I know we’ve all heard the awful story about the little boy in Kentucky who accidentally shot and killed his little sister. I can’t talk about the details anymore because it makes me feel so sick and sad. What I can talk about is how disturbed I am by the fact that the gun he used was his own – a hunting rifle sized and marketed for children. Here’s some of what I have to say over at Babble:
But looking beyond the horror of a child killed in such a way, I’m drawn to the fact that the boy had his own hunting rifle. Not a rifle meant for adults, either. This is a rifle scaled and marketed for children. I had no idea such a thing existed and, frankly, I find it very, very upsetting. I have a 5 year old and he is in no way ready to handle lethal weapons, even if he took one of the much touted safety classes the NRA and local gun ranges offer. Hell, he lacks the coordination and attention to caution to carry a full bowl of cereal across the kitchen without sloshing it over the edge. He cannot and should not be given access to firearms. Yes, I know that some kids start hunting that early and it’s part of beloved family traditions but I look at it askance. I’d feel different about a 12 year old on a deer hunting excursion. A 5 year old is, in my opinion, too young.
But there’s more to marketing guns for kids that worries me. It’s part of something bigger and I don’t like the general trend, not just because I’m basically opposed to guns.
What’s my beef? Adult toys made smaller for kids. I don’t like Power Wheels. Or professional mani-pedis for little girls. Kids are kids, not little adults. They need kid things for kid minds. They’re not ready to be grown up and it’s up to us to make sure they have something left to aspire to by keeping them kids for as long as they need to be. That means keeping their toys and activities, you know, kid like.
Read the whole post over at Babble!
I know this won’t be a popular opinion, but I have been to KY. The back woods hillbilly part of KY. Children as young as 3 years old walk around barefoot, in their underwear and little else with guns used to protect their animals from predators. I have seen a three year old shoot a chicken hawk from the air, to protect their chickens which provide food to the family. Sometimes the only food that family gets for the week. They tell stories of fox and wolves and stray dogs attacking their home, their animals, their food. It is a way of life for these people.
I don’t know, and I am speculating here, that the boy who accidentally shot his sister was not from the hills and that makes his situation different, and news worthy. But in legislating in such broad strokes you run the risk of leaving some poor families, or farm families defenseless against attackers on four legs vs those on two.
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