Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Argument over firewood gone wrong

This story is beyond tragic. There is more information yet to come, but a 10 year old boy in Ohio just confessed to shooting his mother to death. There are people who read this blog who believe that when the press reports on stories about shootings, they have an agenda. I wonder what agenda the Columbus Dispatch has in reporting on this story? Perhaps that guns and kids are not a good combination? Perhaps that guns should be locked up away from kids because kids are curious and will shoot guns accidentally or on purpose? Perhaps that this boy had some problems and that would make it even more important to make sure he didn't have access to guns? 

And now more information has come out about this shooting. It turns out that there was an argument over firewood. The boy did not want to carry firewood into the house so he shot his mother? To make things worse, the boys father gave him guns which were stored in his bedroom. How irresponsible is that? It's more than boys will be boys and boys will hunt. According to several people who commented in the story, the boy was known for anger and discipline problems as well. Come on. This is just plain irresponsible and stupid, not to mention tragic.

The plain truth is that shooting incidents involving kids happen often in our country. It is usually the child who is shot by a family member or friend. You don't often read a story about a 10 year old shooting a parent. That is news. That is not an agenda. It should be a wake-up call. And what was the comment at the end of the first linked story? The county prosecutor: " "We don't have homicides here, period," he said. "I've got nothing to compare it to."" That's the agenda, in my view. We need to have a serious common sense discussion about the fact that homicides can and do happen everywhere and about the role of parents when it comes to guns and their children.


  1. I would actually venture to bet that most of the children accounted for in the children shot per year are gang members.

  2. I thought you guys didn't want to consider teens and gangs as children? Sometimes gang members shoot children who are in the line of fire. But I think you are wrong. The ones that make the news are the ones where children are shot accidentally by their siblings or a friend or occasionally a homicide where a parent shoots a child along with a wife or other family members. I don't have time to look things up now but I don't believe there are a lot of 10 year old gang members- I could be wrong.

  3. What I want and what happens when people use statistics to further and agenda are two different things I guess.

  4. " thought you guys didn't want..."
    Cmon' Joan... One guy doesn't speak for all of "us".

    It would be nice if we could have exact numbers with all the potential parameters we could imagine, but we can't. For every statistic, there's another to refute it.

    Any time a child dies, it's tragic. I have a 3 year old, and one year old. As a responsible parent, I take all precautions for their safety.
    Since I have guns in the house, I NEED to make sure that I take every precaution to prevent an accident. I would wager my daughter knows more about gun safety than most 10 year olds.

    In this case, it is a complete parenting fail. Joan, I'm very pleased that you did not try to suggest a law or restriction to resolve this problem, but put the blame squarely where it belongs.... On the parents.

    What a senseless death.

  5. Crotalus (Dont Tread on Me)January 4, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    Apparently the kid had some real anger management issues, and Pappy was remiss in letting the kid have a gun. Ten years old, and willing to kill his own Mom? Surely there were warning signs.

    But even this is not enough to abandon the Bill of Rights. And, this story can be countered. There's the story of Bonnie Elsmari, who tried to get a gun to defend herself from her enraged ex. She had to wait two days for it, and her ex killed her before that cooling off period ended. Here, a gun could (notice I said "could") have saved someone's life but that someone was denied. I believe that he beat her to death, so, no gun was used in that murder.

    We did not say that children don't murder or accidentally shoot each other. What we DID say is that the Brady Campaign and others use teenagers and young adults killed in the commission of a crime to pad their "children killed by guns" numbers.

  6. @Japete - Your agenda comment was off the mark and actually a bit shameful. The person that made the comment about media agenda didn't speak clearly but afterwards I believe he clarifed himself that it is the fact that they do NOT report all the defensive shootings where people lived because they were armed. THAT is the agenda. They only print news stories that will sell papers and push an anti-gun bias. The Armed Citizen blog exists almost solely to highlight defensive shootings because the number of people who claim that it happens so rarely. It only makes nationwide news if it is a bad shooting as opposed to someone successfully defending their lives.

    And yes.. there are 10-year old gang members..
    The average age of gang members is from 14 to 21 years of age. Gang members, however, can be as young as 8 years old or as old as into their mid 30's

    And you are also wrong in what "we" want to consider..

    The teens we don't want you to consider as teens are the 18,19,20,21,22,23, and 24 year old who die. Calling their deaths a "child death" is just not factual. Sure, it goes into the homocide count and sure they count but let's be honest about it.... They aren't kids and to say they are... is an attempt to inflate numbers and pull at heart strings. We would like to consider facts.

    As for considering gang members, we don't like to do that because generally from where I stand, if a gang member kills another gang member, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. That's a gang member that won't be killing a good citizen.

    So when he says that it is gang member numbers, that is exactly what he is telling you.. We don't want to consider inflated numbers that talk about gang members who have been killed in their little drug wars.

  7. Guns and children don't mix. Period. Children are too curious, careless and impulsive to be trusted with things made for killing.

    This story brings to mind a similar case: Kip Kinkel and the Thurston School shootings, which happened here in my area. Kip had a history of anger and depression, but his father supplied him with guns to placate him, even as therapy failed. The boy then killed his parents before heading to school to kill and injure others.

  8. This terrible, sad story is a perfect illustration of the gun culture gone wrong. The dad in this case probably taught the kid plenty about guns. But a 10-year-old is too young to responsibly handle that knowledge.

    The dad should go to jail for a little while and then relinquish his gun rights forever.

  9. Joan,

    Perhaps the agenda is as simply as to reinforce your message "guns and kids don't mix".

    Wouldn't you love a generation of kids that didn't grow up learning to shoot?

    On the other hand, the agenda can be very subtle as in not addressing what type of family life the child was raised in.

    I'm a parent, as are you correct?

    I'm sure you didn't raise your kids to use violence as a solution to a problem. I didn't.

    Millions of other parents, many with guns in the house didn't raise kids to use violence as a solution to the problem.

    Yet that aspect of the story -- the home life of the child isn't covered; why?

  10. Crotalus- The Brady Campaign does not "pad" numbers. They don't make anything up. They get their numbers from sources such as the CDC or justice department where they keep track of sources of death and sources of violent death. Most people consider children to be those under 18. One could even consider children who are dependent on their parents still in the category of children. My children were almost totally dependent on my husband and me for their survival until they graduated from college. I still call them my children in fact in spite of the fact that they both have children of their own. I don't think it does much good to quibble over things like this. There are facts out there that can be checked. The WISQARS report on CDC has numerous charts showing causes of overall death, causes of violent death, causes of homicide, etc. and puts them into age categories. They are easy to check out. They don't pad any numbers. They just count them up and report them.

  11. So anon- apparently then there are "throw away" people. We shouldn't count gang member deaths as deaths and we shouldn't care about them. They are killing each other, true enough. They are also killing innocent people caught in their cross fire. It is a sad state of affairs. I am talking, by the way, of children and teens when I talk about children and not including those in their 20s, as I think you were claiming I was doing. See explaination abovel

  12. I believe I did comment on this boy's home life and it is made clear in the article that he had anger and discipline problems. Also, his father should not have allowed him to have loaded guns in his bedroom. Shame on him, at the least. I am quite sure that most of you commenting here have not raised your children to think violence is O.K. There are people who do, however which is where sometimes things go wrong. Remember, this dad was teaching this boy that guns were o.k. to have around in his bedroom and wanted him to have those guns in spite of the mother's opposition to his. He was teaching him to do more than hunt with that way of thinking.

  13. And in contrast, we have this article:

    "HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (AP) — Hot Springs police say a 14-year-old boy home alone shot a 17-year-old boy in the face, ending an attempted burglary.

    Police say they responded to a call about 7:30 a.m. Monday concerning a shooting and learned about the attempted home invasion."

    A child defending his home using a firearm.

    Which one should be used to determine legislation?

  14. "We need to have a serious common sense discussion about the fact that homicides can and do happen everywhere "

    Yet you tell us that we have no reason to carry firearms for self-defense in Starbucks, restaurants, National Parks, schools etc, etc, etc.

    Yes japete, homicides can and do happen everywhere.

    Glad we agree that we should be able to carry where ever we go.

  15. Joan,

    Please help me understand this

    You don't often read a story about a 10 year old shooting a parent. That is news. That is not an agenda. It should be a wake-up call.

    If we don't often read about it, isn't it because it doesn't happen very often, right?

    So, if something doesn't happen very often -- why should it serve as a wake up call?

    Are you blaming this death on the firearm instead of the multitude of other factors; possibly such as mental illness, poor or negligent parenting, video games or rock & roll music?

  16. "Guns and children don't mix. Period. Children are too curious, careless and impulsive to be trusted with things made for killing."

    If you don't teach children how to be responsible when they're young enough to control, you end up with adults who are too careless and impulsive to be trusted with things made for killing - like cars and alcohol.

  17. Actually, the Brady Campaign isn't quite that accurate. This blog post (http://falling.cw3.com/?p=257) shows how a statement they made in a press release, "People aged 18-20 fall within the age range of offenders with the highest rates of homicide and criminal gun possession" doesn't agree with 2009 FBI crime data.

  18. Your right to self defense at home is one thing. It is now considered an individual right to keep and bear arms. As to where they are carried and by whom, that can still be up for discussion and debate.

  19. It's a wake up call about parents allowing their 10 year old children to have loaded guns in their bedrooms rather than being safely stored where they can't get at them.

  20. Thanks, Migo. I suggest you check the CDC WISQARS report for causes of injury death by age category. http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/Violence_2007-a.pdf

    You will see that in 2007, in the age range of 15-24 ( which is the way they categorize it) firearms homicide are the 2nd leading cause of injury death coming in at 4669 behind traffic accidents- 10,272. I would say that make the Brady Campaign's assessment correct.

  21. @ japete:

    Your right to self defense at home is one thing. It is now considered an individual right to keep and bear arms. As to where they are carried and by whom, that can still be up for discussion and debate.

    Minor correction to the above statement. It has always been a right since the formation of these United States (and I would argue since the beginning of time) for an individual to keep and bear arms.

    just sayin' ....

  22. The Supreme Court, as you know, recently determined that the interpretation is now that it is an individual right. Before that, it was up for debate.

  23. The Supreme Court, as you know, recently determined that the interpretation is now that it is an individual right. Before that, it was up for debate.

    It was a debate, but the opposition was wrong. SCOTUS simply verified that it was an individual right all along.

  24. Does it make sense that one has the Right to use a gun in self-defense inside their home but not outside their home?

    Which is more important, the act of self-defense, or your physical location on the planet?

  25. I don't interpret this event in exactly the same way you do. However, two things we totally agree on is that it is very tragic and handing a kid with anger issues multiple guns was pretty stupid.

    However, that really shouldn't be extended to say that kids/young adults should never be given guns. Thousands of kids every day handle that responsibility and nothing happens. There are always tragic accidents, as happens with any potentially dangerous activity or object, however they are by definition rare.

    That said, I do feel bad for the mother's family and everyone impacted by this event.

  26. This is a bit off topic, but while the CDC WISQAR tool is an excellent tool, it can't be used to test the inaccuracy of the Brady Campaign statement I referenced earlier within a press release opposing the change of a Texas law. The CDC tool reports on deaths and injuries, not offenders.

    The CDC WISQAR tool will tell you that only 19% of all mortal injuries within the 18-20 year old range were homicides with a firearm. Of that 19%, 63% of the victims were black. One could also say that 81% of all 18-20 year old people that died in 2007 were not mortally injured by a firearm. One can infer much from this data, but can those inferences be supported by this data?

    Back on point, I agree that the Ohio story is a tragedy, but it's rare. Just like this story: http://www.khou.com/news/Deputy-Son-acted-to-protect-sister-98962129.html.

  27. Thanks, Migo. I saw that story. I think someone else sent it to me. As to the CDC site, it clearly shows that gun homicides are the second leading cause of injury deaths in the age category in question. I think that is reason to be concerned. If drowning were the second cause of death, we would be "up in arms" or some other cause. Many diseases take as many or more lives than firearms in children. We are all working to change that. The Brady Campaign's wording was meant to depict the fact that a very large number of gun homicides cause the deaths of older teens and young adults. That is not acceptable. Why are you trying to defend it or find fault with it? The numbers are the numbers. And are black young people expendable to you or what did you mean by that statement?

  28. No one is expendable to me. I added the fact about black deaths because it can stir emotions and lead to inferences that are not supported by the raw data, similar to what I see from the Brady Campaign and VPC.

    There are over 270 million guns in the United States, so most are overwhelmingly being used responsibly, but every now and then a tragedy occurs like the one in Ohio. Those rare tragedies are blamed on the firearm, instead of the real problem, which in the Ohio case sounds like irresponsible parenting. Should we legislate laws that specify who should be allowed to reproduce based on tests designed to determine financial responsibility and emotional maturity? That's a tough question, so it's easier to focus on the firearm.

    I believe young adults kill because they live in an environment that diminishes their self worth and the value of society. If you grow up in a world that offers no hope under clueless parents that don't teach you the value of life, it's not surprising that some young people turn to violence. That's not the fault of a 3 lb. piece of metal.

    I believe we can do more to solve the homicide problem by supporting programs like this (http://www.selfenhancement.org/), than we can in trying to control 0.003% of the firearms in the United States that are used in homicides.

  29. Mark Steele is pretty funny. If the Supreme Court agrees with him, they're right. But what do you think he'll say if and when they reverse that decision? One single vote made the difference in both Heller and McDonald.

    But the RKBA has always been a right, and I suppose always will.

  30. Mike - Since rights are inherit and the Constitution only protects them, they cannot be given or taken by government. That is the whole entire point of the birth of this nation. If government gives you the right, or can take it away simply because a court says it isn't, how is this government any different than every other one?

    Now there can be some dispute over what a right covers but the Constitution doesn't give rights. It specifically tells the government what WE have given them the power to do. If it isn't given, it isn't within their authority. It does NOT dictate what WE are allowed to do.

  31. Yes that's the "whole entire point."

    To say that owning a firearm is an "inherent right" is self-serving crap. It's too big a step from the inherent right to self-defense to say you need a gun to exercise that right.