Somewhere in the last 30 years or so, we got the idea that we should all have guns for self protection from all those other people who have guns. We have been told that we need to fear for our lives at airports, in shopping malls, schools, churches, parks and coffee shops. Of course, occasionally, shootings have occurred in all of these places and people have died. Actually though, most shootings occur in homes between people who know each other, on the streets among gang members or are suicides. So as more and more guns are owned by more and more people we are beginning to see dangerous incidents like the one above. Gun owners are not always responsible. This father was lucky that his little girl didn't explore her backpack and start playing with the gun inside. Or the gun could have fallen out when she opened the backpack to get something else. Who knows where that bullet would have ended up? We have seen that one before just as we have seen a young child with a gun in a first grade Flint, Michigan classroom shoot a fellow classmate in 2000. Remember Kayla Rolland? I'm sure her parents can't forget.
So the school year begins and there will be more gun incidents. Let's hope they won't end in tragedy as they have in previous years. Remember Columbine? Remember Paducah? Remember Virginia Tech. Remember Red Lake? Remember Ricori? What do these shootings have in common? Most of the shooters got their guns at home where they were owned by a parent or relative. Many are now called massacres. Most can be called by the name of the school or city with no other reference and people know what it means. There have been 145 school shootings from January 1997 through December of 2009 resulting in 160 deaths of students and staff. The injured are more numerous and still live with the affects of the bullets. Of course, this list does not include the times a gun was found in a student's backpack or locker with no one injured or killed. Many tragedies have been averted.
As school begins again, be responsible if you own guns. Your kids know where they are and know where to find them. And, for goodness sakes, don't leave them in your child's backpack! Lives depend on it.