Letters

Letters 09-08-2014

Try This Real Advice

The Advice Goddess? More like the “say confusing analogies and never answer the question,” mere mortal. Take the first reader’s question last week about breaking up with his iPod-purchasing GF: “MP3’S A CROWD”: Break up with her, iClod...

Nine-Year-Olds With Guns Not OK

I have been thinking about this awful situation in Arizona where a 9-year-old blew a shooting instructor away with an Uzi machine gun. I was looking for any consistency with other aspects of life...

Respect Our President

I recently read a Canadian’s view on our lack of respect for our President. It made me think about a time when, once elected, most Americans rallied around our new leader. We became united in moving forward and leading the world...

Northport Sewer A Bungle

The Northport sewer cost is $15.669 million not $12 million as recently stated in the Express. It is the most expensive sewer per household the Michigan SRF ever funded. Today the sewer is only processing 51,000 gpd on average...

Y Members Deserve Answers

Three weeks after Tom Van Deinse was fired from his position as Executive Director and Tennis Pro of the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA, I am still trying to understand the motives of the YMCA Board of Directors for their decision to remove him after 14 years of service...

Reflections on Order

Old men make lists. My father did it, and now that burden seems to be imposing itself on me. It wells up inside me with a vengeance and I must give vent to it. Here is my list:


Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Kids & Guns
. . . .

Kids & Guns

Robert Downes - July 19th, 2010
Kids & Guns
A sad commentary on our times is the State Senate’s recent passage of
a new gun safety program targeting young children in our public
schools.
No pun intended.
On July 1, the Michigan Senate voted 34-4 to establish something
similar to the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Eddie Eagle Program
which teaches kids in kindergarten through the third grade what to do
if they see a gun.
The motive behind the legislation is admirable: State Senator John
Gleason (D-Flushing) simply wants to warn kids about the danger of
guns and how to protect themselves if, say, a playmate pulls out his
dad’s 9mm Glock for show-and-tell. It happens.
Gleason introduced the legislation in response to the 2000 shooting
death of Kayla Renee Rolland, a 6-year-old who was murdered by her
6-year-old schoolmate Dedrick Owens as her horrified teacher and 22
classmates looked on. Dedrick had found his uncle’s .32 caliber
handgun and brought it to Buell Elementary School in Mount Morris
Township. Following the shooting, the boy dropped the gun in a a
wastebasket and hid in a restroom until being found by a teacher.
It’s believed that Kayla is the youngest school shooting victim in
U.S. history, while Dedrick became the youngest shooter. Dedrick never
faced charges, being too young to comprehend what he was doing.
Why Sen. Gleason would wait 10 years to introduce such a piece of
legislation, one can only imagine. Perhaps it has something to do
with politics. At any rate, the Michigan House of Representatives
will vote on the bill, which will go into effect during
the 2011-12 school year. It will undoubtably pass.
If the state’s new gun safety program is anything like Eddie Eagle, it
will use coloring books and an informational CD to warn kids about the
dangers of guns and how to avoid them. The NRA’s Eddie Eagle program
has instructed 21 million children in the dangers of guns in the wrong
hands.
There’s some logic to this: we have sex education programs in our
schools and public health and safety programs, so why not gun safety?
After all we have more than 30,000 gun deaths each year in America,
60% of which are suicides. And each year more than 3,000 children and
teenagers are killed by firearms.
One year, in fact, the federal Centers for Disease Control reported
that 5,285 children were killed by firearms in the U.S., compared to
zero children in Japan, 19 in Great Britain, 57 in Germany and 153 in
Canada.
What distinguishes the United States from a country like Japan where
no kids are killed? Simple: Japan prohibits gun ownership, except for
shotguns and single-shot rifles for hunting. And the average Japanese
doesn’t care all that much about guns; only 3 people in 100 own a gun
in Japan, so there’s virtually no gun crime.
By contrast, it’s estimated that half of all adult Americans own a
gun, with somewhere between 238 million and 276 million firearms in
private ownership. No one really knows how many are out there.
Owing to their slavish allegiance to the NRA, it often seems that
every state legislature in America loves guns more than they love
children. So there’s no chance that lawmakers will ever approach the
problem of kids getting killed from the perspective of there being too
many armed lunatics or careless uncles out there. Instead, they will
meet the problem with coloring books and CDs.
Thus, the sad revelation of the need to warn 5-year-olds of the threat
of being shot by their playmates or some depressed psycopath -- an all
too common occurrence.
Funny, but so many parents wouldn’t even dream of allowing their kids
to play with toy guns. And you can be suspended from school in America
for simply pointing your finger and yelling “bang.” Here’s hoping
your kid never sees a real one, in school or anywhere else.

 
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