I get upset every time I see a headline about a child killed after someone played with a firearm. Sometimes I blame the parents. Sometimes I blame whoever the gun belonged to (if it wasn’t the parents’ gun). Sometimes I just get heartbroken.
That feeling happened again earlier this week when I saw this story out of Florida.
Miami-Dade officers arrived at the scene in the 19800 block of Southwest 320th Street just outside of Homestead and found the two teens dead.
Officials said the teens had been playing with a gun when a 15-year-old fired the shot that killed both of the other teens.
The victims were identified as 15-year-old Jose Villarreal II and 14-year-old Julio Labrada. Officers took the teen who shot the firearm into custody, and said he’ll face a manslaughter charge.
One single gunshot destroyed three lives.
I don’t know who the gun belonged to or how the teen got it. Right now, I’m not interested in any of that. No, right now I’m interested in just how we can prevent it from happening again.
Of course, anti-gunners will try to tell us we need a mandatory storage law, even if we don’t know how the kids got the gun in the first place. Personally, I think that’s the wrong approach.
What we need is firearm education to be taught to each and every child in this country, and not just a single talk once a year. I mean an actual firearms course that will focus not just one “don’t touch,” but will also include the Four Rules and more instruction on how to safely operate a firearm. After all, we need to demystify guns.
By familiarizing students with firearms, we can take some of the forbidden nature away and minimize the chances of things like this from happening. It won’t make them go away, not completely, but it can reduce them a great deal. It can save lives.
Unfortunately, it’s never going to happen.
It’s not going to happen because the same educational establishment that opposes voluntarily-armed teachers will also oppose firearm education for students. Their anti-gun bias is so intense that they’ll risk human lives rather than concede any ground to the firearm community. After all, if people learn how to handle guns safely, they might actually support gun rights as they grow older.
We simply can’t have that.
As a result, kids aren’t being taught what they need to be taught.
Sure, we could blame the parents for not teaching this, but do the parents even know? How many adults were raised completely without any background in firearm handling? A lot, from what I’ve seen.
If the parents aren’t capable of teaching their kids this, someone else will need to do it. While I generally don’t want the government involved in something like that, it’s time to acknowledge that there might not be a better option.
Some schools are including hunter’s education in their curriculum, which is good, but it shouldn’t be enough. We can do better than that and save a lot of lives in the process.