The headline on Thursday said “Two year-old child finds gun, shoots himself in the face, is dead.” He was staying at his Rusk, Texas great-grandparents’ home because he had been taken away from his own parents for neglect and abuse. His great-grandparents were given the children by the Texas Child Protective Services so they would be safer. It did not work. His great-grandfather’s inanimate 9mm handgun got in the way.
Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell says “it was an accident.” Aren’t they all?
An extremely weak, but prevalent argument when discussing victims of gun violence is that they must have been in a gang, it must be drug connected, it is “those people”, but that really is not the case. It is not always criminals who are the participants in these murders – and that is what they are. The family says “we kept the guns locked up and today was no different” – well, yes it was – a two year old managed to break their cunning security plan, managed to get into the “locked bedroom” with an open door and to find the 9mm handgun sitting on the nightstand. These are the responsible gun owners who say again and again that they are not responsible for the gun violence that kills 10,000 and injures 10-20X that each and every year. But they are.
In researching this article I went to the database provided by Slate to see just how many children have been killed this year…and the number is 81 children from age 12 and under from January 1 – May 29, 2013. To put that in perspective, there were 112 “accidental” deaths by firearms from age 18 down in 2012.
If this year’s trend continues, the number of UNDER 12 will out pace last year’s UNDER 18 by 44%.
And that brings me to the point…with all the media attention that began after 20 kids were killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School less than six months ago, with the media highlighting gun violence more than they previously have, with stories of kids being killed by their daddy’s gun on the media every other day – why has the message not been clear? Why have gun owners simply ignored the daily drum beat of examples of poor gun ownership and continued to leave their guns unlocked? Why have gun owners decided by their actions that they have no need to be responsible, that “they” aren’t the problem.
Put more simply – why have gun owners answered the call to be the responsible gun owners that they say they are with case after case after case of negligent ownership that results in kids being killed at a rate of one every other day. Are these gun owners really that stupid or just so arrogant that they think that they could never, ever have this problem?
So, let’s take a look at the children under 12 years-old who have died this year, died from negligence by the gun owner in the home to properly stow their weapons or died by the hand of a parent to “protect them” from the future.
Children 12 and under killed in 2013 by gun violence
|1/8/2013||William Parris||M||12||Pleasant Valley||AL|
|1/14/2013||Alexandra Brown||F||10||Henry County||OH|
|1/16/2013||Taylor Jade Cornett||F||12||Hazard||KY|
|1/19/2013||Angelina Griego||F||2||South Valley||NM|
|1/19/2013||Jael Griego||F||5||South Valley||NM|
|1/19/2013||Zephania Griego||M||9||South Valley||NM|
|1/21/2013||Travin Varise||M||2||Baton Rouge||LA|
|1/21/2013||Maximillian Walters||M||5||Boulder City||NV|
|1/22/2013||Trinity Ross||F||4||Kansas City||MO|
|2/2/2013||Mario Zavala||M||11||Boynton Beach||FL|
|2/2/2013||Eduardo Zavala||M||12||Boynton Beach||FL|
|2/9/2013||Braydion Scott Matlock||M||3||Paducah||KY|
|2/27/2013||Tacari Danielle Briggs||F||1||Newport||AR|
|3/2/2013||Michael Richard Leland Easter||M||3||Liberty||MI|
|3/20/2013||Gabrielle Menefee||F||3||Jefferson County||AL|
|3/22/2013||Christian Velez||M||12||Lake Nona||FL|
|3/24/2013||Christopher Stanlane Jr.||M||10||Lumberton||NC|
|3/28/2013||Joan Plumb||F||11||Pinal County||AZ|
|4/5/2013||Ryker Petersen||M||0||American Fork||UT|
|4/8/2013||Brandon Holt||M||6||Toms River||NJ|
|4/14/2013||Shayla May Shonneker||F||9||Oregon City||OR|
|4/15/2013||Dylan Samuel Peters||M||1||Brooklyn||NY|
|4/20/2013||Cody R. Hall||M||4||Donald||OR|
|5/8/2013||Kinsler Allen Davis||M||2||Corsicana||TX|
|5/12/2013||Jarvan Jackson||M||11||Lake City||FL|
|5/17/2013||Gywan Levine, Jr.||M||12||Jersey City||NJ|
|5/18/2013||Gwyan Elijah Levine||M||12||Jersey City||NJ|
|5/21/2013||Marcus White, Jr.||M||1||Pittsburgh||PA|
|5/24/2013||Keshawn Carter Davis||M||12||Greenville||TX|
Data by Slate and ShootFromTheLeftHip
McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.
You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.