When you spend most of your day looking at statistics, it’s easy to become detached to the fact that those numbers represent people. In the case of firearm-related fatalities, those are people who have lost their lives. Each one of them had family and friends who mourn their loss.
It’s tragic, especially in the case of accidents. Those could have been avoided in pretty much 100 percent of the cases.
For the stepmother of a teen killed in a gun accident, it was a catalyst for her to act. That’s not unusual, of course. We see that in the anti-gun community all the time. However, in this case, she’s pushing for something a tad different.
The mother of an Abilene teenager who accidentally shot himself while playing with a gun has a new mission — to make sure his tragic death meant something.
She wants both kids and parents to learn about gun safety so something like this doesn’t happen again.
Jaeden Livingston, 14, was playing with a gun Friday at a friend’s house when he accidentally shot himself in the head. Livingston died Saturday at a hospital in Fort Worth.
Jennifer McGhee said “if anything comes from my son’s tragedy, it would be to save someone else’s life.”
McGhee said she told her kids about guns, but it simply wasn’t enough.
Unfortunately, she’s not wrong. Kids do stupid things all the time, despite what parents say to them. However, that’s not a reason to not try.
However, much of that “education” is to stay away from guns. While that makes perfect sense with very young children, at some point, they’re going to become curious. Simply telling them to stay away from guns isn’t likely to dissuade them.
That’s especially true when so much of our culture revolves around the gun. Action blockbusters are a mainstay of Hollywood, despite their generally anti-gun stance toward the rest of the nation. Hip hop music often revolves around graphic depiction of gun violence. Video games place guns in the hands of player characters and become an important point of focus for the players. In short, guns are everywhere.
It’s inevitable that kids are going to be curious.
The key is to satiate that curiosity in a safe way so that they won’t be anywhere near as tempted when they see a gun out in the wild. They’ll know more about the gun and have less desire to handle it.
Further, they also need to understand how to handle a firearm. The truth is, life is going to throw things at us, and the one-track approach of “get away from it” isn’t particularly realistic. Imagine, for example, if young Jaeden had known how to check to make sure the chamber is clear? Imagine if he knew and understood the Four Rules?
Granted, he probably wouldn’t have been handling the gun in the first place if he’d had that degree of education, but he didn’t.
McGhee is right to believe kids need to be educated on guns. I support her efforts to try to turn her stepson’s death into something meaningful, that maybe this tragedy could save someone else’s life. I applaud that.
We need to recognize how things like this happen and work to make sure kids have the proper education to ensure these accidents won’t happen again.