Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#176 - What Were They Thinking?

According to a news report, a nine-year old girl in Arizona has accidentally shot and killed her shooting instructor while learning how to fire a gun. Note that this was not a pistol or even a normal rifle. It was an Uzi submachine gun.

I don’t know and don’t really care where anyone stands on the issue of gun control. I would hope that no sane person could rationally argue that a nine-year old should learn to fire an Uzi. For that matter, why should anyone outside of the military even have an Uzi, let alone learn to fire one. I can’t see it as a legitimate weapon for hunting, and I personally would find it too dangerous to have one in the home. To me, the only purpose of such a weapon is to kill other human beings.

I don’t normally write about such hot button topics, but I just did not feel I could let this one go by. I get that some parents want to teach their children how to hunt. I personally don’t hunt, but I know for many it is a chance to bond with their children and also serves as a rite of passage.

What I don’t get is how any parent in their right mind could think their child needs to learn how to fire a weapon like an Uzi, which is capable of firing up to 600 rounds per minute. I find it even more incredible that these parents could think it make sense for their nine-year old daughter to hold, let alone try to fire such a weapon at an age when they might reasonably be expected to have trouble controlling any gun, let alone a machine gun.

I can’t pretend to know or understand what was going through the minds of that girl’s parents when they made the decision to have their daughter learn to fire the Uzi. Nor can I pretend to know what went through their minds in that instant when it all went horribly wrong. I don’t know what the girl thought about learning to fire such a gun or what she thought when she realized what had happened.

What I do know is that, at nine years of age, this girl has taken a life. Accidentally, yes, but taken a life nonetheless. It is an act of such finality that even some soldiers never get over it. I can’t begin to imagine how she ever will, though I hope she can. As for her parents, they could easily be accused of child endangerment. They are at least guilty of incredibly poor judgment. Whatever else they might be guilty of is up to their conscience.

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