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Crime News

US Toddlers Involved In Shootings On a Weekly Basis ( 822

New submitter fremsley471 writes with this story by Christopher Ingraham about shooting accidents involving children 3 and under in The United States. There were at least 43 cases this year of shootings involving a toddler. The Washington Post reports: "This week a 2-year-old in South Carolina found a gun in the back seat of the car he was riding in and accidentally shot his grandmother, who was sitting in the passenger seat. This type of thing happens from time to time: a little kid finds a gun, fires it, and hurts or kills himself or someone else. These cases rarely bubble up to the national level except when someone, like a parent, ends up dead. But cases like this happen a lot more frequently than you might think. Briefly sifting through news reports found at least 43 instances this year of somebody being shot by a toddler 3 or younger. In 31 of those 43 cases, a toddler found a gun and shot himself or herself."
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US Toddlers Involved In Shootings On a Weekly Basis

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  • Laws (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @04:11PM (#50729249)
    Where are the laws that keep toddlers from obtaining guns?
    • Re:Laws (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @04:32PM (#50729503)

      I know people are going to cry "Second Amendment" and everything, but if you're so stupid as to leave a weapon where a 2 year old can get to it (especially if it's in the back seat of a car with the child in the back), you should lose your right to own a gun. I have nothing against responsible gun owners - which are likely the vast majority of gun owners - but there's a very visible minority who seem to act like guns are a fun toy to play with or just leave lying around instead of the dangerous weapons that they really are.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        You shouldn't lose your second amendment right. You should lose your child.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Greyfox ( 87712 )
          Sounds like a lot of them are.
      • Re:Laws (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @05:09PM (#50730015) Journal

        if you're so stupid as to leave anything remotely dangerous where a 2 year old can get to it (especially if it's in the back seat of a car with the child in the back), you should lose right to be a parent

        There fixed that for you. Little gits getting hurt with guns and making an issue about it is imply a anti-gun lobby ploy to tug at your heart strings. The fact is two years are injured by all sorts of things all the freaking time. How may two years drink toxic household products each week? I don't imagine they print all those mr.yuck stickers because that does not happen. Yet nobody proposes enhanced background checks to purchase drain cleaner or banning its sale/possession. Instead they propose a simple requirement to have child proof caps on these things. They are not entirely child proof but hey there is very little that will resist a two year old left to have their way with it unattended.

        Sensibly we already have rules that require firearms to be locked up where kids can't get them. It still happens just like kids still get poisoned. Anecdotally I bet more of us know someone who has had their stomach pumped, than somone injured while 'playing' with a gun.

        How many toddlers are hurt by kitchen knives?
        electrical outlets?
        heavy objects knocked of tables?
        Falls onto hard surface such as stone from furniture?

        How often is the relative severity of such injuries greater than those related to their accidents with firearms?

        The simple fact is being two years old is very dangerous because two year olds are mobile, curious, but nearly without experience and highly limited in capability for judgement. It strains credibility that a person who could be so negligent as to leave a loaded gun where a two year can get it, is otherwise capable of keeping that child safe. Every responsible parent I know with children that small immediately scan new spaces for anything that could be a potential threat before turning their child loose. If you leaving loaded gun out I am sure there are plenty of things around with the potential to be nearly as dangerous you are doing nothing about.

    • I think that you're being sarcastic, but there are already tons of laws on the books at the state level that say that gun owners need to keep their guns locked up and away from children.

      Perhaps we should start giving these people 10 year prison terms for manslaughter until people get the message.

      • by Altus ( 1034 )

        There are such laws in some states but not in others. You can't lock someone up for breaking a leg that doesn't exist. But maybe every state should have these laws.

      • Are we going to give out manslaughter charges to all the parents that let their toddlers drown in five gallon buckets as well? Cause there are more of those every year than die by gunfire and there's also no reason for an unattended bucket of water to be lying around.

  • Slashdot? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mpoulton ( 689851 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @04:12PM (#50729261)
    Is there any reason at all for this to be on Slashdot, except to push a general political agenda?
    • Lack of context? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @04:39PM (#50729597) Homepage Journal

      Is there any reason at all for this to be on Slashdot, except to push a general political agenda?

      It's worse than you might think.

      By associating toddlers with gun shootings they're making an emotional argument against gun ownership.

      In short, we need to clamp down on gun ownership because we've now inflated the likelihood of a tragic incident in the minds of the reader. We do this by showing the enormous, large number without context, and by making it seem continuous and ever present.

      Consider what your teenage daughter might think on reading the headline: One child a week gets shot! OMG!

      This is just another non-evidence-based appeal for gun control, brought to light because the democrats are using the issue [] to help get elected.

      And then, of course, they'll do nothing. Again.

      Think it through. What contextual information might put the "one toddler a week" meme into perspective, and make it seem less important?

      • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

        This is just another non-evidence-based appeal for gun control

        That may be, and I haven't and won't bother to read the TFA, but this sort of thing does highlight something that pro-gun people seem to ignore - That the bell curve exists and that no matter how much you wish it was otherwise, 100% of a population can't exist on the "good" side of the distribution.

        • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @05:27PM (#50730249) Journal

          Here is some context from the CDC:

          Every day, over 300 children in the United States ages 0 to 19 are treated in an emergency department, and two children die, as a result of being poisoned.

          0-19 is a bigher range, but 300 per Friggin DAY! The parent poster is absolutely correct this is a non-issue in the grand scheme of things that threaten the children. Our resources would be better directed elsewhere. The problem is not the guns so much as it is caretakers that are stunningly negligent! In the care of sort of person that could 'accidentally' allow something as obviously dangerous as fire arm to end up in the hands of a child, these same children were almost certain to be severely injured by something else sooner or later. The fact it was a gun is simply coincidence.

      • What contextual information might put the "one toddler a week" meme into perspective, and make it seem less important?

        I'd probably check into how many of them are stealing candy from other toddlers and physically striking each other. Kind of hard to play up toddler gun violence when you look at the out of control prevalence of toddler theft and assault.

        You could probably attack it from a women's rights perspective as well. Don't think of it as toddler gun violence so much as an unusually late term abortion. If Disney can still claim full control of an animated cartoon over 70 years after drawing it, clearly we can exten

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @04:13PM (#50729275)

    Guns, after all, aren't a factor in people being shot, guns don't make you shoot anyone.

    Thus we need to ban toddlers instead.

    It is a perfect solution. Nobody likes them they cry, they behind, and they make stinky poops.

  • The problem is likely much worse. Few events that should make the news are more quickly swept under the rug than accidental shootings. The ones that do make it through end up either buried in the back-most of the back pages, or written off in creative ways. A particularly egregious example of the latter made the slashdot front page years ago as Accidental Wii Suicide [] when a toddler got ahold of dad's loaded, unlocked revolver that was sitting within her reach and killed herself.

    And of course what happens to the gun owners (if they are lucky enough to not be the ones shot)? Generally nothing. Not even charges investigated, law enforcement just says "shit happens" and walk away.
    • Some do get charged [].

    • Children due dangerous things. They stab people with knives, they hit people with blocks, and they always - at any house - somehow find the most poisonous cleaning product in the house.

      People kept safe by having a gun is also severely under-sampled since it usually prevents a crime from taking place. Guns can be an equalizer. When a 100 lb woman or man is being attacked at home (or on the street) against a 200 lb assailant, equalizers are needed.

      • by aaron4801 ( 3007881 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @05:16PM (#50730121)
        43 cases of toddler-involved shootings, and it's front page news. 100,000 cases of children going to the ER after getting grandpa's medication [] and nobody talks about it.
        30,000 people per year die due to guns, and it's a top political story every week. 88,000 deaths per year due to alcohol [] and nobody talks about it.
        Is anybody calling for medication or alcohol control? Maybe somewhere, somebody has this as their pet project, but nationwide, it (correctly) goes nowhere. What is it about guns and their fraction of deaths/injuries that scares people so much?
  • by FictionPimp ( 712802 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @04:15PM (#50729299) Homepage

    I am a gun owner. I have a permit and I carry daily. I support our rights to own firearms and refuse to give mine up. I believe that anyone who does this has a great responsibility to society to be trained, secure their weapon, and to be responsible. It should be a felony to leave a weapon unsecured and unsupervised. If a child acquires a weapon from you and uses it to harm himself or commit a crime you should be charged with a felony.

    Only if you prove you took adequate steps to secure your weapon (safe, trigger locks, etc) should you be able to walk away free. We need to encourage responsible gun ownership and punish irresponsible gun ownership. These types of situations are preventable simply through education and a little bit of punishment.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As a gun owner and a father, I'm really not sure why you think jail time is going to be a more effective deterrent than the death of one or more of my children.
    • Gun owners do need to be responsible, but our legal system says is designed for a reason so that the burden of proof is on the prosecution to show beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. It is not the gun-owner's responsibility to prove to the court that he "took adequate steps to secure his weapon"; it is the prosecutor's responsibility to prove that he didn't.
    • I support our rights to own firearms and refuse to give mine up.

      That's a quality red herring right there. What was the last time anyone has asked you to give up your gun?

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @04:15PM (#50729307)
    I had a soldier bring his personal firearm to the reserve center, and accidently shoot the house next door. You can train and train someone, and they will go off and do something stupid anyway.
    • I had a soldier bring his personal firearm to the reserve center, and accidently shoot the house next door. You can train and train someone, and they will go off and do something stupid anyway.

      That's for sure. Just ask Chris Kyle.

  • by Vegan Cyclist ( 1650427 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @04:17PM (#50729349) Homepage
    We need more good toddlers with guns to stop all those bad toddlers with guns.
    • by creimer ( 824291 )
      I've always wondered why some politicians advocate that we should armed kindergarten teachers with guns. Now we know.
    • No, we just need to get tough on toddlers crime. Perhaps it's time for a policy change: The War on Toddlers, presented by Wolf Blitzer.
  • Gun Control... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djbckr ( 673156 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @04:26PM (#50729439)

    So, I find that there are generally two arguments:

    --You can't take my guns

    --Ban all the guns

    My thoughts are that, the "Ban all the guns" group is wishful thinking. That ship has sailed, and if you try to ban guns, then only outlaws will have guns, and I don't think that's any good.

    For those folks that want guns, I think that's all fine and well and good, but the owner of the gun must be held criminally responsible if the gun kills anybody. If your toddler picks up the gun and kills grandma, you are on the hook for murder. If a gun is available to a toddler (or anybody, really), you can count on the toddler to kill somebody. Period.

    I don't have a gun in my house, but if I want one, I still want to be able to have one. But if my kid shoots somebody with it, I need to be put in jail because of it.

    It boggles the mind, however, that somebody would be dumb enough to think a toddler wouldn't pick up a gun and explore their world - like the woman that was killed when her toddler pulled the gun out of her purse while shopping at Wal Mart. That's just stupid, and she paid the price.

    • by xevioso ( 598654 )

      I fall into the "ban most guns" camp. Not all guns.

      I think there's a huge, quite ignorant and paranoid group of people in this country who think that the government is the greatest threat, when there's no members of the government going around shooting up large numbers of innocents in schools and theaters.

      It's by and large citizens, who have purchased their guns legally.

      But if we had less guns, we'd have less gun violence.

    • So, I find that there are generally two arguments:

      --You can't take my guns

      --Ban all the guns

      I have a different argument:

      -- Ban all toddlers.

      So our grandmas can be safe.

    • The ban all the never works. We have tried it with drugs, nuclear weapons, etc etc.

      So in your twisted world somebody steals a firearm and the owner is responsible? If it's stolen by a complete stranger who broke into a safe while the alarm was going off but the cops never responded till hours later? Dial it down a few notches and it's stolen from a parked car outside a gun free zone, sure it's in a lockbox etc etc. How about somebody that's mugged and the gun in stolen.

      28 states have child gun access la

    • My thoughts are that, the "Ban all the guns" group is wishful thinking. That ship has sailed, and if you try to ban guns, then only outlaws will have guns, and I don't think that's any good.

      I like your points here, and i generally agree here with your stance here for toddlers (or basically, someone acquiring a gun that's not qualified to handle one). But I can't really agree with that stance on "only outlaws will have guns", especially when it comes to school shootings or a rampage of a similar nature. Yes, your criminal organizations and inner city gangs will still have their guns, but we could still reduce the number of mass shooting instances by making it more difficult to acquire them i

  • Gun Safety (Score:5, Insightful)

    by laie_techie ( 883464 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @04:26PM (#50729441)

    First, I agree that this particular story probably shouldn't be on ./ . Secondly, I am biased on the issue of gun control. I think that responsible citizens should be allowed to own and use guns.

    The real issue is gun safety. I shot my first gun when I was 3. You better believe that my dad kept his firearms locked up unloaded with the ammo in a different safe. Each of us (my sister included!) were taught how to safely handle guns. We knew to stand behind whoever was shooting, aim the barrel at the ground until we were ready to shoot, how to hand the gun to the next person in line, etc. If you are going to have weapons, store them properly so they aren't mistaken for toys by toddlers, and teach gun safety to everyone near them. Perhaps there should be a gun license (or a certificate for having completed a safety course) which must be shown when purchasing firearms.

    • I don't own a gun and have never fired one (let's just say I'm too aware of my penchant for being a klutz and I know that DOESN'T mix with firearms), but I definitely think that the idea of mandatory gun safety classes are a good thing. The people who treat guns like some fun toy to play with slant some people's perception of gun owners. They overshadow the many responsible gun owners because "man unloads gun, puts it away securely, nobody injured" doesn't make for as good a headline as "man leaves loaded

  • This is really no different than in the past when a child would wander away from the group/outside the cave and get eaten by a wolf/bear/other hungry animal. Those who were lucky or smart enough not to get eaten passed on their genes. Those who weren't, didn't.

    Same thing here. Only the method of demise is different.

  • The problem here is fairly clearly people making inappropriate choices about guns; perhaps because they take the 'small' in 'small arms' a bit too seriously.

    Toddlers don't understand firearm risks; but they also aren't that strong. Some peashooter little handgun left around where they can find it? Terrible plan. A nice squad automatic weapon or anti material rifle? Is the kid going to operate something that weighs more than he does?

    So many of these tragedies could have been averted if people had just
  • by shbazjinkens ( 776313 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @04:35PM (#50729539)
    43, huh? [] "Unintentional suffocation - which also includes strangulation and choking on food or other objects - killed 1,176 U.S. children in 2010."

    Just search a little and find all the other ways toddlers kill themselves and others. One of my friends with kids described it as largely being comprised of keeping his kid from killing himself all the time until he got old enough to try to kill himself less often. That's what happens when anything dangerous is anywhere near a toddler for whatever small amount of time it takes for them to do the wrong thing with it - and there are LOTS of dangerous things around, with plastic bags being higher on the list than firearms.
  • You have the right to remain dead.
  • Think of the children!

    With guns!

  • Guns are tools (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @05:03PM (#50729895)

    Guns are tools and, like many other tools, can be misused. Would there be the same outrage if a toddler got hold of a cordless power drill and accidentally injured his grandmother with it? Granted the chance of a fatal injury is higher with a firearm, but the responsibility for proper access and use of any tool is with both the user and owner - and I would argue on a sliding scale of which one is most capable of being most responsible.

  • by ZeroConcept ( 196261 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @05:06PM (#50729939)

    According to: []
    10 people die of drowning every day.

    Therefore guns are aprox 70 times safer than pools.

    Why there is no anti-pool agenda?

  • Disney (Score:4, Insightful)

    by quintessencesluglord ( 652360 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @05:15PM (#50730101)

    So isn't this essentially arguing for Disneyfying the world to keep kids safe?

    Ban all porn (or at least require training in the proper handling and storage before downloading that file).

    Alternatively ban or require sex education (even though there is scant proof comprehensive sex education reduces teen pregnancy. Ditto banning it).

    And of course all manner of food, drugs, video games, D&D, etc.

    It just strikes me as peculiar that some will argue for personal responsibility and freedom of choice when their favored thingy is under fire, and in the same breath argue for regulation and restriction when it is someone else's favorite thingy.

    And in the past few decades we have moved increasingly towards Disneyfying the world. I would just like some honesty to which degree the world should cater exclusively to children.

  • This is a clear example of natural selection in action guys.
    Please lets not eliminate every possible way that mother nature can weed out the less intelligent.

  • Chambered round (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @05:32PM (#50730309) Homepage Journal

    For the most part, it is physically impossible for a toddler to chamber a round in most guns (unless we're talking about a revolver, but they represent a very small percentage of pistols these days). I, personally, never keep a round chambered in my pistol I carry regularly. I can pull the gun, turn the safety off, operate the action, and be ready to fire in about a second. I am not in high risk situations from day to day, like law enforcement, where the chances of me needing to operate my gun with one hand while fending someone off with the other is very likely. I can guarantee that almost every one of these people whose toddlers fired their pistol are not in high risk situations either.

    So my question is why do so many people feel the need to have a round chambered at all times?

    Further, I think a part of the problem is guns like Glocks have no actual safety. My conceal carry weapon has a safety which locks the action, prevents the trigger from being pulled, and physically prevents the hammer from striking the firing pin. It also serves as a de-cock mechanism. If I were to carry a round chambered, I would have the gun de-cocked, and since it is also double-action, I can just flip the safety and pull the trigger (which takes a tremendous amount of pressure when not cocked), which is still vastly safer in the hands of a child. Not only do Glocks not have safeties, but you can't de-cock them either. They are weapons designed more for military and police type use, where nothing should come in the way of the fun firing when the trigger is pulled.

    So the problem is two-fold: 1) Don't keep a round chambered unless you feel the need to discharge the weapon is imminent. 2) If you have children, select a gun that has actual safety mechanisms (you know, a "safety") that enhances safety and prevents accidental discharges or operation by children.

  • by Trachman ( 3499895 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @06:45PM (#50731085) Journal

    In the United States there are approx 310 million guns owned by civilians. Let's not take into account millions of the weapons owned by military, police, Social Security Agency and other similar organizations.

    Coincidentally, there is approximately one gun per one person in the US>

    If there are 43 cases that involved, per year, that means there is approximately 0.000000143 probability that the toddler will be involved. Let's do some analysis here... There is an estimated number of more than 1,500 per year who win one million or more dollars per year in the United States. Statistically, 30 toddlers will win one million dollars before one of them is involved in accident.

    There is one crucial difference. "Involved" does not mean there is a fatality.

    Conclusion is very simple: The quoted number is statistically insignificant. Vaccination complications cause higher mortality than there are accidents involving guns. To finalize, there are many issues to be resolved before this topic is escalated. And put that gun to safe away from kids.

  • Kids with Guns (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday October 14, 2015 @07:06PM (#50731261) Homepage Journal
    That one's actually pretty easy.Actually hold some people responsible for some shit. I'm sure in a number of those cases, parents did get dinged for leaving their guns around. In general, it's really way too easy to have kids in this country. Much easier than getting a gun or a car, and you see how many irresponsible twats own one or both of those things. My fascist regime would require mandatory reversible sterilization for boys and girls at puberty and a license to have kids. The test wouldn't be particularly difficult, but it'd weed out a pretty good chunk of the jackasses I think.

    In a wider context, we must enjoy gun violence or we'd have done something about it by now. Way I see it, you've got one of two options: Ban guns, like Australia did [], or just give everyone a gun, require them to carry it at all times, and let the games begin! I know which one I'm rooting for!

    Or I guess we could keep doing what we're doing and let evolution take its course. Maybe in a few generations we'll be able to dodge bullets like Neo in The Matrix.

UNIX enhancements aren't.