I’m not one to judge other parents. I am pretty flawed, so far be it from me to question how other people raise their kids. Binky, no binky; McDonald’s, veggie burgers; bath, skip-bath. Whatever works, folks.
But when safety is an issue, I am firm. Booster seats until 8 years old. No unsupervised playground activities. Don’t jump on the couch or slide headfirst down a flight of stairs. Don’t run with scissors.
And certainly, don’t touch guns.
A week ago, an 8 year old boy killed himself in Westfield while target practicing with a 9-mm Micro Uzi submachine gun (Read the Boston Globe article). His father, an emergency room physician, was supervising his son’s participation in the shooting event sponsored by the Westfield Sportsman’s Club on Sunday.
So much is wrong here. Whatever you think of gun rights, I think you should agree that they are dangerous, to be handled with care. Putting one in the hand of a child who still can’t write with a pencil properly is probably not a good idea. To do so borders on criminal.
And it’s no Red Ryder air rifle we’re talking about here or a BB gun you may remember from your own childhood of backyard games of Cowboys and Indians. Nope. The weapon here was not developed for play, but for military use when the mission is to kill the other person.
Any parent who approves his child’s play with a dangerous weapon ought to be held responsible for that child’s injury or death. The end. When parents buy alcohol for their kids, our communities jump into action and are quick to demand serious penalties. Certainly, giving the kid an Uzi ought to be a whole lot worse.
My heart breaks for this family. I can only imagine the guilt that this father will carry for his lifetime. But this was a stupid, stupid, oh-so-easily preventable accident. The dad should have known better, should have known how to protect his son. He did not, in a very conscious way. Hold him responsible. This is not a Constitutional issue, it’s not a privacy issue. Would we react any differently if the dad had given his son a vial of crack cocaine on which the kid overdosed?
Hold him responsible, and let us all learn the lesson.