Rather than getting huffy about how easy it is for kids to get their hands on guns and kill themselves or others, KJ Dell’Antonia writes for the New York Times’ Motherlode blog that, you know, that’s just how things work in America and there’s nothing to be done about it ever:
No matter how you feel about firearms and gun laws, we live in the country we live in. My neighbors have guns. Your neighbors have guns. Your guns may be locked up; the babysitter’s boyfriend may keep his on the seat of his car. At some point, some child is going to take my child or yours by the hand, open Mom’s closet or the trunk of Dad’s car, and say, “Look!” At that point, I don’t want my children to say, “Wow, let me see that.” I want them to shrug and say, “Whatever” and “Let’s go do something else.” (I actually want them to say: “Suzi, get away from there! That’s dangerous! We have to go tell your mom and mine right now!” But I’m realistic.)
So, parents of America, teach your kids how to shoot guns for fun and sport or else someone else will. Or they won’t understand how deadly serious guns are. Or something. I have almost no idea what Dell’Antonia is trying to argue in this piece.
The alternate headline could easily have been “Don’t Parent Like This.” Here’s why:
But I didn’t present it as “here, touch this hot stove so you’ll never do it again.” We had a good time on a beautiful day doing something that if, done wrong, could have killed any one of us, and does kill people every day.
In other words, the lesson that Dell’Antonia wanted to highlight for kids is that guns are both incredibly dangerous and incredibly fun. So if the kids happen upon a gun when they’re playing at a friend’s house or when they’re at the movies or when they’re in the bathroom at their school, they’ll be sure to say, “This is a very dangerous tool; I shall summon the proper authorities right away” rather than “This is a fun thing my parents let me play with.”
Or they won’t. In which case they might shoot themselves or someone else. But, hey, it’s impossible to prevent these sorts of tragedies because this is America where everyone should be able to have access to any gun at any time so we should teach our kids that guns are fun and should never be touched unless your mom says it’s ok and you’re at a shooting range and you’re old enough to make good decisions and it’s not an Uzi.