Thursday, March 24, 2016


Accidentally shot. That phrase rings in my ears. It makes me think of the following interchange:
"Mister Caven?"
"I accidentally kicked the ball over the fence."
"How exactly did this accident occur?"
"How did you kick the ball over the fence? Accidentally."
"Oh. I was trying to boost it as high as I could and it just went over the fence."
What follows is a few more minutes of trying to understand just how the accident part of the accident occurred, since kicking a ball as hard as you can, especially with proximity to a fence that is just a few feet shorter than the height of the kid could boost the ball. The thin line of accidental was crossed with the intent. The ball was there: opportunity. Showing off for his friends: motive. The fact that balls kicked as hard as possible often find their way over the fence, especially when they are kicked next to fences intended to keep kids in, not balls is the part where the blank stare comes in. And that's when Mister Caven has to go down the stairs, out of the building and into the street to retrieve the accidentally boosted ball. Not a victimless crime.
So much of life that takes place on an elementary school playground exists for me as an allegory to the wider world. I did a Google search for "accidentally shot" and I was rewarded with nearly five million results in less than half a second of searching. Many of them, thousands in fact, were in reference to the same shooting, but certain links jumped out at me. "At least 265 people were accidentally shot by kids this year ..."

"How often do children in the U.S. unintentionally shoot and ..."

Grown ups who end up wounded or dead because of guns are not without their tragedy. The age of consent seems to be an easy enough line to draw for the worst of these stories, but kids and guns are such an awful combination that I feel worse for those who experience the pain and grief before they could drive a car or buy their first legal drink with which they might drown their sorrows. 
There isn't enough booze, legal or otherwise. There are guns left lying around where kids can get at them, and since kids can't make that logical jump from opportunity to motive to "accidental," something should be done to keep it from happening. Mister Caven can retrieve a ball when it goes over the fence, but he can't get a kid back from heaven. 

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