Arkansas Teen Killed By Friends Playing With Gun

In this day and age, there’s really no reason why anyone should be killed while playing with a firearm. All the firearm safety information needed to prevent these deaths are out there on the internet. Anyone can access it whenever they want.

The problem is, most people don’t avail themselves of this information unless, say, they were going to buy a gun. The people who most need it, though, often don’t even realize they’ll need it.

That’s why tragedies like this one happen.

Two 16-year-olds are facing charges after unintentionally killing a 17-year-old while playing with a gun, according to Blytheville police.

They said he was in the backyard of a friend’s house on the 1000 block of Hearn Street on Tuesday evening when the shooting happened.

“He always hugs me and loves me, and he was my baby, too,” said Cuble’s aunt Tammy Rogers, who said he had just celebrated his birthday last month.

“It messed me up, I ain’t gonna lie,” Rogers said. “I ain’t gonna say the word, but it messed me up so bad I just dropped down.”

Police said the gun that was used to killed [Keylan] Cuble had been reported stolen after a vehicle burglary over the weekend.

“It’s wrong playing with guns and stuff, and it’s not right about it. You need to leave these guns alone and go on about your business,” Rogers said.

Now, let’s be clear, people who steal guns are criminals and I’m glad they’re facing charges for this.

But, on the same token, I can’t help but think about how many people go through life without the first clue of how to properly handle a firearm. It’s mindboggling that in a world where some argue guns are far too prevalent–they’re not, but bear with me for a second–none of these folks are working to educate people on how to be safe with a firearm.

Yes, these kids were playing with a stolen gun. It’s entirely too likely that if the lessons about not stealing things didn’t take, neither would the gun safety lessons. I’ll grant that.

Even so, though, Cuble isn’t the first to die because someone was playing with a gun. He won’t, unfortunately, be the last.

My mother hated guns. She lived in a house full of them, of course, but she hated them. She was a literal hoplophobe. I don’t mean that in the “she doesn’t like guns” kind of way but in the true “irrational fear of them” kind of way. She hated them because a childhood friend was killed when he and a friend were playing with a firearm.

Let’s just say it left an impression on her.

That, in turn, left an impression on me. It just left a different one.

Far too many people die from stupidity with a firearm. While we’ll never remove all of that–after all, how stupid are people with cars despite drivers education classes?–but we can mitigate some of the risk. We can make it a little safer.

All we need to do is remove the hoplophobia surrounding firearms education in our schools and integrate it into our school curriculums.