Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another Accidental Shooting Death of a Child

The Los Angeles Times reports on another accidental shooting death, this time a 12-year-old from Gardena.

A 12-year-old Gardena boy died this morning after he accidentally shot himself in the head Wednesday with his parents' handgun, police said.

The boy and his two younger siblings were being watched by a 14-year-old cousin when the shooting occurred about 5:45 p.m., according to police. The boy was alone in an upstairs bedroom.

"The gun was properly secured by the parents. ... Somehow the child was able to get to it," said Lt. Steven Prendergast of the Gardena Police Department. At the time, one parent was working, and the other was running errands, police said.

Prendergast said the investigation was still ongoing, but he added that initial evidence indicates that no criminal charges will be filed."It was just a tragic accident," he said. "It's just terrible."

After officers arrived at the home in the 14600 block of South Berendo Avenue, they began administering CPR while they waited for an ambulance to arrive. The boy was taken to UCLA-Harbor Medical Center. His name was not released.

How do you think the police could have determined the gun had been properly secured? Wouldn't a dead 12-year-old itself cast a certain doubt on that? We've had this discussion before about what actually qualifies as "properly secured." What do you think?

Consistent with that comment is the fact that no charges will be filed. How can that be? How do you think the cops determine in one case that the parents are liable and in another, not?

What's your opinion? Is talking about this case and using it to ask questions about guns and gun control the same as "dancing in the blood of the victim?" What would the passionate pro-gun person have us do, not talk about these at all, never mention them? Should they remain hidden?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. Since the police said the gun was "properly secured," I imagine it must have been in a safe or had a lock on it, and the kid was able to either get the lock off or open the safe.

    Once kids reach 12, they can figure out a whole lot of things!

  2. One must gunproof your children, not attempt to childproof your guns, because any method is deeply flawed

    Why again are you anti-gun criminals against gun safety in schools?

    Look at the blood on those hands of yours!

  3. Hard to say since I wasn't there, But I do know one thing.

    My latest firearm purchase came with a "trigger lock" as required by federal law.

    I was able to defeat the lock using nothing more than my hands and 2 toothpicks.

  4. Trigger locks probably work well with toddlers who don't have the dexterity to work two toothpicks in the lock.

  5. Weer'd says gunproof your children. That might work on the older kids, but I'd say up till the age of 5 or 6 there's a big risk in thinking this method would work. It's no substitution for securing the guns properly or for not having them in a house with kids. Of course, if your priorities are having guns first and then protecting the kids, go for it. Otherwise, there's no getting around the fact that kids and guns don't mix and precautions have to be taken.

  6. Mike302000,

    I agree with you -- but what do you think happened in this case? The police said the gun was "properly secured." Do you think the child was just too smart for the security system?

    That's what I think happened. This was California, right? In California, they don't hesitate to charge the parents if the gun isn't secured.

  7. Some very good questions you're asking...

    Should this sort of thing be pointed out and discussed? Certainly! To investigate and determine what went wrong, where did the failure occur, how best to prevent these things from occurring, and most importantly what the unintended consequences of ANY preventative action we take will be.

    Where the "Dancing in the blood of victims" accusation comes from is when someone or some group has the absolute goal of putting the maximum controls possible on guns, and uses such a tragedy as anecdotal evidence purely for the point of backing their agenda. They point this occurance out as absolute PROOF that we need MORE laws, while failing to recognize that the laws already in place did nothing in this instance.

    Gun accidents are already at their lowest level in 100 years (so I've read in at least a few places), so it's not like this is an epidemic. It's not a bad idea to take practical measures for safety, but the key to legitimacy in any rational discussion is to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. What (if anything) can be done to prevent such a terrible thing from happening again WITHOUT causing unjust consequences and hardship to the Right to Keep and Bear Arms?

    I suggest MANDATORY firearms safety education in schools, and bringing shooting sports back into middle and high schools. Also urging parents that if they have firearms to adopt some supervised firearms education for their children to help relieve some of the curiosity about guns. If we keep them hidden away but the kids know they're there, it increases the chances of their curiosity getting the best of them...

    ...Orygunner (orygunner1 at