Selwyn Duke
When kids and guns mix
By Selwyn Duke
January 13, 2013

We all know what can happen when kids and guns mix. And today I will tell you some stories about that very thing. The kids' names were Kendra and Alyssa, and then there was the 11-year-old boy whose name we just don't know. What we do know is that they lived in places called Bryan County, Albuquerque, and Palmview. We know that guns were in their homes – and that something horrible befell them.

Last year, 12-year-old Oklahoman Kendra St. Clair was home alone, unsupervised. At some point she accessed her mother's handgun – a .40-caliber Glock. Then Kendra pulled the trigger.

And that bullet tore into flesh.

You probably know the rest of the story.

Or maybe not.

The bullet tore into the flesh of a 32-year-old home invader, causing him to flee. Kendra was left scared and crying, but unscathed.

The story of Albuquerque 11-year-old Alyssa Gutierrez turned out differently. Three teenage burglars broke into her home, but they fled after she merely grabbed her mother's rifle. No one was hurt, but the criminals were caught.

But sometimes innocents do get shot. Such was the case with an 11-year-old Palmview boy in 2010. At home with his mother, he got his hands on a .22-caliber rifle. And after the two armed and masked illegal aliens who had broken into their home shot through their bedroom door after the mother refused to open it, hitting the boy in the hip, he returned fire. He struck one of the criminals in the neck, causing them both to flee. They were apprehended when the wounded miscreant showed up at a local hospital.

These were children who lived in places called Bryan County, Albuquerque, and Palmview. Thank God, they still live in those places. And that's what can happen when kids and guns mix.

If you're unacquainted with my work, you perhaps didn't expect this piece to take the turn it did. You perhaps didn't hear these stories; the mainstream media doesn't report such things much. But now that you have, ponder this question: do you wish these children hadn't had access to firearms? Because they won't if the gun-control crowd gets its way.

Of course, the above real-life stories are just that: anecdotes. Some will say they're rare and not statistically significant. And I suppose they are rare; most people will never face such evil and have the ability to thwart it. Yet they're not nearly as rare as a Sandy Hook or Virginia Tech: your chance of dying in a school shooting approximates that of being struck by lightning. In contrast, Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck estimates that 2.5 million Americans each year use guns for self-defense and that 400,000 of them say they would have been killed if they hadn't been armed. That's 400,000 a year.

Do I believe they all would have been murdered? No. People have a penchant for the dramatic, and fear and stress can corrupt judgment. But even if only one half of one percent of them are correct, that's 2000 innocent lives saved with guns every year. This is approximately 76 times as many as were killed at Sandy Hook and considerably more than were lost in all American gun massacres during the last 40 years. And if five percent of them are right, it amounts to 20,000 innocent lives saved – far more than the number murdered with guns in America every year.

Ah, "that big 'if,'" some will say. Woulda', coulda', maybe, perhaps, I suppose. Of course, we could also mention that those 2.5 million annual defensive gun uses represent rapes, robberies, and assaults thwarted – usually without firing a shot. And that's part of the problem. It's a headline when a gun goes off; it can be head to the next story when a criminal is merely scared off.

As for hypotheticals, they aren't as emotionally compelling as a school shooting, where you see victims' pictures, grieving relatives, and emergency vehicles dominating your TV. Perhaps it would be different if we, as in a science-fiction movie, could somehow get a glimpse into alternate gun-free futures, where the world's Kendras and Alyssas and millions of other good citizens couldn't defend themselves. Maybe if the citizenry saw in living color how many of these people, while now safe, would have been left brutalized, killed, and lying in a pool of their own blood, we could compete for emotional impact. Thus we should remember, to use a play on a Frederic Bastiat saying, that a bad policy-maker observes only what can be seen; a good policy-maker observes what can be seen – and what must be foreseen. Dead innocents killed with guns can be seen; the innocents who would be killed were it not for guns must be foreseen.

Yet even what can be seen, such as the stories I opened with, won't usually be because they don't fit the anti-gun mainstream-media narrative. Instead we hear about how 13 children a day are killed with firearms, with no mention that this "'statistic' includes 'children' up to age 19 or 24, depending on the source [most of these incidents involve teenage gang members shooting each other]," writes Guy Smith at Gun Facts. Or we're asked questions such as "Why does anyone need an AR-15?" Perhaps we should ask the then 15-year-old Houston boy who used that very weapon to defend himself and his younger sister against two burglars in 2010.

Here's what you might learn: being a light gun (seven pounds) with little recoil, it's an ideal firearm for youngsters and women. A lady I knew once fired a shouldered shotgun when she was a girl, and the kick knocked her on her backside; an AR won't do this. This is partially because its high-tech mechanism absorbs much of the recoil energy, but also because it is not nearly as powerful as even many hunting rifles.

How can this be? Isn't this "scary black gun" a "killing machine," as Piers Morgan put it? As explained and illustrated in this video, this class of weapons is designed to wound a 170-lb. man, while a high-powered hunting rifle's purpose is to kill a 300 to 800-lb. deer or moose. In fact, in some states and countries it is illegal to hunt large game with an AR-caliber round (.223) for fear that its relative ineffectiveness will leave a wounded and suffering animal wandering the forest. As to this, note that the AR-wielding 15-year-old Houston boy shot one of the intruders at least 3 times – and the man lived. It might have been a different story had the teen used a 30.06 deer rifle, and a very different one with a buckshot-loaded shotgun.

So do kids and guns mix? Well, kids and their guns have sometimes been mixing it up with criminals – and coming out on top. But neither kids nor anyone else mixes well with guns when ending up on the wrong end of one. This happened at Sandy Hook. It happened in Aurora, Co. It happens during many other garden-variety crimes. And it could conceivably happen scores of thousands of times more every year. The only way to find out precisely how many more times is to disarm the American people.

© Selwyn Duke


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


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