?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

mini-rant

A local blogger responded on a story of a three-year-old shooting himself with a handgun with this sarcastic comment: "If only everybody was armed, perhaps another three-year-old could have stopped him."

If a kid gets into the cleaning chemicals and downs a bottle of bleach, does anybody talk about banning bleach? Of course not, in that case it's the parents' fault for being stupid.

Tangent the first: but the purpose of a gun is to kill people, not to clean things! Actually, you could argue that the original purpose of guns was to kill animals for food or self-defense; but that's irrelevant. Guns are the technological response to an imperfect world where violence happens, and they allow me to level the playing field between me and the person who's trying to break into my house or rape me.

Tangent the second: a person has to be pretty damned stupid to leave a loaded gun where a kid can get to it. Hell, leave the magazine next to the gun, even - it takes very little time to load it in the case of necessity, but sufficient manual dexterity that if the kid who finds it can do it, he's old enough to be taken to a range and taught proper handling and respect for firearms.

Tangent the third: I may not be the most paranoid parent in the world - I may not do as much childproofing as is considered appropriate - but if Aiden injures himself on something I leave accessible, you know what? It's my fault. And I'll damn well deal with the consequences.

Hell, barring extreme injury or death, Aiden has to hurt himself on the things around him in order to learn where the boundaries are. I have to allow him to fall down a couple of steps occasionally so he learns to be careful on stairs. I do him no good by ensconcing him in bubble wrap until the day I have to take it off and he has no idea how to deal with the real world.

Now, a bump on the head is obviously a far cry from a bullet to the chest, but where exactly does that line fall, and who decides? There are parents out there who would think me horrible for allowing him to ever hit his head, just as there are those who think I'm coddling him unconscionably by picking him up whenever he wants. But he's my child, so I decide where that line falls, and I deal with the consequences if I misjudge.

Sure, tragedies happen. Risks happen. And sure, if I appear to have a pattern of severe misjudgement, the government can come and take him away from me - but the government is even more ill-advised to keep me from making any mistakes at all than I am ill-advised to keep my son out of any and all danger forever, because the government sure as hell ain't my mommy.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
anubis75
Jun. 27th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
Handguns are only designed for one thing: To aid in the killing of humans. Most of them aren't well suited for hunting.
maxomai
Jun. 27th, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC)
And your point is....?
anubis75
Jun. 28th, 2007 01:41 am (UTC)
Did you bother to read the post or are you looking to pick a fight?
omnifarious
Jun. 28th, 2007 02:08 pm (UTC)
Are you agreeing with her?

And she doesn't think so either.

Actually, you could argue that the original purpose of guns was to kill animals for food or self-defense; but that's irrelevant. Guns are the technological response to an imperfect world where violence happens, and they allow me to level the playing field between me and the person who's trying to break into my house or rape me.

So, are you agreeing with her, or looking to pick a fight? :-)

anubis75
Jun. 29th, 2007 01:08 am (UTC)
Re: Are you agreeing with her?
I am agreeing with her. The comment was...well it shouldda bween erased. It was only a fraction of a thought.
Pshaw!....Me trying to pick a fight with jnanacandra? WTF?
omnifarious
Jun. 29th, 2007 01:12 am (UTC)
Re: Are you agreeing with her?

Pshaw!....Me trying to pick a fight with shimmeringjemmy? WTF?

I don't have any context and don't know what your relationship with jnanacandra is, so I couldn't know whether it'd be something you'd do or not. :-)

maxomai
Jun. 27th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
Almost agreed
The thing is, if you have kids (or other unauthorized persons) around, your guns should be locked away. Period. End of story. Anything else represents an unnecessary risk.

There are ways to lock away one's handgun that don't inhibit one's ability to grab the gun quickly and use it in an emergency -- a small combo safe next to the bed should to the trick.
(Deleted comment)
maxomai
Jun. 27th, 2007 07:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Almost agreed
Trigger locks are great for keeping kids from firing the weapon. They're piss poor for access time in case of emergency, and should never be used on a loaded weapon.

If this is your Oh Shit handgun, you really want a small combo safe.

Better still is a baseball bat beside the bed, and a large combo safe, with a shotgun and Mini 14, in the bedroom closet.

But that's just me.
ignusfaatus
Jun. 27th, 2007 07:09 pm (UTC)
excellent points.
tedgill
Jun. 27th, 2007 07:48 pm (UTC)
I'm right with you, sister. As Heinlein so succinctly put it "Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy". Risk analysis/avoidance cannot be taught in a vacuum and is one of the most essential and immediate skills a child needs. There are a lot of parts of childhood that are not amenable to fluff-bunny methodologies.
inhumandecency
Jun. 27th, 2007 08:03 pm (UTC)
I'm skittish about this idea because it's easy for bad parents to use it as an excuse to be harsh or negligent. You should allow your children to get into tough situations, but you should also make sure they have the skills they need to respond to them. You should allow them to experience pain and failure, but only at magnitudes that they can recoup from. There's a spectrum from not letting your kid near water, to ambushing them and throwing them in the deep end of the pool, and both ends are bad.

I'm allowing myself to go with "shoulds" here because the extremes are kind of strawman positions and I doubt that anyone reading this disagrees with me in general terms. I bring it up because I'd like to come up with a rhetoric that expresses the view in the Heinlein quote, but also the idea that parents can play a role in helping their kids find appropriate challenges and build the necessary skills.
bioentropy
Jun. 27th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
The lazy thinking you are railing against is the END RESULT of bubble-wrapping our children.

The mollycoddle society we live in encourages individuals away from thinking for themselves in meaningful ways. Hence we see the reactionary and politically correct ideas taking precedence over rational ones.

Another example of the slaves shall serve.
litch
Jun. 28th, 2007 02:55 am (UTC)
good gods folks, clue up!

the reason for making a comment like that is to emphasize the ridiculousness of the people who reflexively make an inane comment like that after almost any gun event

The simple truth is that we would all be safer if fire arms were more tightly controlled in an urban area. Bullets flying in a cramped high density area is just a bad idea. It's the same problem with car chases.

If you are going to take a libertarian stance than it is a hell of a lot more of an impingment on ones liberties to get caught in a crossfire than to be very restricted in who can cary firearms.

inhumandecency
Jun. 28th, 2007 08:07 pm (UTC)
If you are going to take a libertarian stance than it is a hell of a lot more of an impingment on ones liberties to get caught in a crossfire than to be very restricted in who can cary firearms.

That's true, but on the other hand restrictions on who can carry firearms affect many people, continuously throughout their lives, and also affect everyone through the cost and intrusiveness of the regulartory bodies required to enforce the restrictions. Gun deaths are rarer and affect a smaller number of people. The same calculus is used when we decide whether knives, clubs, or frying pans should be available to the public. All of these things can be used to kill innocent people; the difference is in how easy it is to kill someone, and how likely it is to happen. My point is not to argue against gun control, but that the costs and benefits have to be seen not just in terms of their magnitude, but also their frequency.
poliphilo
Jun. 28th, 2007 11:23 am (UTC)
I'm English. We're not allowed to own firearms over here. From where I'm sitting this whole conversation has a touch of the surreal.
omnifarious
Jun. 28th, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)

There's an interesting author by the name of Ken Macleod who writes some stories that include a number of interesting political concepts, including gun ownership. He happens to be from your part of the world too, though I think he's Scottish, not English.

I would recommend:

They all have a lot of concepts and threads in them. But among those threads is one about the political consequences of restricting (or not restricting) gun ownership. I find the perspective interesting.

poliphilo
Jun. 28th, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the recommendation.

England, Scotland- the same rules apply.
omnifarious
Jun. 28th, 2007 02:20 pm (UTC)

I agree with you. And yes, a lot of stupid things are bandied about after something bad happens involving a gun (strange how cars are given a pass here) and the comment in the blog you mentioned is one of them.

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

Profile

firesea: self-portrait
jnanacandra
Heather Keith Freeman
Fire Sea Studios

Latest Month

October 2012
S M T W T F S
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Naoto Kishi