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Gun Worship vs. Common Sense

News of the five-year-old boy in Kentucky who shot and killed his two-year- old sister, using the gun he had gotten for his birthday, was shocking. Even more shocking, to me, was the response of public officials.

Kentucky State Trooper Billy Gregory, who investigated the incident, summed it up this way: “It’s just one of those nightmares; a quick thing that happens when you turn your back.” Cumberland County Coroner Gary White, in pronouncing the death accidental stated “it’s just a tragic situation.”

Let’s think about those statements for a moment. “A quick thing that happens when you turn your back.” Sure, when you turn your back on a five-year-old with a loaded firearm. Which is a good reason not to turn your back on a five-year-old with a gun. And possibly a good reason why you should not give a five-year-old a gun.

As for “it’s just a tragic situation,” it is more than that. At the least it is an instance of appalling bad judgment, on the mother’s part. At most it is yet another example of the rampant gun worship in this country, in which an ideological commitment to firearms for everyone trumps common sense.

George Santayana famously said, “Those who do not remember the lessons of the past are condemned to repeat its mistakes.” Judging from the comments of those involved in this case, I’d have to expect that this is not the last time we will hear this story.

> Joseph Gerken, Buffalo

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