Imagine What This “Crazy Accident” Does to Mental Health

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.”

Frederick Douglass

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 

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14 thoughts on “Imagine What This “Crazy Accident” Does to Mental Health

  1. It was called as a “horrible tragedy”, later on described as accidental in the article I read, so I would say whomever wrote the article you read is a bit screwed up themselves.

    Sadly, this isn’t anything new or even unusual over here. Without going too far into the primary issue, I will say there are incredibly responsible gun owners with children, who keep them locked away, unloaded, with a trigger lock on, etc. But (obviously) not all, not by a long way.

    And the Constitution actually states “The right of the people to bear arms in a well and regulated militia shall not be infringed.” So the right that these people stand behind, the one our founders instituted wisely and for good reason, has been twisted and misused by the ignorant and arrogant.

    With tragic, unimaginable consequences throughout the hundreds of years since.

    1. Thanks for your comments Ruby. Of course you’re right that there are parents who are much more careful and responsible. But you know, I hate that this isn’t a new or unusual issue in the US. It would be in my country. I will never understand why children would use guns. In my eyes, it is so wrong. But then I know that my eyes aren’t the one’s that matter.

      1. I agree wholeheartedly about the children not using guns thing, Cate. And while I think the state that this country is in regarding firearms is shameful, the part about the well-organized militia. . . Well, actually even that is frightening nowadays.

        But I know why it was put in our constitution. For peace, ironically enough. Yes, we Americans somehow manage to screw everything up in ways that boggle the scope of the imagination.

        Unfortunately, I can’t say taking away all guns is the answer. It’s too ingrained (not to mention flat-out impossible), and people would just get them illegally and be that much more dangerous. But something massive needs to happen in the way of regulatory overhaul. MASSIVE.

      2. The whole thing scares me and while I don’t claim that other countries have it sorted, I am glad I am not raising a family in the US. And yes, something MASSIVE needs to change or the mental health of the country will continue to decline.

  2. I don’t know if you’ll see how this relates, Cate, but I immediately thought of the way little girls, and I think it holds true for little boys yet I don’t believe it is as heavily promoted, are painted up, dressed up, forced to take various classes to prove talent and entered into various “beauty pageants.” I’ve always thought those were horrible things to do to a child — the parents and the pageants turn them into mini-sexual beings. Then Jon-Benet Reynolds was murdered. This happened years ago here in the states, and there was quite a to-do about pageants, what they mean, whether they’re about the child or the parent(s), what stereotypes these things perpetuate, how it attracts pedophiles, etc. I think when you force children at a young age to become something YOU want them to be — whether it involves guns, pageants, the arts (playing piano, ballet, etc.), religion, etc. — you take away what natural abilities and talents God gave to them and therefore their right to become who they should as they grow up naturally. Unfortunately there are still too many people who feel it necessary to either pass on a tradition that is no longer appropriate or to see their own dreams fulfilled by their children because the parent(s) never was talented enough, capable enough, or, if they did have their dream(s) fulfilled, got too old or circumstances changed too much for them to keep pursuing what they once did.

    1. Actually I completely agree with you Kathy and you raise an interesting issue that should be on parents minds constantly. Whatever happened to letting children enjoy childhood rather than labouring them with the things of adulthood before necessary. I think it’s so sad.

  3. When I heard about this I had to put my head down for a moment and just try and pretend I wasn’t seeing that a 5 year old killed his 2 year old sister because someone bought him a gun…..

  4. John Richardson

    It was very sad, and very avoidable. That is part of what makes it so sad. We have had guns in America from the begiining. And since the begining kids have been killing kids with guns; generally thought to be unloaded. Mark Twain even did a short story about it. In his story the gun was actually unloaded and nobody got hurt. So why did he write it like he did, because everyone knew and had heard about people being killed by “unloaded” guns and I suspect that just about every person who read Twain’s story expected it to end with a killing. And, that is really pretty good evidence for how serious a problem it has been here for well over a hundred years. We should all pray for the family. You are so right, this will be a difficult sorrow for the whole family to bear, probably for the rest of their lives.

    1. What really scares me is how often this scenario gets repeated through the country. How many stories like this do we not hear and what is the over-riding effect on mental health in the country when families are built around guns?

  5. I agree.
    How will he be okay now? Why is giving a gun to a child and him killing someone seen as ‘a crazy accident’ and not the inevitable outcome of that situation? Why do all these Americans hold on so fiercely to their guns?
    If I lived there I could never let my child go to someone’s house if they owned weapons, even if they were ‘responsible gun owners’ because sometimes kids will just go looking for trouble and a gun is the perfect danger thing to find.

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