Thursday, August 28, 2014

Some Parents Need a Slap Upside the Head

When I first heard of the tragic shooting of a firearms instructor in Arizona, it was difficult to even begin to wrap my head around it.  Several thoughts went through my mind.  Nothing good ever comes out of the end of a barrel of a gun so I'm stunned that parents would even consider allowing their child to handle an Uzi sub machine gun.  I should say that I am no anti-gun nut.  I believe strongly in the responsible use of firearms.....the operative word here being "responsible".  Clearly, giving a military-style weapon to a child is not being responsible, regardless of circumstances.  Growing up, I never shot anything more powerful than a .22 calibre.  (Yes, I know an Uzi uses the same calibre round, but there is a huge difference of course in the amount of recoil, which clearly was a big part of the problem here.)  I did once shoot a 12-gauge when I was around the same age as the young girl in this tragic tale and I still remember to this day the amount of "kick back" I experienced.  It quite literally knocked me on my ass and my ear protection flew off.  Even today as an adult, before I fire any weapon the question of just how much "kick" I will experience is one of the things going through my mind.  I always remember that little episode of my childhood as it gave me a healthy respect for the power of a firearm.

I did a lot of shooting as an army cadet and again in my early 20's in the reserves.  I know that even the standard Canadian automatic weapon (known as the C9, if I recall correctly) can be a challenge when you first use it.  Heck, I recall from basic training a few people (myself included) finding if a challenge to fight the "barrel rise" from the recoil.  And this was when firing using a bi-pod in the prone position. Needless to say I grew up with a healthy respect for firearms.  I don't mean to get in to the whole gun control debate here as there are obviously strong opinions on both sides of this issue.  I do believe strongly in the responsible use of firearms and I struggle to see how this sad incident is an example of that.  I think its truly sad and speaks volumes of American society in general where anyone, let alone the parents of a 9-year-old feel compelled to put such a weapon into the hands of a child no matter what kind of instruction may be available.  These aren't toys out of a video game.  They can kill if not approached with the respect they deserve.  Sadly, this lesson came too late here.

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