Saturday, June 8, 2013

4-Year-Old Boy Accidentally Kills Dad in Arizona

The headline above, for an article I came across today, made me wonder if anyone is keeping track of accidental shootings, which seem to appear in the media all the time. A Google search for "accidental shootings" reveals that quite a few people are keeping track, or trying to, and that accidental shootings happen multiple times every day in the US.

The first web site that came up in my search, Accidental Shootings, which has synopsis of daily shootings and links to articles about them, stops off at May 28, when the person might have got tired of trying to keep up, because on May 28 there were 27 accidental shootings in the US. That's how many this person was able to find, at least, of those that were reported.

David Ryder/Getty Images
Someone else tried to keep track of the accidental shootings of children and teens since the Sandy Hook massacre. They stopped counting after 137 of them, between Dec 12, 2012 and May 3, 2013. (They purposely left out shootings of adults by children, young people accidentally shooting themselves, and suicides by guns kept in the home, of which the author says there are many, of which many go unreported.)

Here's another one, a summary of killings of toddlers in April. Nine toddlers were accidentally blown away in the US in April.

Remember after the Sandy Hook killings when the gun nuts held rallies all over the country and five people were accidentally shot in a single day of rallies?

Going back to the killing I began with, the 4 year old boy and his father were visiting someone else's home in Prescott. The 4-year old found a gun in the house and shot and killed his father with it.

If only there had been one more gun in the house, someone could have stopped that 4 year old boy in his tracks.


There's been some attempt made to understand why Americans are so fascinated with guns. Since the Sandy Hook massacre I've heard people talk about our history of gun ownership, our independent natures, how natural it is to have guns in the home.

But I have to wonder how accidental all these shootings really are. When you think about all the wars we've had, the multiple wars we're involved in right now, our highest in the world murder rate, our government's use of torture, can a death be seen as accidental? When you think about the NRA and its supposed denial of reality and then think about our violent history of slavery and Jim Crow, the community lynchings, the public hangings, our lust to retain the death penalty, when you think that killing has always been a recreational event here, is it accidental when kids use guns on their parents or sisters or brothers?

No, these killings of toddlers and killings by toddlers are not accidental at all, any more than going out and buying a gun is accidental. We know guns mean death. We know they will result in death.

We have death in our psyches, individually and collectively. We, in the United States, love death. Death is part of life in America.


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