Sunday, September 29, 2013

Child Gun Violence: 'America Needs an Enema'

How long before we see how wrong this is?
The New York Times has conducted a new study of firearm deaths among children and discovered that the NRA's contention that most of these deaths are homicides caused by criminals is wildly incorrect. (Story here.)

In fact, in most of the states where it conducted its survey, the rate of accidental death--child to child shooting--is more than twice what is reported because of the reporting methods used by states. The death of a person caused by another is often reported as a homicide, whether or not that is the case. For example, one case had a two-year-old shooting his nine-month-old sibling--while in a crib--resulted in a "homicide" finding, which was clearly not the case. Says a Georgia medical examiner, "A homicide just means they died at the hands of another. It doesn’t really connote there’s an intent to kill.”

The NRA opposes all efforts to keep guns out of the hands of children, which is an irony since one of the reasons the organization was founded years ago was to teach children gun safety. Now the NRA is in the business of preventing gun safety. Even the kind of technology that makes aspirin caps difficult for children to open is offbase with the NRA. It seems to want anybody to have access to guns all the time and with the ability to shoot anything they want any time they want. The stance helps gun manufacturers' profits and that's what the NRA's only reason for existence is these days.

Here's how absurd this all gets, according to the story: "Even self-inflicted shootings that are clearly accidental, like that of Lucas Heagren in Ohio, can wind up classified as homicides. Lucas’s father, Joshua Heagren, had tried to teach the 3-year-old to respect firearms. The boy had gotten a .22 rifle for Christmas, and his father showed him how to fire it. But he also warned him to handle it only when an adult was present." The boy was killed by an unsecured rifle. But the question is: What in the hell is a three-year-old doing with a rifle--of his own?

Gun politics has been far, far out of balance for 30 years and like so much the right wing does, once it goes over the line, it's almost impossible to bring it back to within reasonable limits. There is no longer outrage at the mass killing of children, of a three-year-old gun owner, of abusive husbands shooting their wives, of boys getting mad in a bar and shooting each other, of the spate of suicides that simply would not happen without gun availability.

It is, sadly, just another sign of a culture that has outlived its good sense, its usefulness and its humanity. America needs an enema.


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