…Then what do you have to say about this:
A 2-year-old girl died Saturday afternoon after she found a loaded handgun and accidentally shot herself, Fayetteville police said. [via]
This latest report is not an anomaly. Leaving aside malice — murder and random mayhem; leaving aside adult folly, when individuals supposedly at or past the age of reason self-nominate for Darwin awards; leaving aside the great gaping hole in families all over the country left by suicide-by-gun; kids, guns, and accidental deaths offer a blunt and clear test. A neighbor said of this kid that she was “a 2-year-old baby who hasn’t even lived yet.” So are they all.
If you think of the defenceless as deserving of special care…if you think that kids are the fit objects of national attention, of such importance that we must enact a rule of law so that such innocent lives may be absolutely protected…then what are you willing to do about the guns?
Let me be clear: I know that plenty of people who oppose abortion are horrified by American gun law and culture, and I honor that. But lots do not, and there is a pretty fair correlation between the states that have the most restrictive abortion laws and the most relaxed legal framework for gun . Those are the folks, those are the legislatures that I’m talking about.
Let me be clearer: my deepest sympathy goes to the family who just lost a daughter. Doesn’t matter what their politics are. Doesn’t even matter to me what their role in the sequence of events that led to this little girl finding that weapon. Their hell is with them now and there’s nothing I can or would wish to do to make it worse. It can’t get worse.*
I’ll even admit that pointing to (what seems to me to be) a glaring inconsistency between anti-abortion politics and concern for the living is something of a cheap shot in this context. The issue here is guns and the way some Americans have created a culture in which minimal moves to safer gun regimes are seen as the ultimate in tyranny. That’s what has to be confronted head on, I agree.
But I can tell you that I’m heartsick at reading story after story of babies killing babies or themselves. And if you think children are actually something other than little adults, that they do need special attention, protection, care — and I do — then, yeah, I do think its fair to ask of anyone who presumes to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves where they stand.
That’s it. I got nothing more on this. I keep thinking about my boy when he was two and what I would felt had I found him on the floor…
Can’t bear it.
*This isn’t to say that I don’t favor criminal negligence charges against anyone who leaves a gun where a kid can get at it. That’s a social sanction, and it is vital that we as a society make it consequential to own a gun. There’s reason they call it “deterrence.” But as an individual? I would never say to someone in this family’s position how sinfully dumb it is to keep a loaded gun anywhere near a kid. They know
Image: English School, Portrait of a Dead Child, 1624.