Saturday, May 3, 2014

Kids and Guns in the USA

Abby, aged 8, from Louisiana, photographed by  
An-Sofie Kesteleyn for her series My Little Rifle
Abby, aged 8, from Louisiana, in a detail from a photograph by An-Sofie Kesteleyn, from the series My Little Rifle.

The Guardian

In May last year, a two-year-old girl was shot dead by her five-year-old brother with a small rifle made specifically for children. The accidental shooting happened in Cumberland County, Kentucky, when the boy was playing with a gun purchased from a company in Pennsylvania calledKeystone Sporting Arms, which, in 2008, produced around 80,000 rifles for children. The guns, which sell under the model names Cricket andChipmunk, were originally advertised on a "Kid's Corner" on the company's website (it has since been removed), which showed children firing them at rifle ranges and on hunting trips. The guns are produced in bright blue, pink and rainbow colours and marketed like toys, under the tag line "My First Rifle".

When the photographer An-Sofie Kesteleyn read about the story in De Volkskrant, the Dutch newspaper she works for, she began making plans for a trip to the American south. "I wanted to go and search for these families who bought guns as presents for their young children," she says. "I began by visiting a rifle range in Ohio, where children are taught to shoot, then travelled down through Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas and Louisiana. What I found was that there are loads of children out there in America with their own guns, but not that many parents who are happy to have their kids' portraits taken with those guns."
Kesteleyn's series, My Little Rifle, consists of only 15 portraits, but they provide a powerful and disturbing glimpse of a much bigger gun culture. Last year, the series was chosen for the World Press Photo's prestigious Joop Swart Masterclass.


  1. No effort to put things into perspective here, other than an admission that there are "loads" of children who are given these rifles. What this means is that the vast majority aren't injured or killed. But that doesn't sell newspapers or promote gun control.

    1. OK, I can do that. We have a bunch of gunsuck loser parents who are setting up their children to murder the children of others, or the parents. Of course, if some kid murders his own parents with a gun they gave him/her, that is not a tragedy. That is a preventable inevitability.

    2. You promise, then you fail to deliver.

  2. There is nothing wrong with parents introducing their children to the shooting sports. Its even an Olympic event in both the summer and winter games. I, in fact, have just gifted my son with his first rifle, though it isn't one of those Cricketts. The Crickett sights suck. I will still have the responsibility of securing the weapon till he reaches his majority, but it is his.
    Lets also keep in mind that these photos are posed by a photographer who did this series with a preplanned goal to couple guns and fear. I also wonder about the level of supervision considering some of the safety gigs I see, finger on trigger, bolt closed, etc.
    Here is a link for some more of Kesteleyn's photos,

  3. You have got to be a fool to let your kids become worldwide viral heroes whether they are holding a gun, or a muffin.

  4. Looks to me that Abby is an abused child. The parents are letting her have too many twinkies!