It’s been a while since I have posted, because as I said in my last post, I am currently in England. While there have been many things I have wanted to write about, circumstances have meant that is just hasn’t happened.
Then yesterday I saw a random news article. Initially I was speechless… and then I started to rant (I do that sometimes). Then I decided I simply need to share this with you. Not for the sensationalism that I’m sure some ruthless writers could capitalise on, but for the wake up call that this has to be.
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
Before telling you about the article it is important for me to say that this is about guns and I don’t like guns. I don’t agree with the public having ready access to guns, and even though I recognise that in some countries, people claim their ‘constitutional right to bear arms’, I personally disagree with this. That said, I don’t come from such a country and so some may say I have no right to comment. Except that free speech is a right too, is it not? I have little interest in debating gun control, but I have a lot of interest in considering ways in which we can protect the mental health of the public at large, both child and adult.
Described as “just one of those crazy accidents” the news article, to which I refer, told of an incident this past week where a five year old boy in Kentucky, US accidentally shot dead, his two year old sister. This “crazy accident” occurred using a 2.2 calibre rifle the five year old boy was given as a gift last year.
I admit that I had no idea that there were guns made specifically for children. How naïve? I can’t imagine what possible need there would be for children to have guns in their possession. It’s not worth anyone trying to tell me what need there is, because I simply won’t believe you. Personally I have enough trouble with a five year old having access to a toy gun, but to a real gun? With live ammunition? Absolutely not. It is just wrong. Why can’t children be children?
What really concerns me is the effect that such things has on the mental health of the people involved. How does a five year old comprehend what he has done in killing his sister? How does he cope with that, both now, and for the rest of his life?
How do his parents cope with what their son has done? But perhaps even more so, what they have done in allowing their son the access to the gun?
Of course I am not a parent, and therefore can only begin to imagine what their thoughts and feelings might be right now. I don’t want to judge the parents, but I do see the need to ask what happens to the mental health of the family (as a group and as individuals) when children have access to guns. There are a number of mental health labels that I can see becoming a very real part of this family. Is that what we want for our societies?
My opinion is that it is not in any way what we want. I can not see a single reason why a five year old child should have a gun or ammunition. Surely children need to be children. We shouldn’t be turning them in mini-adults by giving them either the tools or the skills to kill (whether by “crazy accident”or not).
The right to bear arms becomes crazily out of control when children have their own guns. It strikes me as interesting that there is so much concern about people with mental illnesses having access to guns, yet meanwhile our children, even pre-schoolers, are given guns. How do they have the ability to determine what is right and what is wrong? Without a doctorate in psychology I probably can’t comment except to say that I don’t believe children can make the decisions they need to be able to, in order to manage a gun. That said, I’m not convinced I can either (and that has nothing to do with my mental illness).
I feel incredibly sad for that five year old. It is beyond me how he can cope with the feelings he has after accidentally killing his sister this week, both now and in the years ahead. I believe he will need a lot of support for the rest of his life. Maybe the news media want to call it ‘a crazy accident’ but I can’t. It was a tragedy waiting to happen. I hope that parents who allow their children the access to firearms will act now to stop it happening again.
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
– Albert Einstein