So Slate’s Justin Peters had a nice “squirrel” piece yesterday about gun “accidents," wherein he sought to use a rash of recent gun accidents involving young children as a news peg to push for more stringent gun control on the state level.
With five scandals plaguing the Obama administration, you would think that a Washington Post affiliated site would be drilling down on Eric Holder’s possible perjury about the seizure of phone records and emails of journalists. That’s a story that hits close to home for any journalist. Yet, Peters decided to apply the defibrillator paddles to the gun meme. In a way you have to admire the left-wing media's persistence.
Peters's May 31 story revolves around a tragic accident where 15 year-old Saylor Slone Martine died after being shot in the head. She and her sister were handling a handgun bought by her parents for protection, they laid it on the counter, and it went off. What does Peters think should happen? Well, her parents should be prosecuted, naturally:
I can’t imagine the grief Saylor Martine’s parents are feeling right now, and it seems a bit cold to suggest that they should be fined or prosecuted. But doing so may well prevent the next accident by persuading other parents to unload their damn guns, and lock them up where their children can’t get to them. When it comes to gun safety, ignorance is negligence, and negligence is too often fatal. Saylor Martine gets shot in the head while stooping down to pick up her cell phone. A five-year-old Kentucky boy accidentally shoots and kills his two-year-old sister with a rifle that his parents stored “in a corner.” A six-year-old New Jersey boy accidentally shoots and kills his four-year-old neighbor with a rifle he allegedly found hidden under a bed. There are many, many others.
I’m going to keep covering these stories. Attention needs to be paid to this problem in order to convince people that there is a problem, and not just a series of isolated incidents. But I need your help. If you see a story about a child who dies in an accidental shooting, please email me. These incidents can be reduced if we just start paying attention.
It's a classy guy who decides to exploit the death of someone else’s kid to make a political point. Obviously in cases of abject parental neglect, prosecution should be pursued, but the death of a child from such an accident is punishment enough.
The problem isn't and never has been guns in and of themselves, and the liberal fixation on demonizing the object doesn't do anything to save lives. Indeed, making guns into some wicked talisman only heightens the taboo and the allure. Guns are dangerous implements which, used properly, save lives. Parents should be encouraged to always keep them unloaded and out of reach of young children. At the same time, parent-supervised use of a gun in a controlled range environment is not a sinister thing.
Writers like Peters would do well to encourage responsible parenting rather than turning, predictably and cynically, to the liberal panacea: more laws and more prosecutions.