Great Leap Forward

Nine Year Olds, Uzis, and Gun Nuts—a Volatile Mixture: It’s Troll Friday

If you want more Bullets with your Burgers, you might want to skip this week’s blog. Yep, it is Troll Friday.

Child firing Uzi at Ariz. shooting range accidentally kills instructor, police say.

Well, accidents happen. You cannot prevent all of them. Some slip through and someone dies.

Kids will be kids. You give your toddler one of those plastic workbenches with a plastic hammer and some big screws to hammer in, and you know that eventually he’s going to either bang his finger or blacken an eye on the backswing.

It is a calculable risk and she’ll learn from the experience. You try to prevent it by banishing all dangerous toys from the playpen and your kid will be a hopeless klutz the rest of his life.

We live with it, we accept that accidents are inevitable.

But normal parents and teachers don’t put their toddler on the roof with a running chainsaw. You know the kid is going to tumble off, chopping off a leg in midair before landing on top of the saw with the blade implanted in his chest.

The problem is not the probability of accident—which is about the same as the black eye caused by the plastic hammer. It is the consequence.

But more than that. It is WTF! Why would you give a kid a running chainsaw on the top of a gall-darned roof?

Sure, kids need to learn how to run chainsaws. Well, at least some of them do. At the proper time. In the proper place. For the proper purpose.

Full disclosure. I grew up firing guns at targets. I shot a 22 caliber rifle at age 7. My dad thought it would be a great joke to hand me his shotgun. I fired, landed on my butt, my shoulder hurt for a week, and I forever lost affection for shotguns. Fortunately, it was single-shot because I aimed high and all the adults claimed I almost hit a cow on a hill across the highway. Truth is, I could have hit anything except what I aimed at, and if I had fired an Uzi, I might have wiped out the whole herd.

I suppose this is still the accepted initiation everywhere in America and with the exception of the occasional accident it’s an acceptable risk. Accidents happen. You live with them. Cows die.

By age 9 kids in my community were hunting on their own. I guess if you will hunt at age 9, you better start practicing at 7.

But WTF. Why would a 9 year old need to fire an Uzi? Training for one of those African Child Armies? Planning to join a Mexican Drug Cartel at age 12?

What is wrong with these adults? An Uzi is not a hunting weapon. It is designed to kill large numbers of humans very quickly. There is no conceivable reason why a 9 year old would need the skill of operating an Uzi.

Oh, right. To protect the home against intruders. Maybe the parents planned to buy her an Uzi and thought she’d better get in some practice. Maybe an African American female who had been in a serious car accident might come crawling to the door, asking for help, to be welcomed by an armed child with an Uzi to defend the homeland?

I’m sorry. That was not called for. I feel terrible for this child. She has to live with the mistakes of the adults around her. And I expect that their motive was much simpler. They thought it would be “fun” for her to have the experience of firing off a machine gun. Surely she had seen hundreds or thousands of such firings on TV and at the movies.

But it was an inappropriate desire. When I was nine, I pined for many completely inappropriate experiences. Many were socially wrong. Many denied the laws of physics. I didn’t get those experiences, many of those desires now embarrass me. I’m glad I didn’t get them.

I’d put Uzis and nine-year olds in that category. Any one stupid enough to think a nine year old has the physical strength to control a machine gun is an idiot and should not be allowed to supervise a child. This child killed the instructor. Another child blew much of his own head off. The adults are to blame.

You don’t start up a chainsaw and hand it to a toddler toddling on the roof.

There is something seriously wrong in America, and nothing illustrates it better than this story.

Quick: how many cops fired guns in the UK last year? How many people did they kill?

Yep, 3. And Zero.

Who knows how many cops fired guns in the US last year. No one knows—far too many to count. How many people did they kill in 2012—including unarmed black men? 405 on purpose and classified as justified (not sure how many additional people were killed by police by accident or otherwise unjustified).

According to the right leaning Economist the reason for the stark difference is “actually quite simple: guns are comparatively rare in the UK. Most cops don’t carry them and criminals rarely have access to them.”

We always hear: if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. They’ll be out there running amuck, killing citizens and cops alike.

How many cops did those armed criminals in Britain kill last year?


In all of the year, criminals in Britain killed one fewer skilled gun handler than a well-armed 9 year old killed this week in Arizona.

It does make one ponder.




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