear to work.

Examples of the shootings by and of children

In April 2013, a 4-year-old boy near Nashville accidentally shot and killed the 48-year-old wife of a local county sheriff’s deputy.

The following day, in Lavinia, Tennessee, a 2-year-old pulled the trigger of a 9-mm Glock pistol, wounding his 22-year-old mother as she slept with her three-week-old baby. The gun had been kept under the mother’s pillow.

The day after that, a 3-year-old boy accidentally killed himself while playing with a gun he found in an apartment in Sumter, South Carolina.

In Goodlettsville, Tennessee, the police released the name of the 5-year-old who was shot and killed in Goodlettsville over the weekend. According to the Goodlettsville Police Department, the gunshot that struck Andrew Turner was fired by his sibling. Police say it was not unusual for the children's father to keep a loaded weapon nearby for protection.

In Cleveland, Ohio, one-year-old Braylon Robinson was killed by another child who had picked up an unattended firearm.

Two-year-old Sincere Smith in Conway, South Carolina, who was relaxing after a heavy meal of chicken and macaroni  and cheese on Christmas day when he spotted an object on the living room table. It was a .38-caliber handgun that his father had bought two weeks before and had left on the table while he went to make a phone call. Sincere picked it up and fired a single shot through his own chest; he died on the way to the hospital.

In Platka, Florida, Jamie Gilt, the mother of a 4-year-old boy who shot her as they were riding in a pickup truck.  according to authorities. Police said they were recommending a charge of allowing a child access to a firearm. which is a misdemeanour charge (equivalent to a non-indictable charge in Canada)

The mother, Jamie Gilt, put her loaded handgun underneath the front seat and at some point during a drive, the weapon slid into the back where her son Lane was riding in a booster seat, Sheriff’s Capt. Gator DeLoach said. The boy, who had recently learned how to unbuckle himself, got out of his seat and picked up the gun, firing through the front seat, hitting his mother in the back. Gilt was apparently is a gun lover who made numerous social media postings about gun rights.

In Kansas City, Missouri, Sha’Quille Kornegay, who was 2 years old, had been napping in bed with her father, Courtenay Block, when the toddler discovered the 9-millimeter handgun he often kept under his pillow. It was equipped with a laser sight that lit up like the red lights on her cousins’ sneakers. Mr. Block told the police he woke up to see Sha’Quille by his bed, bleeding and crying, the gun at her feet. A bullet had pierced her skull. She was buried in a pink coffin, her favorite doll by her side and a tiara strategically placed to hide the self-inflicted gunshot wound to her forehead.

Further commentary

The accidental shooting by and of small children are the most maddening gun deaths in the United States. With shootings by preschoolers happening at a pace of about two per week, some of the victims were the youngsters’ parents or siblings, but in many cases the children ended up accidentally killing themselves.

“You can’t call this a tragic accident,” said Jean Peters Baker, the prosecutor of Jackson County, Mo., who is overseeing the criminal case in Sha’Quille’s death. Her office charged Mr. Block, 24, with second-degree murder and child endangerment. “These are really preventable, and we’re not willing to prevent them.”

Gun control advocates say these deaths illustrate lethal gaps in gun safety laws. Some states require locked storage of guns or trigger locks to be sold with handguns. Others leave safety decisions largely to gun owners.

Twenty-seven states have laws that hold adults responsible for letting children have unsupervised access to guns, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, though experts say such measures have, at best, a small effect on reducing gun deaths. Massachusetts is the only state that requires gun owners to store their guns in a locked place, though it has not stopped youngsters there from accidentally killing themselves or other children.

Gun rights groups have long opposed these kinds of laws. They argue that trigger locks can fail, that mandatory storage can put a gun out of reach in an emergency, and that such measures infringe on Second Amendment rights.

Larry Pratt, a spokesman and former executive director of Gun Owners of America said, “It’s clearly a tragedy, but it’s not something that’s widespread. To base public policy on occasional mishaps would be a grave mistake.”

In 2015, there were at least 278 unintentional shootings at the hands of young children and teenagers, according to Everytown’s database.

A child who accidentally pulls the trigger is most likely to be 3 years old, the statistics show.

Holston Cole was 3, a boy crackling with energy who would wake before dawn, his pastor said. He loved singing “Jesus Loves Me” and bouncing inside the inflatable castle in his family’s front yard in Dallas, Georgia

About 7 a.m. on April 26th 2013, he found a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol in his father’s backpack, according to investigators. He  fired the gun and Holston’s panicked father, David, called 911. Even before a dispatcher could speak, Mr. Cole wailed “No, no!” into the phone, according to a redacted recording.

Mr. Cole pleaded for his 3-year-old son to hold on until the ambulance could arrive: “Stay with me, Holston,” he can be heard saying on a 911 tape, his voice full of desperation. “Can you hear me? Daddy loves you. Holston. Holston, please. Please.” Holston was pronounced dead that morning.

The local authorities have been weighing what can be a difficult decision for prosecutors and the police after these shootings: Whether to charge a stricken parent or family member with a crime. While laws vary among states, experts said decisions about prosecution hinge on the specific details and circumstances of each shooting. What may be criminal neglect in one child’s death may be legally seen as a tragic mistake in another.

Officials with the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office have suggested that they expect Mr. Cole to face, at most, a charge of reckless conduct.

“Anything that we do, criminally speaking, is not going to hold a candle to the pain that this family feels,” said Sgt. Ashley Henson, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. Sergeant Henson said investigators had sensed early on that the shooting was accidental.

Some gun control groups have urged states and district attorneys to prosecute such cases more aggressively, saying that, grief aside, people need to be held responsible for what are easily preventable deaths.
Brent Moxey, the pastor who officiated at Holston’s funeral, said the boy’s father was already haunted. “I think he runs the scenario over and over and over in his mind.”

In Indianapolis, Kanisha Shelton would stay protectively near her 2-year-old son, Kiyan, watchful of the stray dogs known to roam through the neighborhood. But on the night of April 20, Ms. Shelton stepped away from the boy, leaving him in the kitchen while she was upstairs. She had placed her purse out of his reach on the kitchen counter, but when her phone started ringing, the boy apparently pushed a chair close to the counter, climbed onto it and reached for the purse, according to an account from a cousin, John Pearson. There was also a .380-caliber Bersa pistol in it.

Just after 9 p.m., Ms. Shelton heard a loud bang and rushed downstairs. There, in the kitchen, she found Kiyan lying on the floor, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest. He was rushed to a local children’s hospital, where he was pronounced dead. No criminal charges have been filed.

A 2013 investigation by The New York Times of children killed with firearms found that accidental shootings like these mentioned in this article  were being vastly undercounted by official tabulations, and were occurring about twice as often as records said.

The coffin that held Za’veon was no bigger than a piece of carry-on luggage, and it was so light that two pallbearers easily carried it through the packed St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Bermuda, La.
His full name was Za’veon Amari Williams, but to his family in Natchitoches, the 3-year-old was known as Baby Zee. On April 22, he found a pistol and shot himself in the head, according to Detective John Greely of the Natchitoches Police Department. When paramedics arrived, they found the mother cradling the boy and crying that he was not breathing.

The police arrested a companion of the mother, Alverious Demars, 22, on charges of negligent homicide and obstruction of justice. Detective Greely said that the police believed that the pistol belonged to Mr. Demars, and that he hid it after the toddler shot himself. The police have not found the weapon.

“As a responsible adult, it’ was his obligation to secure that gun  to make sure a child does not get a hold of it,” Detective Greely said, explaining why Mr. Demars had been arrested.

Americans hate terrorists and love their kids, So you might be shocked to know that preschoolers with guns have taken more lives so far in 2013 than the single U.S. terrorist attack, which claimed four lives in Boston.

11 Deaths in Five Months Where Shooter Was 3 to 6 Years Old

Listed below are the 11 gun fatalities I found where a preschooler pulled the trigger (from Jan. 1 to June 9, 2013). Starting with a list of five toddler shooting deaths The Jewish Daily Forward published in early May, I unearthed six additional cases. This tragic, unthinkable event has happened every month, like clock-work.

Jan. 10: 6-year-old playmate shoots and kills 4-year-old Trinity Ross, Kansas City, Kan.
Feb. 11: 4-year-old Joshua Johnson shoots and kills himself, Memphis, Tenn.
Feb. 24: 4-year-old Jaiden Pratt dies after shooting himself in the stomach while his father sleeps, Houston.
March 30: 4-year-old Rahquel Carr shot and killed either by 6-year-old brother or another young playmate, Miami.
April 6: Josephine Fanning, 48, shot and killed by 4-year-old boy at a barbecue, Wilson County, Tenn.
April 8: 4-year-old shoots and kills 6-year-old friend Brandon Holt, Toms River, N.J.
April 9: 3-year-old is killed after he finds a pink gun that he thinks is a toy, Greenville, S.C.
April 30: 2-year-old Caroline Sparks killed by her 5-year-old brother with his Cricket “My First Rifle” marketed to kids, Cumberland County, Ky.
May 1: 3-year-old Darrien Nez shoots himself in the face and dies after finding his grandmother’s gun, Yuma, Ariz.
May 7: 3-year-old Jadarrius Speights fatally shoots himself with his uncle’s gun, Tampa, Fla.
June 7: 4-year-old fatally shoots his father, Green Beret Justin Thomas, Prescott Valley, Ariz.
At least 10 more toddlers have shot but not killed themselves or someone else in 2013

There is a need for a return to ‘well-regulated gun ownership

We cannot deny that guns pose a real danger to innocent American lives and especially to children. While no one is “coming to take the guns” of responsible people, there is still is a need to reach a compromise in addressing gun violence. I do not have all the answers, but I know that responsible citizens know that something must be done to curb these senseless deaths of small children and those they accidently kill.

While some people refuse to accept any limits on gun ownership, Americans simply do not have the right to circumvent personal restrictions that protect society as a whole. They can drink and they can drive, but we know that they cannot mix the two. They have free speech, but they cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theater. They have the Fourth Amendment, but They still submit to searches of their bodies and belongings for the sake of air safety.

Gun owners who worship the Second Amendment should recognize the “well-regulated” aspect of gun ownership that the forefathers intended. Instead. The Americans have a gun lobby that bribes senators to vote against background checks and gun culture that welcomes a 3-year-old as a lifetime NRA member.

Over 7,000 children were hospitalized or killed due to gun violence every year, according to a new study published in 2013 in the medical journal Pediatrics. An additional 3,000 children die from gun injuries before making it to the hospital, bringing the total number of injured or killed adolescents to 10,000 each year.

I don`t know how many children died each year after 2013 in the US but I presume that a great many more small children are dying or are accidentally killing other human beings because of the stupidity of the owners of those guns.

I have chosen the United States in describing this problem since it has the worst record in the world for accidental shootings by and of children. I could hardly choose Japan since its gun laws are so strict, no one in that country has ever been accidentally shot with a gun. Even with Canada`s strict gun laws, there have been some accidental gun shootings but they are rare. Unless the Americans recognize just how serious their problems is with respect to lax gun laws, more small children will be killed by other small children or they will kill other small children, teenagers  or adults.

No comments: