Loaded, Unsecure Gun + 4 Year Old. What Could Go Wrong…AGAIN

Boy with Gun

Monday evening brought yet another gun “accident” with a child finding and using a loaded, unsecured firearm. This time the tragedy is in New Jersey, where six-year-old Brandon Holt was shot and killed by a four-year-old with his father’s 22 rifle. 48 hours earlier the scene was in Lebanon Tennessee in a Deputy Sheriff’s bedroom.

Writing about a child being killed with a gun that was “just laying around”, or a child shooting and killing another person should not be a daily exercise. But, this is America, and a large, loud minority of this country’s population has said, unequivocally that the 600 accidental deaths per year by gun violence, that the 16,000 injuries from gun accidents are “a price for freedom”. Since January 1 of this year over 50 children have paid that price for freedom that they will never enjoy, another 140 teens have died as well. Another 5,000 families have had their lives turned upside down by injuries from accidental gunfire.

Since Sandy Hook I have written about this subject for three of the 60 plus children killed since December 14. [here], [here], and [here]

It is past time for the gun rights folks to go door to door and ask those 5,200 families whose lives have been turned upside down this year if unfettered gun access and lack of regulations to enforce responsibility are really worth it. It is easy for the gun rights folks to talk a good game of “price of freedom” when they don’t have to personally pay the price.

Monday evening, in Tom’s River, New Jersey a four year old boy went into his home, and retrieved a 22 rifle from inside the house and took it outside and shot his six year old friend. Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said “it was his understanding that the 4-year-old got the rifle from inside his house, and that was when he went outside and one shot was fired in the side yard.”

The parents of the four year old were home at the time…and the child simply picked up the rifle and took it out to play with his friend.

Two families are in total disarray, the family of the child who was shot watched by his hospital bed as he died from a fatal gunshot wound to the head. The family of the child who shot his friend is in limbo as they await the police investigation; await litigation from the injured boy’s family. Neither family will be the same.

Society will, as is usual, rally around the two families, telling us just how sorry the gun owner was and how he didn’t, in a thousand years, think this would ever happen. Prosecutors will call it a “tragic accident” and, yet again, nobody will be held responsible for a child with a bullet in his head.

So, unfortunately, let’s go through this one more time. According to the CDC 600 people are accidentally killed each year by gunfire, another 16,000 injured by accidental gunfire. These numbers are NOT included in the 10,000 or so deaths by gun violence each year that are considered homicide and they are not included in the 20,000 or so suicides that occur in this country each year by guns.  But that is the human “price of freedom” and it is paid in blood and tears and, on the analytical side, it is paid by taxpayer dollars that provide EMS, emergency rooms, Medicaid and police; and increased insurance premiums for medical emergencies and homeowners’ policies to cover the costs of hospital bills and lawsuits.

“The price of freedom” is a terrible, unthinkable rationalization that insists that somehow Americans should give their lives, protected both under the Constitution and by every set of mores in the civilized world. To put a hobby, a paranoia of marauding hordes, a decision to fight “tyranny” [which is all too often defined as “politicians with which I don’t agree”] in front of life itself is simply Neanderthal thinking. It is time that society stands up and rejects that backward, lazy, fatalist thinking. We HAVE evolved.

And not to repeat myself but…The band played on.


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.


7 responses to “Loaded, Unsecure Gun + 4 Year Old. What Could Go Wrong…AGAIN

  • Nelson Horton

    The mangling of people goes on and on ….on our highwayts. Shall we ban moving vehicles ?

    • mcallisterbryant

      If automobile wrecks and DUI accidents were intentional…then there is a case for stricter regulation.

      We as a society got tired of DUI deaths and started focusing on enforcement, education, regulation and since 1982 DUI deaths have dropped from over 22,000 per year to under 10,000 per year.

      At the same time, thanks to enforcement, regulations, safety devices and mandated design changes total Automobile deaths have fallen from 54,000 per year in 1972 to just over 32,000 in 2011. And that is with a population that has grown by 100,000,000 in the same time period.

      Anyway, nobody has submitted a bill to suggest banning guns from public ownership…but try driving a NASCAR racecar on the highway.

  • Nelson Horton

    Good thoughts, mcallisterbryant. The gun control folks keep their efforts up though…each time banning a few more guns. One can only conclude that they intend to ban all guns…which would leave us defenseless…as in Mexican Citizens being unable to fight back against the drug cartels that are trying to take over their nation today.
    I would rather own no weaons at all…as they are all dangerous to everyone. This would be possible if we could rid ourselves of evil persons and cure mental illness. When I was a child (I am 89 now) we had only one policeman in our town..the very same person for 28 years. There were very few attacks against others and few suicides as well.
    It is different today though. Our societies have deteriorated to the point that one cannot even take their eyes off their children at the supermarket for even a second. People are being mugged, raped and killed in the most civil appearing places in our neighborhoods..and criminal gangs go from place to place in cars and often select victims of “opportunity to attack”…if not invade their homes and attack them inside their homes.
    I would feel “naked” without my permitted conceal carry pistol today.
    I feel safer when a local black bear comes visiting my home in the early evenings, than I do just walking down our streets today. Bear is just hungry and intends me no harm. Criminals and mental cases are entirely different…and found almost everywhere in our societies today.
    Everyone’s opinions are important about ths vital issue…both those who want more gun control…and those who want more freedom to carry weapons due to our bad social situation.
    I would like to see the recognition of all State Issued Concealed Carry Permits in all other states. As it stands, my neighboring state does not recognize my permit and does not like to issue permits on its own. So, if I forget that I am carrying a gun and cross the state line…it is immediate jail time for me…making a criiminal out of a law abiding citizen. All of our states are now riddled with criminals , drug dealers and homicidal maniacs. A carry permit should be valid in all states…just as our driver’s licenses are today.
    Licensed gun carriers are also a reserve police force…and often are able to stop crimes in process…although we take great risk in doing as prosecuting attorneys are often out to “make a name for themselves” and will send us to jail for using our weapons…if they are able to do so. Most of us carry insurance and legal expense insurance..and the name of a good defense lawyer …with us at all times.
    Several of my neighbors and I have had carry permits for over 10 years now. We let it be widely known that we do have such permits. This has gotten the word out to local criminals to stay away from our community. None of us have ever fired our guns at anyone at all…or had any kind of accident with our weapons.
    Well, I could go on for a long time. I hope that both guns proponents and gun opponents can do the wise thing about all of this. Not an easy problem to resolve at all.
    Always, Tenton Nelson Horton
    Order of Humanity

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