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Friday, January 11, 2013

This American Death

Posted by on Fri, Jan 11, 2013 at 4:27 PM

A 12-year-old Pleasant Valley, Alabama boy was with his 12-year-old cousin when he went inside to get the 20-gauge shotgun he had received as a Christmas present. He wanted to show his cousin his new gun. He brought the gun outside and was showing it to his cousin, who was on a trampoline, when he unintentionally discharged the gun and shot his cousin in the chest. "The injuries were too severe and the young man was pronounced dead at the Jacksonville hospital," said the local sheriff. The sheriff doesn't expect any charges to be filed. Alabama does not have any law that prohibits allowing a child access to firearms.


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ANYONE with the money can buy a swimming pool. The "safety laws" aren't so effective if you look at the death toll. Pools are children traps. No one gives a damn if they drown, I guess.
Posted by ringo on January 24, 2013 at 10:19 AM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 43
Haley spouted:
Don't even get me started on swimming pools.

That's a stupid, stupid example. See, the thing is, every goddamn state and county building code controls swimming pools, requiring safety devices. You absolutely cannot build a swimming pool without also forking out the expense of several safety measures that the law requires. Fences. Stairs. Things designed and required BY LAW to make your pool safer.

The 'Yay Guns' crowd absolutely does not want to see any safety laws passed ever that would make guns any bit safer. Can you imagine the shitstorm they would have if your local county council passed laws incorporated into their building codes that required gun owners to do things like keep trigger locks on their guns, keep their guns locked in safes, and undergo mandatory gun safety training?

Can you imagine that, Haley?

The 'swimming pools kill people too' analogy is utterly stupid and false.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on January 14, 2013 at 5:23 AM · Report this
42 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
My 8-year-old son has his own rifle. (Yes, yes, horrible, evil, blah blah blah). But it is never, ever kept loaded and it's kept locked up. The ammunition for it is kept locked in a separate location. He's never allowed to use it without supervision. This is the same way my parents handled things when I started shooting as a child, even after I was an accomplished competitive shooter (I got my pro-marksman certificate at age 12). It was the same for my husband when his grandfather was teaching him to shoot. The only reason I'm even posting this here in a very anti-gun environment is to point out that very few people would defend giving a 12-year-old free access to a loaded shotgun. Even the most die-hard gun lovers wouldn't think this a good idea. Some parents are idiots. The bottom line is that the vast majority of gun owners care very much about gun safety. This sort of stupidity is not representative of gun owners, any more than the parents of the 87 babies left alone to drown in bathtubs each year are representative of all parents. (That's just bathtubs. Don't even get me started on swimming pools.) I just get the feeling that most gun-control advocates picture the rest of us as having loaded guns laying around, or that we don't realize they're dangerous. It couldn't be further from the truth.
Posted by Haley on January 13, 2013 at 11:03 PM · Report this
It's not a matter of trusting a 12-year-old or any other minor. Even though there were guns in my household, there was little to no trust for us to handle them responsibly. They and their (separately stored) ammunition were stored in a place that, outside of getting our hands on a few sticks of dynamite, there was no way for us to access them. We were permitted to use them ONLY when an adult who had been well-trained in their use was within arm's reach, and was the only one who could get them out, load them, and give them to us. And then only in appropriate situations (hunting in the field when we were old enough and had been trained well enough to do so, before that in a gun range with LOTS of rules).

NO ONE should have a gun that is accessible to ANYONE who cannot be trusted 100% to only use it responsibly, and that includes leaving the gun vulnerable to theft when they're outside their home or having it accessible to ANYONE under 18 or ANYONE who has displayed a modicum of imbalance or irresponsibility in any way. When my home was burglarized, and I told my brother about it, the first thing he said was "good thing you didn't have a gun in the house." I kind of scowled at him and he said "yeah, I guess it would have been locked up, huh?" Um, yeah. Even though I didn't turn into a sportswoman, I learned the same lessons you did. I won't have a gun, but if I decided I wanted one for some strange reason, you bet your bottom that it would take a heroic effort for anyone besides me to get to it, and the same effort to get to the ammunition.
Posted by Ms. D on January 13, 2013 at 7:31 PM · Report this
Remember everyone, we only ban *cribs* after a few dozen deaths.…
Posted by gromm on January 12, 2013 at 8:20 PM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 38
@32: Motor vehicle accidents are #1. Which is why no one gives a 12 year old a fucking car for Christmas. What is your point?
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on January 12, 2013 at 8:18 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 37
@26- I agree, as a kid who got his first .22 at 11. BUT- we were never allowed to play with TOY guns at 5yo without learning gun safety and treating them as if they were real weapons that could kill someone. That went for the BB guns at 8yo. By the time the .22 at 11 was given, these things were ingrained. Yet still, there was never any handling of 'my' gun allowed without adult supervision, and had that rule been violated (not easy, since things were locked up at all times), who knows whether I'd have ever gotten my hands on a firearm again.
But we got spankings, too, when things wrong were done.
@36- It's the impulse shootings that cause me to think some amount of gun sales regulation, safety training, and yes, even licensing requiring X amount of training to own one.
I do not own a gun for the simple reason that I don't trust my self not to use one in a state of frustrated rage- either on others or myself. Yet, as John Stewart says, the NRA-ers will not bring ONE GODDAMN THING to the table to talk. NOT ONE THING, in the face of a slaughtering of 6yo's. This is the price for Freedom, as the NRA nuts like to say; live with it Amurika.
Posted by OutInBumF on January 12, 2013 at 7:16 PM · Report this
@14 Gun control laws won't stop *every* stupid gunman at cinemas and schools, but a lot of those crimes are crimes of impulse, and it's reasonable to suppose that some of those crimes of impulse wouldn’t have happened if the nutcase had needed to obtain his own gun from a stranger instead of just picking up a few of the guns his mother had left lying around the house. That hypothesis is consistent with the rate of gunshot injuries and deaths being a lot lower in Canada than in the States. And, as someone who does live in a country with effective gun control laws, and, perhaps more important, where gun ownership is seen as a privilege not a right, in practice (contrary to what the NRA may have told you) criminals don't use guns much here. Someone making their living as a criminal wants to get money without getting the attention of the police. Here in Canada showing a gun while committing a crime is like waving a big sign saying "Hey police - don't worry about those other crimes, focus your attention on solving mine!"

@10 Obesity kills a lot more Americans than drunk driving ever did. I take it you're in favour of the right to drive while drunk?

@30 That's a pretty bigoted statement. And what does cousin marriage have to do with anything? How does it hurt you if two cousins want to marry? Or is that an argument that only applies to the marriage of people you like (gays) and not people you don't like (Alabamans)? Lots of cultured people have married cousins (e.g. Charles Darwin).

Not marrying your cousin isn’t an imposition for people living in large, modern cities with excellent mass transportation and communication. It was a bit more of a hassle if you lived in a rural area during a time when rich people could travel by horse and snail mail and rumor were the only means of communication with the outside world. And no, the eugenics argument is very weak at best and opens up a whole lot of other cans of worms.
Posted by Old Crow on January 12, 2013 at 4:55 PM · Report this
NotSean 35
@29 A 'young adult'. Maybe.
An 'older child'? No.

Though, the difference can be hard to tell sometimes.
Posted by NotSean on January 12, 2013 at 2:29 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 34
@33: I noticed that too.

@everyone else: The Future Mrs. Dr. Awesome's one-year-old nephew got a 22 rifle for X-mas last year. The kid was one year old.

Now, Dad will keep the gun from him until he's actually old enough to use it (at, I dunno, seven maybe). But to think that Dad believes a one-year-old should even be gifted a gun is boggling.

Oh. And the kid is now two, and knows how to cock and shoot a gun. He's never fired a real gun, but he can mimic all the required actions necessary. At two years old.

Posted by Dr_Awesome on January 12, 2013 at 2:26 PM · Report this
sperifera 33
Kind of funny how 5280, CascadianBacon and all the other gunnutwhackjobs are silent on this one, huh?
Posted by sperifera on January 12, 2013 at 12:08 PM · Report this


Causes of accidental death by age group

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on January 12, 2013 at 9:44 AM · Report this
Ziggity 31
@10: How many 12-year-olds in Alabama (or anywhere for that matter) die from obesity or diabetes?
Posted by Ziggity on January 12, 2013 at 8:59 AM · Report this
Skye Blu 30
Makes sense as Alabama is one of those states where the age of consent is 13 and there are no laws against cousin-marraige. The rest just follows.
Posted by Skye Blu on January 12, 2013 at 8:08 AM · Report this
@27, every tragic situation you mention has its roots in guns not being carefully secured by the adults in the situation.

My gun was *my* gun, but it lived in my father's locked gun cabinet.

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong in an older child owning a gun. I think there's something seriously wrong about any person of any age owning a gun who doesn't respect it as the deadly tool that it is and handle it in a safe manner.

I also think that gun ownership should be contingent upon completion of a seriously stringent training program and psychological evaluation.
Posted by MarleyBarley on January 12, 2013 at 7:44 AM · Report this
@15 -

"Surely, hopefully (?) this would be one area where both sides could agree. Seems there would be very little downside and plenty of upside to making it against the law to provide children with access to guns."

One would think that. But a couple years ago in Alaska, I read an editorial in the Anchorage Daily News that talked about how requiring everyone to have a license before they had a gun was going to ruin Christmas because the writer could no longer surprise his children, 12 and 8, with guns, they were going to have to know in advance.
Posted by Angela P on January 12, 2013 at 7:12 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 27
@26: so, what we learn is that SOME 12 year olds CAN be trusted to use hunting rifles responsibly. obviously, SOME others can not.

of course, all the gun safety practices in the world are not 100% safe, so i guess we'll just have to live with a certain percentage of rural 12 year olds killing playmates. or 8 year olds bringing unsecured handguns on the school bus. or 16 year olds mistaking hikers on a trail for a bear. or 60 year old vice presidents shooting friends in the face.

Posted by Max Solomon on January 12, 2013 at 7:00 AM · Report this
@24/25 - Maybe I was an extraordinary 12-y-o, but I don't think so. I am not some gun-worshiping wacko, guns scare the ever-loving bejeezus out of me and I will never be a collector/enthusiast. But to say that tween-age kids cannot be trained to be careful around guns is simply incorrect.

I got my first - and only - gun (a 20-gauge shotgun) as a Christmas gift when I was 12 - because I had finished a gun and hunting safety course and wanted to go deer hunting with my father and brother. I live in rural SE Ohio where people who don't hunt are much more the exception than people who do. I grew up around other kids who participated in hunting. Every single one of us treated guns with the utmost respect.

My experience growing up with guns has much in common with @20's - we were taught that guns are dangerous tools, they must be kept locked away safely, they must never be left loaded, they must be stored in a separate place from the ammunition.

It is basic gun safety and common sense - the VERY FIRST thing you do when you pick up a gun is to point it in a safe direction and check to see if it's loaded, and remove all bullets/cartridges from the chamber if it IS loaded and you are not prepared to shoot at your carefully-chosen target. It is absolutely negligent and horrific that this child was allowed to hold and own a gun without having had that simple rule drilled into his/her head until it was instinct.

You touch a gun. You check the chamber. First thing, every time.
Posted by MarleyBarley on January 12, 2013 at 6:11 AM · Report this
sissoucat 25
Recreational fishers, now, everybody likes them. And it's safe enough.

How hard is it to gift a fishing rod instead of a gun to your 12 year old ?
Posted by sissoucat on January 12, 2013 at 4:29 AM · Report this
sissoucat 24
@1 and 12, Wow. Just wow.

Read 23 and understand what a child is.

@21 I totally agree with you.

I was raised and live in a place with no gun culture. Some people had hunting guns in the country, true - guns that can only shoot twice, and with cartridges containing many 2mm diameter pellets. Not before 16 or 17 would they gift their children with one. Even then, there were accidents.

Not many people here like hunters, because of their guns. They are seen as potentially murdeous assholes with anger issues.
Posted by sissoucat on January 12, 2013 at 4:24 AM · Report this
Downlow 23
It's not about training a 12 y.o. to safely handle a gun. It's about recognizing that 12 y.o. cannot be trained to safely handle a gun EVERY TIME! That's because they are 12! And it doesn't matter how other kids died today, THAT kid did not have to die. That family did not have to be torn apart, nor the killer's, nor their friends. It IS about the guns -- no gun, no death that day on that trampoline. Horrible story.
Posted by Downlow on January 12, 2013 at 3:12 AM · Report this
mr. herriman 22
One of my family members, my mother's cousin, maybe, shot and killed his best friend/neighbor when he was only six. He'd taken daddy's rifle out and they were running off somewhere to shoot at cans - the other kid was ahead of him when he tripped and fell, shot the other kid in the back. This was probably 50 years ago, at least, and it torments him to this day. (Oh, and yes, this was also in Alabama). I feel bad enough just for losing the details after hearing the story - I can't even imagine what it would feel like to be part of the story. It's absolutely fucking tragic beyond comprehension that people take these risks with their children, be they the victims or the unintentional perpetrators.

Fuck that. They're all victims.
Posted by mr. herriman on January 12, 2013 at 2:50 AM · Report this
NotSean 21
@1 The gun issue has always been about irresponsibility and selfishness. Gun culture is just the setting.
Posted by NotSean on January 12, 2013 at 12:59 AM · Report this
12 was the minimum age to hunt in my home state, and so that was the age my brother "got" his first gun (while I would call my family sexist on some regards, this is not dad asked me if I wanted to go hunting with him and I told him I did not). However, unlike this kid, he would NEVER have been dragging it outside to show his friend(s). Just like the guns my brother owns now, all the guns in our home were locked in a safe that we didn't have the combination to (even today, I don't have the combination to his gun safe...he'd give it to me if I asked, but I never have), and, by 12, we knew that guns were only to be loaded if we intended on using them to kill something.

The problem with most of the 2nd Amendment types is that they want their guns but they don't want the responsibility that comes with owning them. Okay, fine, you have a right to own an object that can easily kill things, including other people. But, as much as you don't want to hear it, you have a responsibility to handle that object carefully. You should ensure that it is not used beyond its intended purpose....which means protecting it from both theft and negligent use by your family members or, even, yourself. If you want to own a gun, you should ALSO own a gun safe, and take a thorough training course. You should train your family members on how to responsibly handle a gun, up to and including having EVERYONE in the household take shooting and safety courses. Your guns should be completely inaccessible to ALL minors in your home except when you specifically permit them to use them WITH SUPERVISION. You and all your family members should not handle firearms when intoxicated, except under the most extreme self-defense circumstances. My NRA-member family handled and continues to handle their guns in this manner, much like they were a live grenade. Accidents happen, and its your responsibility to make sure that those accidents don't involve loaded guns in irresponsible hands.
Posted by Ms. D on January 11, 2013 at 11:29 PM · Report this
This sort of thing didn't used to be all that uncommon. My father got a .22 rifle and a bottle of 100 proof bourbon for his 12th birthday and he didn't grow up in Alabama.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 11, 2013 at 11:27 PM · Report this
No. No. No. No. No. And yet, this will cause but a ripple in the greater tide of events. I can't read any more of these stories and it's not even my own child. What the fuck is wrong with these powerless-feeling people who feel the inalienable urge to arm children? This is precisely the sort of act for which we condemn people from another continent (Africa, South America, etc. etc.), and yet this will cause no one of power in this country of profound privilege to blink an eye.
Posted by katallred on January 11, 2013 at 10:57 PM · Report this
watchout5 17
I care more about gun regulations because of this than I have any school shooting.
Posted by watchout5 on January 11, 2013 at 10:50 PM · Report this
Westlake, son! 16
Roll tide!
Posted by Westlake, son! on January 11, 2013 at 9:42 PM · Report this
mr. herriman 15
Exactly, Charlie @14. Surely, hopefully (?) this would be one area where both sides could agree. Seems there would be very little downside and plenty of upside to making it against the law to provide children with access to guns.
Posted by mr. herriman on January 11, 2013 at 8:47 PM · Report this
This is the sort of gun death that would be prevented by reasonable laws that would require law-abiding citizens to be responsible gun-owners by requiring safety training, proper storage, and reasonable security of firearms.

No, gun control laws will not stop lifetime criminals. Gun control laws will not stop mad gunmen in cinemas or schools. But laws that regulate gun ownership will stop this stupid kind of shit which represents the greatest gun threat to ordinary Americans.
Posted by Charlie Mas on January 11, 2013 at 8:08 PM · Report this
john t 13
Just another ritual child sacrifice to appease the gun gods. This boy died for a higher purpose: so that we may continue to enjoy our Freedom!
Posted by john t on January 11, 2013 at 7:21 PM · Report this
@1 is right. This is parental negligence. Someone gave that child a gun but didn't teach him how to use it safely. You'd think people who liked guns enough to give one to their kid as a present would know enough about them to know that they're not toys.

Does Alabama have any laws preventing children from driving cars?
Posted by DRF on January 11, 2013 at 7:08 PM · Report this
Twelve years old and you give him a shotgun. How stupid can you be? Twelve years old! There's no words. I've read some crazy stuff over the years, but this takes the cake, I swear to god. I honestly can't think of a story about a stupider, more incompetent parent. You could hand this kid over to a pair of chipmunks and he'd probably be better off. Way to go Southern rednecks. Don't try to perpetuate the stereotype, or anything.
Posted by floater on January 11, 2013 at 6:57 PM · Report this
McBomber 10
I'm with #1. This tragic story has less to do with guns than with parental negligence. Plus, I would guess that obesity and diabetes kill far more Alabamans than shotguns do.
Posted by McBomber on January 11, 2013 at 6:14 PM · Report this
sirkowski 9
Let me show you my loaded shotgun while jumping on this trampoline.
Posted by sirkowski on January 11, 2013 at 5:58 PM · Report this
Roma 8
Terrible. And it brings back a sad memory from long ago. I was nearing the end of my paper route when I saw an ambulance in front of the home of a junior high school classmate, Scott. I found out that another classmate, Randy, had been visiting him, Scott was showing off the shotgun he had received for a birthday present, "didn't know it was loaded", and it went off, blasting Randy in the face, and killing him. Randy was one of the most popular kids at our school (envision a young Robert Redford) and, partly because of that, Scott was ostracized, and, shortly thereafter, transferred to another junior high school.
Posted by Roma on January 11, 2013 at 5:48 PM · Report this
Lew Siffer 7
Who else died today and by what means? Oh, I forgot, that doesn't matter.
Posted by Lew Siffer on January 11, 2013 at 5:45 PM · Report this
Dougsf 6
@3 - I thought that's what Alababoys grew up to be.
Posted by Dougsf on January 11, 2013 at 5:44 PM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 5
If only the cousin on the trampoline had had his own gun*, this tragedy could have been avoided.

*(with him, I mean. On the trampoline.)
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on January 11, 2013 at 5:15 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 4
Well you know the NRA is all about "freedom not being Free" and the NRA is willing and happy that children can also pay the price so that people can have the freedom to own a gun. A few kids pay the price of freedom with their lives so that others may have guns. The NRA is all about freedom.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 11, 2013 at 5:03 PM · Report this
*Alabamans. Apparently I'm the one with a plank in my eye when it comes to poor education.
Posted by DisorganizedReligion on January 11, 2013 at 4:37 PM · Report this
Who says a generation of Alabaman's are growing up not learning about natural selection?
Posted by DisorganizedReligion on January 11, 2013 at 4:36 PM · Report this
Jesus. It's reasonable to think that gun culture was a contributing factor, but this is a parental negligence issue above all else. If his parents thought it was a good idea for a pre-teen to be allowed unsupervised access to firearms, I'm surprised he made it to 12.
Posted by doceb on January 11, 2013 at 4:35 PM · Report this

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