A 7-year-old boy was shot to death under mysterious circumstances in western Pennsylvania today. The little boy was in his family car, outside a gun store, strapped into his booster seat, when police say a gun somehow fired, hitting the child square in the chest. Cops won't say yet whether the shooting outside Twig's Reloading Den in Mercer was an accident or something done intentionally.
But one thing is clear: that little boy didn't have a chance. He was strapped into his car seat, his dad was backing out of a parking space, and all of a sudden, his life was over.
We're all going to be Monday morning quarterbacking the shooting death of this child, so I want to say right now that my heart goes out to the family of this little boy. Whatever our thoughts on gun control, I hope that every American can come to a point where they agree on that.
A child is gone. His family needs our support.
They also need us all to approach this tragedy with some common sense.
Raised in a rural area, I'm all too aware of why we have the right to bear arms in this country. I know more than my fair share of people who shoot the food that their family eats. The fact is, based on its website, Twig's gun store is a place that caters mostly to hunters. There's a good chance that this was a dad taking his little boy to pick up something so they could go out on an old-fashioned dad and son bonding trip into the woods on a Saturday.
But all that said, this is one more sad story that makes me want to scream from the highest rooftop that people need to be more careful with the guns they own. Anything can happen at anytime. I've seen it in my small town, where people have unwittingly shot friends, employees, children ... because they just weren't careful enough with a loaded weapon.
What we have to remember in this gun debate isn't whether or not we have the right to be armed necessarily but the rights of people like this little boy to be around gun owners without fear.
As they say, with power comes great responsibility. And there are few powers mightier or more dangerous than gun ownership. Your responsibility to be careful and safe with that weapon is quite literally a matter of life or death.
Whatever happened to that little boy today, it was NOT his fault. Whether he touched that gun of whether he was just sitting there, it was the responsibility of that gun's owner to keep that boy safe.
What is your stance on gun control? Do you think there's a place for gun ownership in this country?
Image via Richard Elzey/Flickr