A danger to children

Unsupervised guns, and some lifestyles, prove a great peril to kids

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Guns aren’t toys.

But keeping them away from kids? That’s child’s play.

So why do kids continue to get shot?

Last week alone in the Augusta area, a 10-year-old Hephzibah boy was shot and killed and a 13-year-old Harlem girl was shot in the face and seriously wounded and later died, in separate incidents involving kids and guns. In both cases, another youth was handling or playing with a gun when it discharged.

Compounding these tragedies is the ease with which they could’ve been prevented. Guns absolutely must be stored safely, and not within the reach of children. If not needed at the ready, they should be locked against firing.

And if you must have guns in the same house as children, teach them to respect and fear them – and, at the appropriate time, how to handle them. Experts and courses are at your fingertips.

One very basic instruction: Never, ever, point a gun at someone unless you intend to use it in self-defense.

“We went through this same scenario when I was mayor in 1999-2000, and knew we had to act,” former Mayor Bob Young wrote to us after the second shooting last week. “With private donations we provided for free over 5,000 gun locks with the training in how to properly use them ... Not taking all the credit, but I’m sure the locks served a purpose, because we did not have any more dead and wounded children.”

Project ChildSafe, part of the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Project HomeSafe program, also offers free gun locks and educational materials. See www.kidsandguns.org.

Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength said gun locks are good, but can leave you defenseless. A better strategy, he says, is simply to make your gun inaccessible to minors – and that means more than under the sofa.

In the case of the second shooting last week, the gun owner appears to have been not only negligent, but actively so: The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office says Richard Wayne Provance, 54, was charged with drug possession and manufacture, as well as possession of a gun during commission of a crime. No adults were in the home with the middle schoolers – but authorities say guns and drugs were.

As an aside – but a pretty doggone significant aside – we’ve been told by the “mainstream” media for decades now that lifestyles aren’t all that important; that we shouldn’t be “judgmental” of the choices people make; and that “it ain’t nobody’s business if I do.”

Well, guess what: We’ve been sold a lie. Lifestyles do matter: When you’ve got drugs and guns lying around your house and you exhibit the reckless use of both to young people – and then leave them alone in the house with such things – tragedies can result. If nothing else, children in such homes, and their friends, are introduced to self-destructive, self-limiting and dangerous lifestyles.

Sorry, media: Not all lifestyles are born equal.

And as for it being nobody’s business what you do: Certainly it’s a free country, but your behavior has consequences – not just for yourself, but for others. In the Harlem shooting case, a family has lost a precious young lady, and the taxpayers are picking up the tab for the criminal cases involved and for the custody of the 14-year-old young man behind the shooting, as the father, Provance, has been rightly stripped of custody.

Tragically, it’s suddenly become our business in this

Still, you don’t need to be so over-the-edge negligent to be a danger to children. If you’ve got guns in any home that children either live in or visit, get those weapons secured and out of the reach of children.

It’s so simple it’s child’s play.

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Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 04/03/12 - 03:53 am
A hedonistic popular media

A hedonistic popular media and many of our kids themselves are "rearing" our next generation. "It's all about me" has triumphed as a personal philosophy for too many procreators.

When will responsible folk come together to institute formal and informal social controls upon irresponsible procreators to stop our race toward "A Clockword Orange" society?

Riverman1 04/03/12 - 07:49 am
It's a complicated subject,

It's a complicated subject, although securing weapons is simple enough. Poor, dysfunctional households exhibit unrealistic beliefs and behavior that's off the grid often. That's not saying every poor family is dysfunctional either, some overcome. But that whole life doesn't give you the knowledge and desire to take a multi-vitamin daily and rotate your tires every few months. Those kids that make it, do IT the hard way.

scott-hudson 04/03/12 - 08:55 am
When my Emerson was three, I

When my Emerson was three, I showed her "Daddy's Bammer" and explained to her the importance of never touching it. When she was five I took her out to the country and let her shoot my .22 one shot bolt action rifle that was manufactured in the early 1920's. Guns in my home are secure, but Em knows the effect of shooting a gun. Any parent that exercises their Second Amendment right must understand that right comes with responsibility. Naturally, drugs and guns in a house with kids is eventually going to lead to a tragedy.

TParty 04/03/12 - 09:04 am
Always remember, guns don't

Always remember, guns don't kill people, people kill people. If there were no guns in the house, the kids would have played with knives. And if you take guns away, only criminals would have guns... what else am I missing?

allhans 04/03/12 - 10:05 am
Charge the negligent parent

Charge the negligent parent with the crime committed and make the punishment fit the crime.
A few tough sentences handed down might get someones attention.

Bizkit 04/03/12 - 10:25 am
The problem is teaching gun

The problem is teaching gun safety. I doubt many children died during colonial times from "playing" with a gun. In fact since the Consitution evoked the right to tote em, I don't think accidents have had an impact on the population. Simple rule my Pop taught me-Always treat a gun as if it is loaded, and NEVER point a gun at anyone. It isn't rocket science. Perhaps this is more an indictment of our society and a lack of parental instruction. Play with knife and you'll likely get cut too. Perhaps we glorify gangsta's and criminals too much. I remember playing war and cowboy and indians, but I never bothered with my Pops arsenal. Perhaps this Flynn effect is a crock and our youth are really a bunch of morons who don't have sense to not play with a gun. Good Grief!!!! Outlaw hot coffee because people get burned-despite the idiotic warnings. Why not ban all the violent video games, sports, etc. because it is teaching our youth violence-and then they go play with guns. Jeesh.

fedex227 04/03/12 - 09:22 pm
"So why do kids continue to

"So why do kids continue to get shot?"

Americans are idiots, that's why. The United States ranks 4th in the world in gun deaths,- twice as many as the Philippines and Mexico in 2011. Gun advocates continue to operate under that misconception that if they teach their 5-year old how to safely operate a firearm that all is good (it was good enough when my daddy taught me- I'll teach my kid how to respect a loaded weapon and all will be fine). Wrong - a child is a child is a child. They will lie, they will cheat, they will misbehave. And thanks to gun-totin', don't tread on my 2nd Amendment rights advocates they now have access to guns- and things like this are bound to happen. But of course we're much better off for it. This is the culture you've created. Live with it.

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