Monday, October 16, 2006

Guns. Kill. People.


(picture from a glock website, I refuse to display the link)

"Why would you have a loaded gun in the house with kids around?" Courtney Fleet

At 17 years old, Courtney Fleet appears to have a mature brain in her head. Unlike many of her friends and neighbors. Let's review her quote with a bit more emphasis: WHY WOULD YOU HAVE A LOADED GUN IN THE HOUSE WITH KIDS AROUND?

It's just that simple. In fact, if you keep a loaded gun in a house where children live or visit, you might as well take it out right now, point it at the kids and shoot. Because that's what's going to happen anyway.

Three year old Tylib "TaTa" Bailey-Hankerson could tell you so. If he were alive.

TaTa was playing in the bedroom of his mother's boyfriend's house with his 9 year old brother. It's unclear where their 7 year old brother was. One of them found the boyfriend's gun, a .45-caliber Glock semiautomatic in the night table.

Let's focus on that for a minute. A .45-caliber Glock semiautomatic is a serious piece of firepower. When loaded it can weigh as much as 2 pounds. When a kid points it at another kid or at his own head, it will nearly take that little head off.

Which is exactly what happened to TaTa.

Here's the proud claim I found on atlantisarms.com:

65% of law enforcement agencies use Glock pistols in the USA. ... Glock provides pistols for many of American's most elite law enforcement agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Police Department, and more than 7,500 other agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. Police and military agencies worldwide rely upon the Glock pistol for its high level of performance and value.
News reports so far are telling us the Glock's owner is studying to be an electrician. He's not a cop. Or a member of the FBI or the DEA. He's just a guy who bought, registered and owned a gun legally, for protection, as is his inalienable right ... or so the NRA and other gun nuts claim.

But who's protecting our children from irresponsible gun owners? And what about the children's inalienable right to stay safe, and alive?

Take a look at this chilling report from the Philadelphia Inquirer Kids, Guns, and a Deadly Toll. It chronicles 19 children cut down by gun violence since January 2006. The youngest, until TaTa, was 5.

I've talked about gun violence and children before. In May of 2005, Got Guns? GET RID OF THEM! Again in May, I noted:

Gun Violence: A 15-year-old boy was killed and a 16-year-old girl seriously wounded while playing with a gun belonging to the girl's father. A sign on the home's garage displays a picture of gun and warns trespassers will be shot. "I challenge anybody to see how many times a gun has been used to stop an intruder versus the number of times a kid has used it to harm themselves or another kid," said a local homicide lieutenant.
Then in November, Teens and Gun Violence.

But I'm just one lonely voice crying out from my ivory tower. I didn't grow up with metal detectors in my high school. I don't live in a neighborhood overrun by gun violence. I don't even know anyone who owns a gun. And I don't know anyone who's ever been shot and killed.

That doesn't mean I'm untouched by violence. I'm a citizen of a city with an epidemic of violent death. And I'm a Baby Boomer who's counting on the next generation to make our world a better place. That'll never happen if they keep killing each other and themselves.

I'm normally a peace loving person. But I'm angry enough now to say this: Adults who have guns and children in the same house should be shot.

Unfortunately it's their kids who typically end up on the business end of a bullet.


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17 Comments:

Blogger Othromas said...

I'm just going to play Devil's advocate for a minute. What if we could rewrite the law to state that if a person buys a handgun and has a kid in the house, they have to buy a gun safe to go with it? I think that's common sense, but it seems like common sense needs to be legislated a more than it should be.

I grew up in a house with firearms. I'm not talking about military firearms, just .22 long rifles and larger bore hunting rifles. My parents showed me their loaded .38 Special when I was about 12 or 13, and told me not to touch it unless they were around and supervising me. My father kept the ammo and the firearms separate unless we were getting ready to use them on a hunting or shooting trip. And that's all there is to it. It's common sense. What I failed to see in your blog entry was anger and outrage regarding the parent who owned this Glock and left it in an utterly unsafe location--all I saw was outrage at the manufacturer, and that doesn't make sense to me, and hints at both the problem and a solution.

The problem is people don't know what they're doing with firearms. We're not going to get rid of them all, and we don't need to, either: the Canadians are doing fine with them, and we could too. I think we need more information out there about firearms, not less. I think we should have skeet shooting, handgun target practice, and iron sight rifle practice as part of high school. If people stop being afraid of guns and actually know what on earth they do and how they work, instead of them being a huge mystery, I think things would actually be better overall.

12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More children drown in swimming pools every year than are killed in homes of accidental gun shootings. Let's ban swimming pools.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Sally Swift said...

Oh, get real. What's your source data on that?

We should ban cars too since they kill the most teenagers.

Not. The. Point.

Guns. Always. Kill.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay...

To some it up, you pretty much said that you fear something that you have never experienced firsthand.
Is violence is caused only by firearms???

Sorry, any child is able to pick up a butcher knife in their home and stab a sibling. Those children just so happen to be educated on what sharp, pointy objects can do. People [like you] need to educated on weapons.

Lets say your going to your car on a secluded street, ALONE, and a group of four armed thugs (armed with blunt objects and blades, thank you) comes to take all of what you're worth.

Honestly, you expect to be overpower/killed, right? These incidents happen WAY more frequently than lil' Jimmy scattering his brains! Who's gonna answer your screams/calls!?

The police aren't always going to be around, (NEVER, honestly) So branish a gun to simply defuse the situation and save a hospital bill.

I do believe that you are also a type that for example: You've never seen/met a Muslim before in your life, so you figure that any Arab or follower of Islam is a Terrorist and your enemy.

What to Do: Do you keep to your ignorant pocket, or do you expand your mind and educate yourself?

Asaalam alaikum.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Okay...

To some it up, you pretty much said that you fear something that you have never experienced firsthand.
Is violence is caused only by firearms???

Sorry, any child is able to pick up a butcher knife in their home and stab a sibling. Those children just so happen to be educated on what sharp, pointy objects can do. People [like you] need to educated on weapons.

Lets say your going to your car on a secluded street, ALONE, and a group of four armed thugs (armed with blunt objects and blades, thank you) comes to take all of what you're worth.

Honestly, you expect to be overpower/killed, right? These incidents happen WAY more frequently than lil' Jimmy scattering his brains! Who's gonna answer your screams/calls!?

The police aren't always going to be around, (NEVER, honestly) So branish a gun to simply defuse the situation and save a hospital bill.

I do believe that you are also a type that for example: You've never seen/met a Muslim before in your life, so you figure that any Arab or follower of Islam is a Terrorist and your enemy.

What to Do: Do you keep to your ignorant pocket, or do you expand your mind and educate yourself?

Asaalam alaikum.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Zoe said...

Guns kill people? People kill people? Check out an article at dailycents.com, the direct link to the article is http://blogs.dailycents.com/?p=801

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My children will be trained on using my firearms from a very young age. They will know not to touch them unless instructed, and they will know how to properly use them.

The guns I'm not using are securely locked in my safe. The only key to that safe lives on a necklace around my neck.

The gun I carry is on my hip at all times, unless I'm asleep. While asleep, it is in the safe.

Ammo is stored in a separate safe, with a separate key.

Best. System. Ever.

No. Dead. Children.

Also.

You're. An. Idiot.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Sally Swift said...

Unlike far too many people, you seem to have a very carefully thought out system. But there is no Best System because no matter what you teach your children, nothing is foolproof when it comes to kids and guns.

I hope your children stay safe, no matter what names you call me.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You actually got me to look into various "smart gun" ideas on the market. I found a conversion kit for a Colt 1911 pistol that basically mates the gun to a ring. Without wearing the ring, no one can fire the gun. I don't have this kind of pistol, but this may push my choice of carry gun in that direction for the added safety.

You can find more about smart guns here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_Gun

I may also invest in one of these biometric gun safes. They can only be opened by someone with the pre-programmed fingerprints. It can remember up to 6 fingerprints, but my wife and I would be the only ones with access. Link: http://www.stacksandstacks.com/html/108799_wall-vault-biometric.htm

Also, I went back and read through a lot of your blog entries. We agree on a lot of issues, but we have very different solutions to the problems that we see.

I apologize for calling you an idiot. It is just frustrating to hear people be so anti-gun because of the irresponsible people out there, while people like me really make safety our first priority. And I do believe that people like me are the majority of gun owners. My main reason for owning firearms is to protect myself and my family. Wouldn't it be obvious that I want to make my home safe not only from any intruders, but also from whatever I bring into it?

3:52 PM  
Blogger Sally Swift said...

I wish it were as obvious to others as it clearly is to you.

And I so appreciate a dialogue where there is respect not just for the subject matter but for the other person's opinions.

Thank you for that and for the information about what would seem to be some truly safe ways to protect family members from guns as well as intruders. Of course you have a right to own a gun and protect your family.

If you have been reading my posts on guns, you'll see that my greatest frustration is focused on those who are unconscionably careless with guns around children. It's clear you would never leave a loaded gun in a coat pocket around a 4-year-old. I would just respectfully disagree with you that sadly, far too many people are not like you. I wish more were.

And I'd think you'd agree that nobody needs to carry, own or use heavy, military-grade armament for home protection or sport. Our streets are dangerous enough as it is.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have yet to see a gun laying on a counter, sprout legs and arms and shoot anyone. The idiocracy in the statement that guns kill people is insanity.

As a retired cop I can tell you that if someone wants to harm another person bad enough, they are going to find a way to do it. Your right to protect your home and family should never be endangered.

It may surprise you that my eight year old shoots in pistol competitions and has more strict views on gun safety than most adults. He has been taught since infancy the serious nature of a weapon and practices his craft with great respect and pride.

You can't legislate how people are going to live or their ignorance or lack of respect for guns.

Fatal gun accidents involving children (aged 0-14) also fell significantly, from 495 in 1975, to under 250 in 1995. More children die from accidental drownings or burns than from gun accidents.

(Gun supply statistics are from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, gun accident rates from the National Safety Council).

Fatal gun accidents involving children (aged 0-14) also fell significantly, from 495 in 1975, to under 250 in 1995. More children die from accidental drownings or burns than from gun accidents.

(Gun supply statistics are from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, gun accident rates from the National Safety Council).

The ATF sites that 250 children died by fatal gun accidents in 1995, more children die each year by playing with matches and starting fires. Are we going to legislate lighters and matches next? You people desperately need to get a clue and should you need a burden to carry that badly, try advocating against abuse, child hunger in the US, should all that fail I'm sure there is a tree to hug for you somewhere in sunny CA.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what do you do in a situation of societal meltdown like the California riots or Hurricane Katrina? We had police, military, SWAT, FBI, National Guard, and Fire Fighters from every state in the US yet did they stop or even marginally curb violent elements in the city? SWAT barricaded themselves in a government building after running into thugs near the thunder dome. What would you do in that situation? Blog them to death? Oh maybe pepper spray would deter a mob of rapists, riiiiiiiiight.

12:32 AM  
Blogger Nickname unavailable said...

Your reasoning is ridiculous and completely illogical. By my estimates you're a stay at home soccer mom with who has nothing better to do than find things that make you mad. do yourself a favor look for some instances where guns saved lives. I was once a kid, my dad had loaded guns in the house, I didn't die, I was educated properly in the use and safety of guns, those guns saved the lives of my mother and my sister from an armed robbery BECAUSE those guns where there. lets see the police get there within the 10 seconds they would have had before someone died. you're the gun nut you moron.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love to shoot guns for target practice and i love to play airsoft (it's like paintball but shooting plastic bbs) with my friends. I am 15 and i can tell you that i know how to shoot a gun and am very safe when i do so. I propose that the money that would be wasted taking guns away from law abiding citizens should be used to give mandatory gun safety classes (free of charge) to anyone who is purchasing their first firearm (and maybe their immediate family) i also believe that a ban on all guns would reduce gun violence... but it would increase vehicular homicides, stabbings, homicidal drownings, and blunt object clobberings. i also believe that one has the right to defend oneself against an intruder who breaks into their home though I would only shoot as a last resort and would prefer to scare the intruder off.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Jarett said...

I have 7 legally owned firearms and I am only 24.

None of my firearms have killed, hurt, or been used against anyone.

If Guns. Always. Kill.

Are. Mine. Defective?

3:48 PM  
Blogger Jarett said...

Also, the whole "And I'd think you'd agree that nobody needs to carry, own or use heavy, military-grade armament for home protection or sport. " idea is complete rubbish.

A gun is a gun is a gun is a gun.

Do you think criminals follow gun laws? The gun laws effect law abiding citizens, not the criminals.

The criminals will still be carrying fully automatic MAC-10's that hold 30 bullets.
Are you saying we should only let law abiding citizens have guns that say, hold only 5 bullets? Or one? Where is the line?

A gun is a gun. It matters who's hands it is in, not how many bullets it holds or any other such nonsense.

Jews didn't have military grade weapons in Germany during WW2, but they used small pistols and bolt action rifles to help the resistance against the Nazis.
The Nazis were the ones who said, "And I'd think you'd agree that nobody needs to carry, own or use heavy, military-grade armament for home protection or sport."

3:54 PM  
Blogger Sally Swift said...

Recent local story here, tragic and totally avoidable. A 14-year-old boy shot and killed his 11-year-old sister while they were playing with Dad's gun, supposedly unloaded.

She's dead. He will never be the same, is already suicidal. A father basically lost two children because he didn't take simple, proper precautions to secure his gun.

Far, far too many gun owners are equally careless.

The stories like this are endless. Just because they didn't happen to you doesn't mean they won't keep happening over and over and over.

12:26 AM  

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