6 Horrifying Recent Incidents

This issue is a national tragedy. The crime is that something could be done.

Jonathan Kaufman shot himself in the head.
Photo Credit: via Facebook

You’d be surprised how often a toddler with a gun accidentally injures or kills someone.

This is flippant language to use about tragic situations, but the scenario of a small child finding a firearm, being curious about it and accidentally shooting someone, is staggeringly common—about once a week by the best count. It’s a scenario the pro-gun forces never talk about, perhaps because it can’t by any stretch be solved by still more guns. According to a recent report in the Washington Post, toddler gun accidents happen on at least a weekly basis, that we know of. Only the most tragic cases make the news, and otherwise, no one is really counting.

Sometimes the toddler is on the receiving end, as in Chicago this past weekend when a 6-year-old killed his 3-year-old brother while playing a game of cops and robbers. Other times, a curious wee tot is the one who fires what he (and it is usually a boy) presumes to be a toy. Two weeks ago, a 2-year-old in South Carolina found a gun in the backseat of the car and shot his grandmother who was sitting up front.

Wonder how Dr. Ben Carson feels about carnage that exceeds deaths caused by terrorism easily this year? Unperturbed, presumably, since this “doctor” does not find bodies full of bullet holes all that disturbing, even, we suppose, really young bodies. He’d probably recommend that next time the grandmother in the passenger seat rush the kid, instead of just sitting there and allowing him to shoot her. Or in the Chicago case, maybe arming all the toddlers, so they could shoot and kill the 6-year-olds before being shot by them.

The real tragedies make the news, but there are likely countless near-misses that don’t. Still, the deaths are horrifyingly common. More often than not, in 31 out of the 43 cases of toddler gun accidents, the toddler accidentally shoots himself. In 2015 so far, 13 toddlers have accidentally killed themselves, like the 21-month-old in St. Louis in August, who shot himself in the torso and died, and the Michigan 3-year-old who shot himself in the head in June, and died.

When cases like these do get publicity, there’s a lot of talk about the need for people to practice increased gun safety, and sure, that’s a no-brainer. People should not leave guns lying around. But when there are more guns than people, and NRA-backed politicians calling for even more guns, especially in schools where there are loads and loads of kids, well, Jeb Bush is kind of right on this one, stuff happens.

Here are just six of the most horrifying and stupefying recent incidents where toddlers got hold of just one of the ubiquitous firearms in this country.

1. Three-year-old shoots both parents with a single bullet. The 3-year-old son of Justin Reynolds and Monique Villescas was looking for an iPod in his mom’s purse in their Albuquerque hotel room, when he found her gun instead. He accidentally fired a single shot which managed to strike both of his parents—dad in the buttock and pregnant mom in the shoulder—but missed his 2-year-old sister. Both parents survived their injuries. The kids were taken away from their parents, but not, presumably the guns. Because freedom.

2. Twenty-one-month-old fatally shoots self in torso. This tragedy happened in the St. Louis area in August at around 1 in the afternoon. The youngster was apparently at his grandmother’s house at the time. There was an arrest, so that’ll help.

3. Three-year-old shoots self in the head, dies. On a fine June day in Clinton, Michigan, Jonathan Kaufman found a loaded .40 caliber pistol in a closet while his dad and older brother were outside. He accidentally shot himself in the head. At 3, he probably should have known better.

4. Three-year-old shoots self in the head, dies. This is not a repeat, though it could be a toddler copycat. Damon Holbrook found a gun, also in a Michigan home, and shot himself in the head. Hours later, his dad, Brian Holbrook, went on Facebook to defend the right to bear arms. “I have nothing wrong with guns,” [sic] he wrote. “It’s with this country was built on.” [sic, again]

5. Six-year-old shoots 3-year-old in Chicago, but let’s face it, it could have been the reverse. Toddlers aren’t the only ones finding guns and accidentally killing people. Kindergartners and first graders also do this (as well as older kids.) The genius dad in this case was a former gang member who had bought the gun to protect his family, wrapped it in pajamas and put it on a shelf, and then very sensibly showed it to his son. The dad was arrested.

6. Two-year-old shoots and kills sleeping dad. In Hoover, Alabama in late August, a mother came home to find Divine Vaniah Chambliss dead of a gunshot wound. Prime suspect: their 2-year-old son. The semi-automatic handgun that killed Chambliss was his own. He always carried it. For protection, of course.