Nel's New Day

February 8, 2014

Gun Laws Allow Children to be Shot and Killed

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:53 PM

The media tends to report only the unusual: the shootings in the movie theater in Aurora (CO), the shopping mall in Portland (OR), and the elementary school in Newtown (CT) were widely publicized, but the shootings since 2014 dawned have received little coverage. Even the nine school shootings during the first 18 school days of the year got barely a notice. There were 28 school shootings in the entire year of 2013, three times the number of the first month of this year. Media don’t bother with the commonplace, which is what shootings in the United States have become. Last year, the NRA assured people that the situation was improving; this year they are staying quiet.

The nine shootings could have been higher if the police had not taken guns and arrested young people in Georgia, Oregon, and Virginia. The only change in the NRA’s request for armed “school resource officers” is the increase of arrests for students, sometimes for something such as forgetting to wear a belt.  “There is no evidence that placing officers in the schools improves safety,” said Denise C. Gottfredson, a criminologist at the University of Maryland and an expert in school violence. “And it increases the number of minor behavior problems that are referred to the police, pushing kids into the criminal system.”

These armed “officers” have forgotten their guns in student bathrooms or accidentally fired their guns in crowded schools. In Lodi (CA) a small child pulled the trigger of a police SWAT officer during a reading event when the officer was showing children his gear. The Glock .35 in his holster didn’t have a safety mechanism. Fortunately, the bullet hit the officer’s leg and caused only a minor injury.

After the massacre at Sandy Hook over a year ago, the NRA used Israel as a model to support arming schools as a preventative measure. The NRA fails to understand that people can obtain firearms in Israel only if they prove their professions or places of resident might endanger them. Security forces, not armed citizens, are used to prevent terror attacks. Israel has far fewer private guns per capita, and shootings outside the Israeli-Palestinian conflict just don’t happen. Wayne LaPierre was wrong when he said that “Israel had a whole lot of school shootings until … they put armed security in every school.” In fact, authorities can remember only two school shootings in the past 40 years.

At the same time, children continue to die in homes because of the proliferation of guns. Just one example: a four-year-old girl in Michigan found her grandfather’s rifle under his bed, and her four-year-old cousin is now dead. Resisters to any gun laws probably say that accidents will happen.

Research published in Pediatrics shows that an average of 20 young people were hospitalized daily for gun injuries in 2009; that’s one every 72 minutes all year long. The attempt to “reduce this common source of childhood injury,” according to the authors is hampered by federal restrictions on gun injury research. They managed to get this data from 4,121 hospitals in 44 states that represent 96 percent of the nation’s population.

Of the 7,391 young people who went to hospitals for gun injuries, about 453 died in hospitals. Assault accounted for 62 percent of these hospitalizations for adolescent ages 15 to 19 whereas unintentional injury was the reason for most injuries of children under 10. Of all hospitalizations, 89 percent were for males.

Concerned about the lack of public health efforts to reduce firearm injuries, the authors cited suppression by pro-gun lawmakers in firearms injury research: “Since Congress took this action in 1997, at least 427,000 people have died of gunshot wounds in the United States, including more than 165,000 who were victims of homicide.” Co-author Dr. Robert Sege, a pediatrician and director of the division of family and child advocacy at Boston Medical Center, said, “The [American Academy of Pediatrics] recommends that the safest home for a family is a home without guns.”

In a New York Times piece last month, Joe Nocera wrote about “The Gun Report” that he and his assistant, Jennifer Mascia, published as they tried to collect information about daily gun violence in the United States. Each Monday of 2013 they searched Google News for the previous day’s shootings and found 20 to 30 shootings each day. Weekends have well over 100. Yet these numbers don’t represent the totality of gun violence because it is impossible to track suicides in news media accounts, and suicides represent about 60 percent of gun deaths.

After a year, Nocera drew some conclusions. His biggest surprise was the frequency with which one child accidentally shot another child or an adult accidentally shot a child while handling a loaded gun. One pro-gun reader of “The Gun Report,” Malcolm Smith, decided that gun owners should be licensed and “should have to learn how to store guns safely.”

Another conclusion is that having a gun in the house does not make a person safer. Pro-gun readers complained that Nocera didn’t report how guns were used to prevent a crime. That’s because it almost never happens. The vast majority of gun deaths in the home come from arguments among family, friends, and neighbors.

Nocera’s third conclusion is that gang shootings are everywhere—big cities and smaller cities. Gang members kill innocent victims, often children, as often as they kill each other. Pro-gun advocates dismiss inner-city violence, calling them “demographics,” as if people who are killed in cities are somehow less important than people who die from guns in suburban and rural areas.

As Nocera wrote, “Most of the people who die from guns would still be alive if we just had fewer of them. The guys in the movie theater would have had a fistfight instead of a shooting. The momentary flush of anger would pass. The suicidal person might have taken a pause if taking one’s life were more difficult.”

Children are even being taught to shoot at other kids. The following photograph shows a U.S. Border Patrol agent teaching small children to shoot at a human target. The event was at almost the same place where agents had shot and killed immigrants. When questioned about this occurrence, a border patrol spokesperson justified it by saying that the guns had only “inert rounds.”


Even when the media does decide to address the problem of guns, the NRA and other conservative media attack this news. “Young Guns,” an ABC News 20/20 special reported that 1.7 million children live in homes with unsecured and loaded firearms. The program used a psychologist-designed experiment with children in an empty classroom containing an unsecured firearm. Although almost all the 44 children had been taught not to touch a gun and half the children had been shown the NRA’s “Eddie Eagle” gun safety program, many of them touched and played with the gun. Some of them pointed the gun at themselves or other children and pulled the trigger. Conservative pundits were incensed.

Pediatric psychologist Marjorie Sanfilippo noted that “you can’t educate curiosity out of a child.” The results of this recent documentary found the same thing as a 2001 experiment published in Pediatrics:  63 percent of 8- to 12-year old boys who found a gun touched it and 33 percent pulled the trigger, even though 90 percent had received gun safety training. At least 84 children aged 12 or younger died after accessing unsecured firearms in the year following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school in December 2012.

As Sanfilippo pointed out, there are laws to put gates around swimming pools and safety caps on medications. People sometimes object to these as “nanny laws,” but they keep children from drowning and poisoning themselves. There are few laws to protect children from shooting each other.

The media in Eugene were drawn to the issue of school shootings when the Emerald Art Center rejected Linda Cunningham’s three-dimensional artwork, “School Days,” because it was “too controversial.” The Junction City woman’s work appeared on the front page of The Register-Guard, not once but twice—first when it was rejected and later when it found a home in a prominent Eugene art gallery. 

dick jane

“I did this piece because of my feelings about Sandy Hook and all the little children and teachers who were killed there,” she said, referring to the shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School almost 15 months ago. “Here we are, a year later, and nothing has been done to prevent gun violence,” Cunningham said. “I say, what’s controversial about not killing children. I think we all should be sick and tired of this,” she said.

Paula Goodbar, the art center coordinator, said that the piece was rejected because it might upset people upset about a school shooting at Thurston High School in east Springfield almost 16 years ago. Kip Kinkel, 15, killed two students and wounded another 24 after having shot and killed his parents at their home. Chris Mackay, a board member, thought that the show should be “a little more cheery” in December. He did acknowledge that “everyone who looked at [Cunningham’s] piece said, ‘Wow, that’s really powerful.’”

gregory beckGregory Beck, school board member of Brookfield (CT) near the Sandy Hook massacre, showed the insensitivity and ignorance of some pro-gun people when he planned to hand out free ammunition to honor the victims. “I shall buy my friends who are gun enthusiasts a box of ammunition on days 1-26 [to recognize each victim,” he wrote on his Facebook page.  Beck resigned from the school board but kept his job as the emergency dispatcher at the police department.



  1. The guy in the movie theater would have still been allowed to carry since gun control regimes always give special privileges to current and former cops.


    Comment by gunsafetypro — February 12, 2014 @ 10:44 AM | Reply

    • Probably under current law. You have given a perfect reason for the law to be changed.


      Comment by trp2011 — February 12, 2014 @ 1:24 PM | Reply

  2. ” “There is no evidence that placing officers in the schools improves safety,” said Denise C. Gottfredson, a criminologist at the University of Maryland and an expert in school violence.”

    And when do you propose to introduce us to an “expert” who will tell us that “gravity is just a superstition and there is no evidence it works effectively?”?



    Comment by lwk2431 — February 10, 2014 @ 4:20 AM | Reply

  3. !!!Killing children with guns is a profitable business!!! …


    Comment by eleganzabello — February 8, 2014 @ 11:46 PM | Reply

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