It's sad that my first thought here is: Wow, I can't believe this happened AGAIN. But it has. A 5-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed a 7-year-old girl at a birthday party that took place over the weekend in South Carolina. The child had received permission from his mother to retrieve a toy gun from the trunk of their car. She reportedly didn't know her boyfriend's loaded real gun was also in the vehicle. The boy touched the trigger of the real gun while it was still in the trunk, according to reports, which caused it to fire a bullet that ripped through the car and hit little Juliet Lynch in the chest.
This horrific accident also resulted in the injury of a second child -- a 5-year-old boy who was hit in the arm by bullet fragments. Both children were rushed to the hospital, and Juliet was declared dead shortly thereafter. The boy is expected to recover.
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How absolutely senseless is this? A happy event turned into a nightmare in a matter of seconds and a mother lost her precious child all because of an adult who should have known better than to leave a loaded gun in a place that could be accessed by a child.
Incidents like these should make us gasp -- they shouldn't make us shake our heads and wonder where we've heard this before. But the truth is we hear about young children messing around with loaded guns all too often.
Around this time last year, a 5-year-old boy shot and killed his 2-year-old sister with a rifle while his mother cleaned their house. And just a few weeks ago, an 8-year-old boy was killed by his brother, who got his hands on a loaded handgun that he thought was a BB gun.
So, what's the solution here? Do we ban toy guns and make it perfectly clear to children that weapons are not play things? I'm not entirely on board with that; I feel the actual problem here is with the adults who need to open their eyes and be more aware of the potential dangers associated with owning guns. A responsible gun owner does not leave a loaded gun anywhere within the reach of a child. Case closed.
What do you feel should be done to make sure children aren't hurt by guns?
Image via Eliot Phillips/Flickr