Gun instructor hands nine year old girl an Uzi

Now he’s dead.

So horrible.

This is a prolife issue.

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  • Dave G.

    It is horrible. But really, it’s a common sense issue. Something sorely lacking in our college educated generation.

    • Joseph

      I agree. This is less of an argument for gun control laws and more of an argument for laws against extremely stupid parents and shooting instructors. What in the hell kind of parenting is this? That girl’s parents have ruined her life and killed a rather stupid shooting instructor in the process… who needs to teach a 9-year old how to fire an Uzi?

      • Donna

        This seems less a prolife issue than it is Darwin Awards bait.

        • cmfe

          Donna, I am so ashamed to admit that my first thought when I heard the news was “Darwin Award”. Just wish it didn’t involve a kid, poor thing.

    • Andy

      It is not just in college educated individuals, lack of common sense is national shame for many, many people, it affects all, I am afraid.

      • Dave G.

        No. Not just. And to be honest some of the wisest people I’ve known had the least formal education.

    • cmfe

      I heard the guy from “Bullets Burgers or whatever they called it. I’d venture to say that over-education isn’t the issue here.

  • Sus_1

    I really doubt our founding fathers intended for us to pervert the meaning of the second amendment by using it to kill one another. I’d love to know what they would think about the gun situation in our country today.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

      They would likely be more appalled at United States v Miller than District of Columbia v Heller. The status quo ante of the Miller regime was predicated on a government lie (sawed off shotgun had most recently been used in the military of WWI under the name trench guns) and argued in front of the US Supreme Court by only one side, which is a travesty of due process. They would be most appalled, however, by the legally unsupported idea that military arms are not to be possessed by civilians, which is one of the only redeeming features of Miller and the core of the blatant know knothingism at the core of the gun control movement.

      The instructor made a terrible, deadly mistake that has nothing to do with age and everything to do with upper body strength and weight. He paid the ultimate price for it. The shooter was too small for that gun, at that setting, and was too immature to know any better.

      Tightening up instructor training requirements, perhaps with an additional endorsement for training the kid set would be appropriate so that if you’re going to be training young, light kids, you’ve received specific instruction on handling the issues involved (mostly they’re too young to understand their bodies so you better understand what’s too big for them in their place). This is not rocket science and would require a simple ballpark test of upper body strength so you know what you’re dealing with.

  • kenofken

    I have no sympathy whatsoever for the instructor in this case. I have no more capacity at all for sympathy with willful stupidity. Natural selection works. It’s terrible that a young girl was made the agent of such a senseless tragedy.

    • Dave G.

      I actually do. Despite the carelessness and the stupidity involved. But then I also feel for his loved ones.

    • Procopius

      I Think the character Ricky from the Trailer Park Boys says it best (Warning: Profanity)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifSnY3BO04Y

  • Michael

    That was about the same age when my dad first took me out to shoot. I’ve known plenty of other gun enthusiasts who started shooting around the same age and even younger. This isn’t an issue particularly about guns but rather about a parent and an instructor putting something into the hands of a child that they obviously couldn’t handle. I wouldn’t sit my child in a semi and tell them to go drive it but i wouldn’t have an issue putting them in a go-kart and letting them take it around a track.

    • Heather

      I’m no gun enthusiast myself but I certainly understand that many responsible people take part in various activities involving firearms (target shooting, hunting, etc). And if that’s what your family does and you have a strong understanding of gun safety, by all means let your nine year old try an appropriate type of gun. There is no rational universe where “appropriate for a nine year old” would ever include “Uzi.” (Personally if it was my kid I’d consider “appropriate” to mean “airsoft” or other replica firearm that really shoots but is specifically designed not to be lethal, because accidents happen.)

      I find it appalling that a military weapons playground of that nature is open to young children at all. That poor kid.

      • Michael

        Though my dad wasn’t a big gun enthusiast he did own a number of guns as did the parents of many of my friends. We were all taught gun safety and more importantly we were allowed to handle and shoot the guns safely under adult supervision. What this did was to rid of that natural curiosity we as kids have for things we’re not allowed to touch. We were also taught not to touch them unless we asked our dad and he was there to supervise – the same went for all my friends. We developed a healthy respect for them, not a fear of them.

        My dad and many of my friends fathers guns were never locked up and were often times loaded. My dad kept his out of view in a location where visiting children wouldn’t find them but we always knew where they were. Some of my friends had them in glass gun cabinets or hanging from wall racks. Gun safes were pretty much unheard of among those I hung out with.

        We had a “hunters safety” course (really a gun safety course) we had to attend in Jr. High school. And it wasn’t uncommon to see some of the kids who lived out on ranches or farms drive to school with a rifle or shotgun hanging from a rack on the back window of their trucks. In all those years there was not one accidental or intentional shooting.

  • Jacob

    whatever happened to starting with a .22? Submachineguns without a stock, especially uzis, are notoriously difficult to control for a novice. I feel more sorry for the girl than for the instructor, since she will live with this for the rest of her life while hopefully he has met his reward.

  • MarylandBill

    Mark, Its fine to claim this is a pro-life issue, but what exact limits are you suggesting? Banning all guns is not practical and probably not possible. Likewise, I would point out that regulations already severely restrict the ability of private individuals to own fully automatic weapons (The gun range presumably had to meet a large number of requirements to own that uzi).

    • chezami

      Offhand, I’d say a law forbidding gun instructors from handing children Uzis would not be a bad idea.

      • KM

        But Mark….what about Freedom(tm)? /sarc

    • Marthe Lépine

      It seems to me that not everything needs to be settled by legislation, since it is impossible to legislate good-will or common sense. What I think Mark might be trying to do is raise awareness about the stupidity of the “gun culture” in your country and try to get at least some of his readers to begin to think “out of the box” about the proliferation of firearms among regular citizens.Of course it is just my impression, I certainly cannot read Mark’s mind, but it is what I get from reading his comments on guns, and I would encourage Mark to keep doing it, since it is certainly a pro-life issue.

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    I agree. Stupid adults are a pro-life issue.

  • Pete the Greek

    Speaking as a gun guy….

    What this guy did was beyond retarded.

    Having fired automatics of various types myself, I would never hand one to an adult who wasn’t shown how to properly operate it, let alone a child.

  • Phillip

    But this case, once again, tragically highlights the absolute insanity of “gun culture” in America. There is zero reason for a 9yr old to be firing an automatic weapon. Hunting with Dad and grandpa, fine. But gearing up young kids due to some sick, mad max, post apocalyptic fantasy world or paranoid fear about “government” is stupid and this situation is the result.

    Nothing wrong with the 2nd amendment. Nothing wrong with owning guns and teaching kids when age appropriate the basics, but a 9yr old with an Uzi smacks of a deeper pathos and level of rank stupidity in this country than really should be considered normal. It’s not.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      In my state, even hunting requires one to be at least 12 and pass a gun safety course first. A 9 year old with an Uzi is just plain madness.

    • KM

      And TPM has more to this story:

      “The dusty outdoor range calls itself the Bullets and Burgers Adventure and touts its “Desert Storm atmosphere.”

      Yep, because whenever my kids and I sit down to eat a burger and have some fun, we naturally think about shooting stuff. Yeah, Murica! /sarcasm

      This is part of the “gun tourism” industry which I’ve never heard of. Whatever happened to good ol’ paint ball and laser tag? Guess that stuff is too wussy these days.

      Even more shocking is that the instructor who was killed was a military veteran who should have known better:

      “Sam Scarmardo, who operates the outdoor range in Arizona where the instructor was killed, said…”I have regret we let this child shoot, and I have regret that Charlie was killed in the incident,” Scarmardo said. He said he doesn’t know what went wrong, pointing out that Vacca was an Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

      http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/gun-tourism-grows-in-popularity-in-recent-years

      • KM

        P.S. Irony: Surviving tours of duty in terrorist-laden Iraq and Afghanistan, only to be killed accidentally at a fun gun range by an innocent young girl in America.

        Yeah, Murica!

        • Joseph

          It’s like ra-eee-aaaaaaain on your wedding day…

      • Pete the Greek

        “Yep, because whenever my kids and I sit down to eat a burger and have some fun, we naturally think about shooting stuff. Yeah, Murica! /sarcasm”
        - We used to do that all the time when we lived out in the country. More fun than bowling.

        “Whatever happened to good ol’ paint ball and laser tag? Guess that stuff is too wussy these days.”
        - No, that still get’s played. Airsoft is the big thing now I think.

        ” killed was a military veteran who should have known better:”
        - It’s not unheard of for kids to be very competent. I was at an early age, although not nearly so much as this girl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZE-EDGw2vo

        The nine year old may have been just fine firing semis, we aren’t told. The problem is that there is a different way of firing autos than semis. I still wouldn’t given him it to him to shoot, unless it was set to semi-only and I knew he had been taught how.

        • KM

          You were firing Uzis in the country? And I definitely look forward to rocket launchers and grenades being offered next on the kiddie “menu.” After that maybe it would be kinda fun for the kiddies to drive a tank and shoot a real cannon.

          Snark aside, I’m sure you and many other gun enthusiasts are quite competent. We have a trusted family friend who will be teaching my son about firearms soon so I have nothing against guns. I’m for responsible ownership and I think our society is getting confused about freedom v. responsibility.

          Anyway, carry on.

          • Pete the Greek

            “You were firing Uzis in the country?”
            - No, I’ve not fired an Uzi. I have fired an old Kalashnikov, an M-16A1 and a Soviet PPSH. All were pre-1986 imports/conversions and all in compliance with the National Firearms Act. The PPSH was actually the most fun.

            “And I definitely look forward to rocket launchers and grenades being offered next on the kiddie “menu.””
            - Meh, doubtful. These qualify as destructive devices and are under different legislation.

            “After that maybe it would be kinda fun for the kiddies to drive a tank and shoot a real cannon.”
            - You can do that, and buy demilled versions, right now as long as you want to spend the money. I knew a guy in Iowa who bought an old Soviet BDRM. To drive it on city roads is fine too, so long as you have the proper license for the vehicle type and it meets road standards.

            As for firing a canon, yeah, you can do that too. Just go to a Civil War reenactment.

            The actual age of the child I don’t think is the issue. It comes to a level of maturity. I would willingly teach my brother’s 8 year old with the little cricket .22 bolt I have. On the other hand I know a couple of 15 year olds I wouldn’t let near my firearms, even totally unloaded.

            I can’t speak to what the instructor was thinking, may he rest in peace.

            • KM

              Just one quibble. I don’t think children or adults are allowed to shoot cannons without supervision and permission. We visited Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento and they didn’t allow anyone except the certified experts to shoot the cannon there. Everyone had to stand at safe pre-arranged locations. I doubt I could have strolled up to them with my kids and asked if we could shoot the cannon.

              Most American kids aren’t that mature (based on my observation as a parent), even if their parents think they are. Mature kids are the exception. How is an instructor going to know what he/she is dealing with? The parents in the story probably thought their daughter was mature, but they were wrong. They did sign a waiver though but it didn’t do much to help the instructor.

              Anyway, that’s all I wanted to add. Have a good day.

              • Pete the Greek

                ” I doubt I could have strolled up to them with my kids and asked if we could shoot the cannon.”
                - Probably not. At the one we have locally they have a designated setup and you have to pay and then told exactly what to do, which is pretty much only pull the lanyard as the crew does everything else.

                “How is an instructor going to know what he/she is dealing with?”
                - I can only speak for myself: This is why, if at the rifle range I frequent, if a family came up to me and offered to pay me to allow their kid to shoot one of my rifles, I would decline, even if they signed a waiver.

                “Hey, no offense, sir, but I don’t know you, I don’t know your child. If this were an airsoft gun, sure, but sorry, no can do.”

        • Sus_1

          Why should guns be a source of entertainment?

          • Pete the Greek

            Why should cars? Why should the internet? Why should anything? Because they are fun.

            I’m not sure how the dumb idea leaked into people’s minds that anything not made of soft foam rubber, colored pink and stamped with a Disney logo should be considered drudgery and never be fun. These people really need to get out more.

            • Sus_1

              Why are guns fun?

              • Pete the Greek

                Why is fun fun?

                I could just as easily ask you why dancing if fun, as people keep insisting to me that it is. Personally, I don’t find it fun at all. You either find it fun or you don’t. If you don’t, do something else.

                • Sus_1

                  “Fun” has nothing to do with our second amendment rights. That’s exactly what I mean about how that amendment has been perverted.

                  • Pete the Greek

                    Ah yes, this is also why I think practicing Catholics should avoid all enjoyment in Catholicism as well, because enjoying the practicing of your faith is totally perverted and has nothing to do with the First Amendment.

                    Confirmed: You REALLY need to get out more. Or you could just stop talking about topics you don’t understand so that you stop making a laughing stock of yourself.

                    • Sus_1

                      Catholicism wasn’t created for the sole purpose of killing.

                    • Pete the Greek

                      To quote Lewis Black: “There’s not enough deodorant for this conversation.”

  • KM

    That poor little girl will likely be traumatized for the rest of her life, and may possibly never touch a gun again. At the least she’ll have nightmares when she sleeps and feel horrible guilt. Prayers for that little girl.

    (I have a daughter around this age. When my daughter broke her arm last year after tripping and falling in a NYC building while we were on vacation, she needed me by her side for many sleepless nights thereafter, and she said that she never wants to visit NYC ever again. So if my daughter had this kind of trauma over a broken arm, I can only imagine what the girl in this story will be experiencing.)

    • KM

      Why people are up in arms over this story:

      Pictured: Deadly icon: An Iraqi boy poses with an AK-47 assault rifle

      http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/01/20/article-0-0013DC2000000258-183_468x682.jpg

      From article at The Daily Mail about the book “The Gun: The A-47 and the Evolution of War by C.J. Chivvers” at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-1349008/The-gun-makes-killing-childs-play-THE-GUN-THE-AK-47-AND-THE-EVOLUTION-OF-WAR-BY-C-J-CHIVVERS.html

      • KM

        Oops – This was meant to go up by my other post further up about why this is a pro-life issue.

        • entonces_99

          Children carrying guns around for the purpose of shooting other human beings, yeah, that’s a pro-life issue. Children firing guns at a firing range, not so much. (Or if it is, then so is children diving off diving boards into swimming pools, not to mention children riding in automobiles, both of which are, I’d guess, more likely to result in death than firing guns at rifle ranges.)

          • KM

            It’s about cavalier acceptance of children handling weapons of war which leads to a new acceptable Disney-fied cultural norm. “Suzie, how would you like to fire an Uzi today? How fun!”

            Conservatives are always bleating about liberal media indoctrination but seem oblivious to their own in the name of freedom and conservatism. Having my daughter fire an Uzi isn’t part of her growth into a woman in the Catholic faith. I don’t care if other parents do it, but I do care that our culture accepts more of these behaviors as normal, modern fun for children.

            • entonces_99

              Do you seriously imagine that letting little Suzie fire an Uzi makes her more likely to want to kill people? Have you, in fact, ever fired a fully-automatic rifle? If you had, I suspect the experience (even if it didn’t result in a tragedy like the one under discussion here) would have left you with a greater respect for the damage it could do and, if anything, *less* likely to want to use it on people.

              Once you get past the fetishization of weapons, this is a pro-life issue in exactly the same way as the issue of whether to let little Suzie ride jet skis, operate power tools, or hang glide is a pro-life issue. That is to say, it’s a matter of simple safety.

              • KM

                And do you seriously imagine that letting little Suzie fire an Uzi is normal? Even secular non-Christian Americans and gun enthusiasts find a problem with this. Just google the news on this, and you’ll know the uproar it’s caused beyond the Catholic sphere.

                • entonces_99

                  It’s as normal as letting little Suzie pilot a plane (http://www.nytimes.com/1988/04/04/us/9-year-old-pilot-sets-cross-country-mark.html). (As we learned on 9/11, a plane can be just as lethal as an Uzi. Even a small plane like this, if crashed into a crowd, could kill a lot of people. Yet we don’t have an irrational phobia about planes, or think that letting children operate planes raises special “pro-life” concerns that aren’t raised by operation of any other dangerous equipment.

                  And instructors can get killed when instructors let children operate planes under unsafe conditions, just as much as when they let children operate automatic weapons unsafely: http://tech.mit.edu/V116/N18/pilot.18w.html. The fact that incidents like this didn’t cause an “uproar beyond the Catholic sphere” just tells me that people are irrational about guns in a way that they aren’t about planes.

                  • KM

                    Etonces, I’m not even sure what you’re arguing anymore. Public safety is a prolife issue, no argument there. So if thousands of people were dying from children flying planes, or using power tools, then that would become a public issue.

                    And to answer your question about would letting Suzi have an Uzi would make her more likely to kill? Probably not for her, but there are some kids who might, ex.: Sandy Hook shooter, and the other crazies over the years who emulate their favorite gun-toting hero, ex.: Virginia Tech killer, etc.

                    Anyway, the girl in the story accidentally killed someone so someone died even if not intentional. This is partly a public safety issue and bad parenting issue. To reiterate, public safety is a pro-life issue, just like when Mothers Against Drunk Driving were effective at reducing deaths by drunk drivers raising public education of the issues, and helping to pass laws.

                    • KM

                      From your link, “The FAA said it will reassess its policy allowing very young children to take the controls.” And that’s exactly what happened.

                      I do remember the 1996 story and it caused a huge uproar then. The FAA’s age limit has been changed to 17 for a private license, and 16 for private solo flights w/o passengers but with an instructor. Children as young as 8 can take lessons and operate some controls but the instructor always must be in control of the plane. http://www.samoanews.com/content/en/after-teen-pilots-crash-how-young-too-young

                      The gun range in the story has reportedly changed its age policy to a higher age (12), so that’s a recognition that perhaps their previous age limit wasn’t well thought out. Also there are other legal/regulatory problems the gun range had, including the loss of paperwork (liability waiver) that the parents had supposedly signed, so it sounds like there wasn’t much oversight or responsibility.

                    • entonces_99

                      My original point was that, if this incident is a pro-life issue, “then so is children diving off diving boards into swimming
                      pools, not to mention children riding in automobiles, both of which are,
                      I’d guess, more likely to result in death than firing guns at rifle
                      ranges.” Now, you tell me that “[p]ublic safety is a pro-life issue,” which sounds like you’re agreeing with me.

                      (By the way, “thousands of people” are *not* dying from children firing Uzis, or even firing any kind of guns on ranges. Thousands are killed by murderers, but I have no idea how many of them are children, and in any event I see no connection between those murderers and the kind of people who generally are to be found at firing ranges.)

                    • KM

                      Yeah public safety is a common good and a pro-life issue. But the way you’ve been arguing is to imply that guns are not worthy of special treatment or tighter regulations, any more than other much different causes of death like swimming pools or automobiles. I’m sure you’re smart enough to know that guns have a different use and purpose than swimming pools, automobiles, and planes. And still most of these other categories have sensible regulations and aren’t afforded special protections.

                      Yes, thousands aren’t dying from *children* with Uzis in America, but thousands of people in America do die from gun violence each year, and this girl-with-an-uzi situation is just a small part of that. There was another young boy in 2008 who died at a gun range from handling a similar weapon. When a small radicalized group of American zealots spreads its gun fetish to children, it only contributes to America’s growing moral decline.

                      I’m done talking with you, since you’re trying to conflate very different ideas together and just going around in circles. Your posts on other blogs tell me all I need to know about where you stand. Goodbye.

                    • entonces_99

                      I’m sure you’re smart enough to know that guns have a different use and
                      purpose than swimming pools, automobiles, and planes. And still most of
                      these other categories have sensible regulations and aren’t afforded
                      special protections.

                      Uzis are pretty heavily regulated as well. That’s why most people have to go to a special range to fire one.

                • entonces_99

                  And now that I’ve answered your question, perhaps you’ll answer mine (“Do you seriously imagine that letting little Suzie fire an Uzi makes her more likely to want to kill people?”) rather than ducking it by throwing up a question of your own.

  • Matt Talbot

    What would be so horrible about a world where guns are very tightly regulated and restricted?

    Yes, I know: Mao, Stalin and Hitler.

    But look: as a practical matter, the citizenry can’t buy enough guns to oppose the government if it gets tyrannical. You have duck guns, .308s – heck, even .460 magnums and Barrett .50 cals? – and the government has: The Air Force, B52s, cluster bombs, armored divisions, napalm, the Marine Corps, and nuclear weapons. If your “insurance against tyranny” is how many guns you have, I can assure you that you can’t fit enough guns in your house to present anything more than a trivial nuisance to your imaginary tyrannical government.

    I say the following as both a gun-owning hunter and as a US Army veteran: this country is way too in love with guns.

    There is something obscene about Guns As Adventure Objects. Whatever you use it for, it is worth remembering that a gun is designed primarily to do one thing: kill.

    Speaking as a hunter, my least favorite part of the hunt is the actual killing. I like venison and duck, so I do it, but there is (or at least, ought to be) a weight to it when you take an animal’s life.

    Now, spending time in the hunting camp with my pals, being out in nature, the stalk, scouting new areas, the thrill of the chase? That’s all part of the experience, and that’s really what I enjoy about hunting.

    We are too glib about killing in this country. Heroes in action movies usually deliver some glib quip right after ending the life of some villain; any offense against the honor of this country will reliably generate a crowd with “Bomb them!” signs.

    “Reverence for life” ought not to be just about the unborn: it should color everything we do, everything we support and oppose.

    • Pete the Greek

      “But look: as a practical matter, the citizenry can’t buy enough guns to
      oppose the government if it gets tyrannical. You have duck guns, .308s -
      heck, even .460 magnums and Barrett .50 cals? – and the government has:
      The Air Force, B52s, cluster bombs, armored divisions, napalm, the
      Marine Corps, and nuclear weapons.”
      - Your faith in your fellow soldiers not turning like rabid animals and mass murdering their own fellow countrymen is admirable. Would you?

      Simply put, you’re thinking about it wrong. To be a check against tyranny, you don’t have to be able to field a modern, mechanized army.

      As far as being more respectful to life, I agree.

      • Matt Talbot

        Your faith in your fellow soldiers not turning like rabid animals and mass murdering their own fellow countrymen is admirable.

        [...]

        To be a check against tyranny, you don’t have to be able to field a modern, mechanized army.

        Well, then, even less reason to stockpile guns, right?

        • Pete the Greek

          It’s a reason to have enough.

          • Matt Talbot

            If your primary plan for opposing tyranny is Having Enough Guns, you’ll never get there.

            The best insurance against tyranny is an educated, involved citizenry. Telling those citizens that Guns Are Their Only Hope is actually counter-productive.

            • Pete the Greek

              “Telling those citizens that Guns Are Their Only Hope is actually counter-productive.”
              - I would agree.

              My main plan for seeing to my kids’ financial future isn’t “Die before 55″ either. But, guess what? I have a good term life policy.

              • Matt Talbot

                On the other hand, selling worthless insurance isn’t a good idea, either.

            • cmfe

              But it’s a great plan for selling lots of guns!

  • Morris

    Freedom can indeed be dangerous because humans are imperfect. Better to have a police state where everybody is protected from everything by a select group of morally superior people who are the only ones allowed to carry guns. Everybody had better walk to work now and start saving 30,000+ lives every year.

    • cmfe

      I’m not sure what this has to do with handing a dangerous weapon to a nine year old girl. I don’t think the founding fathers pictured that our freedom would be defended by little girls with Uzis

  • KM

    This is a pro-life issue because these types of weapons (Uzis) are related to war, and to treat them cavalierly like fun toys for children is why this story horrifies many people. Aren’t we horrified when we hear about child soldiers fighting in Somalia or ISIS? Or when you see a picture of an angelic 5-year-old Israeli child holding a real rocket launcher for fun while another girl stands nearby holding her doll? (Google Gali Tibbon’s 2013 picture of an Israeli girl holding a rocket launcher. It is creepy and unsettling.)

    As a Catholic mother, I am horrified by the glorification and acceptance of militarization and the instruments of war in our children’s lives, our police forces, and our communities. This is why I agree with Mark that this is a pro-life issue.

    • KM

      See picture much further below of an Iraqi boy holding an AK-47 (which I’d erroneously posted below my earlier comment) . That picture exemplifies what bothers people about this story/topic.

    • KM
    • Marthe Lépine

      I remember, back in 2003 at the start of the war that I am very proud our Prime Minister of the time refused to be involved in, to have seen in the catalogue of a popular US owned department store chain a display for a young boy’s bedroom that included camouflage-designed bed cover (I hesitate to use the correct word, which was “comforter”) and curtains, as well as a couple of cushions, one in the shape of a tank and the other in the shape of an airplane. I was rather appalled…

      • Joseph

        What?! This is totally irrelevant! I’m as anti-war as anyone… but the fact of the matter is, boys love military toys and gear. Just because a parent buys their son some camo clothing or bed clothes doesn’t mean that they are gun-obsessed wackos. If my son wants to play with water pistols or Nerf guns and wear camo, I’m not insane enough to say, “no, son, that’s inappropriate”. I’m afraid if that’s your line of thinking, you’re a bit insane yourself and it wouldn’t surprise me if you live in Canada. Boys playing with G.I. Joes and having a camo duvet is not a *problem*. It is no different than them playing with Transformers.
        I don’t like war, especially the unjust ones constantly engaged in and supported by the US government, but I think camo is cool. And so do my sons.
        Back to the topic:
        For the record, whenever they are playing with Nerf guns I always tell them never to aim at the head. I don’t own guns, but I’m not opposed to anyone else owning them. If I did own guns and my boys were old enough to learn how to use them (I’d set that age limit at around 15), they would be taught that they can be deadly as I was taught. There are proper ways to teach people to handle guns. This was obvious stupidity on the part of the parents and the instructor. I’d *never* put an automatic weapon in the hands of any of my sons at any age.

  • Joe

    I can understand a farmer wanting to have a rifle or shotgun for a utilitarian purpose, as they always have. I can understand a single woman in a bad part of town having a handgun for protection. I can even understand a teenager being given one of the low-caliber rifles used for target shooting, perfectly reasonable sport. But anything beyond these scenarios is absurd, ‘Murkin gun nuttery. Gun nuts: Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  • orual’s kindred

    How appalling! Prayers for all involved!

  • Suburbanbanshee

    Actually, this is a prudence issue. It’s prudent to teach Brownies and Cub Scouts how to make fires and use knives, bow and arrow, and BB guns or small rifles.. It wouldn’t be prudent to ask them to make a giant Aggie bonfire bigger than a house, or to chop onions with a naginata that they could barely carry, much less control.

    The man didn’t use prudence. He overestimated the strength and control of a nine-year-old girl, and didn’t allow for any natural tendency to flinch in surprise. He wasn’t a good firearms instructor for her. He probably would have had the same problem teaching that girl to fish, and would have gotten a hook in his eye for his complacence.

    But you know, nobody says that chopping boards are a pro-life issue, or that bad control of a fishing rod is a pro-life problem. I guarantee you that there are more serious injuries of this sort when dealing with machine tools, but that’s perfectly okay to teach kids. (Although in real life, people usually leave kids as ignorant of tools as of knives, cooking, or guns. Or anything of life value besides sports.)

  • KM

    Many Americans have swallowed the consumerist / Hollywood / media koolaid, and seem to think that ever more excitement, like shooting high-powered war weapons that are shown in violent movie flicks, equals fun, masculinity or even “conservative” values. What the parents allowed this little girl to do was not a Catholic or Christian value, but the manifestation of warped American modern values, and this girl and the family of the man who was killed will be suffering for the stupid decision of parents who failed her as her guides and teachers.

    Here’s what the U.S. Bishops had to say back in 1994 about our culture of violence and lack of respect for life. “What we value and consume, whom we admire and whose example we follow, what we support” — all are part of this equation. Apparently nothing’s changed since and has only become worse:

    “The celebration of violence in much of our media, music and even video games is poisoning our children. Beyond the violence in our streets is the violence in our hearts. Hostility, hatred, despair and indifference are at the heart of a growing culture of violence…

    “It wasn’t always this way. We can turn away from violence; we can build communities of greater peace. It begins with a clear conviction: respect for life. Respect for life is not just a slogan or a program; it is a fundamental moral principle flowing from our teaching on the dignity of the human person. It is an approach to life that values people over things.

    “Respect for life must guide the choices we make as individuals and as a society: what we do and won’t do, what we value and consume, whom we admire and whose example we follow, what we support and what we oppose. Respect for human life is the starting point for confronting a culture of violence. ”

    From “Confronting a Culture of Violence: A Catholic Framework for Action,” A Pastoral Message of the U.S. Catholic Bishops. 1994

    http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/violence/confronting-a-culture-of-violence-a-catholic-framework-for-action.cfm


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