5-Year-Old Who Shot Toddler Isn't a Real Criminal

playgroundThere are some sentences that shouldn't have to be written. But as much as I'd like to ignore the fact that a 5-year-old boy shot his 4-year-old friend on a Maryland playground this week, it happened. And yes, you read those ages right. A 5-year-old boy had a gun and the opportunity to use it.

Five. With a gun. And did I mention opportunity? Excuse me, I'm so befuddled, I'm going to have to keep saying that to convince myself that adults truly left a 4-year-old and a 5-year-old alone at a playground ... with a gun.


If there can be good news in the story about a 5-year-old with a gun (there I go again), it's that the 4-year-old was able to run home, where a responsible adult took him to a hospital for treatment. His gunshot wound to the upper part of his torso was not life-threatening (phewww). But folks, this 4-year-old had to run home after he was shot. The 5-year-old was able to shoot him.

Where were all the responsible adults to begin with? Apparently police are still trying to determine how this little 5-year-old found the gun (there's talk it was in his own home). He shouldn't have been able to get it, but he's 5. I'm willing to go with "he didn't know any better," and let the kid off regardless of whether it was from the house or found ON the playground.

But here's what's very clear ... to me anyway. When a 5-year-old pulls out a gun, it sets off warning bells in an adult's mind. An adult with common sense anyway. It sends an adult with said common sense running pell-mell across the playground to wrest the dangerous weapons out of the hands of the person who still thinks it's OK to wipe his boogers on his pants. 

Even if the whole thing "happened too fast" to prevent the actual shooting (say he had it in his backpack like Dora told him -- need I remind you, he's FIVE?), in the average world of parenting toddlers, parents are everywhere. A kid can't chuck a handful of dirt on an "average" playground without having a pack of moms yell, "No throwing sand!"

But in Maryland this week, a 5-year-old boy shot a 4-year-old boy on a playground, and the kid had to run home to get his wound cleaned out. I shouldn't have had to write that sentence, because parents could have changed this whole dynamic. I don't need any more information ... charge these parents with negligence. Now. They're the real criminals.

What was your reaction to that awful sentence, this terrible situation?


Image via Eamonn/Flickr

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