My next door neighbor rang my doorbell last week; she only had a minute to talk as she was always in a rush but asked if I had a minute. She wanted my opinion.
Her 8-year-old daughter was having a birthday and the child wanted a Siberian tiger as a present. Her husband said his daughter could have anything she wanted and began looking for a Siberian tiger to get for the child. My neighbor, a brilliant woman, a New York City bank executive and Columbia University graduate with two Master’s degrees only questioned whether or not it would be legal to own a Siberian tiger in our neighborhood.
“With the proper enclosure it’s legal in our town,” she told me.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.
The danger inherent in her 8-year-old daughter caring for a tiger never crossed her mind. She also owns three little dogs that would make a delicious midday snack for her daughter's new pet.
How can somebody so brilliant be so dumb? I wondered.
They’re everywhere. Just like in the 1988 movie "They Live," there’s one around every corner.
Last week, they were in Las Vegas and this time it wasn’t an 8-year-old and a Siberian tiger, it was an 9-year-old and an Israeli Defense Force military weapon commonly known as an Uzi. Unlike my neighbor’s little girl this child was granted her request and not surprisingly, the consequences were dire.
According to Bill Irwin, owner of The Gun Store in Las Vegas and self-proclaimed "pioneer of machine gun tourism," children as young as 5 years old have fired automatic weapons at his firing range.
“It was on her bucket list,” he said, describing a young customer at his range.
Image source: YouTube
That same phrase was used when describing the circumstances surrounding the 9-year-old child that killed her instructor in August. She too, was said to have shooting an Uzi on her “bucket list.” Evidently, that’s the cover phrase.
I don’t find that language impressive or endearing, do you?
Her bucket list; an 9-year-old child has a bucket list? I know many 9 year olds; they want to go to the zoo. The only buckets they want come filled with popcorn. This longing to shoot an Uzi came from somewhere else, most likely someone else, I’m certain of it. Perhaps Daddy?
Mr. Irwin suggested that maybe she didn’t lose control of the gun after all. The gun would have to be examined, he suggested. Maybe she slipped on the gravel.
Maybe she did. Did you see how inappropriately she was dressed? Little pink shorts, a tiny t-shirt and sneakers. This is not how one dresses to go to the firing range.
As far as I know, there is no mandatory pre-course before a child shoots an Uzi. The child should have experience holding the weapon, feeling how much it weighs, dry firing, learning the names of the parts, learning how to take apart the weapon, how to clean it.
That’s enough of a lesson, it can end right there for an 9-year-old. When an adult applies for a pistol permit there is a class that is mandatory to attend.
Evidently, the child hasn’t a clue what to expect and neither do the parents. There is no difference between shooting an Uzi at the range or shooting a water pistol at the amusement park. Just step right up and fire. Don’t even think about the consequences.
There’s that dirty word: consequences.
In this case, with the blessing of her parents, an 9-year-old girl the size of a whisper had an Uzi placed in her hands, she lost control as it overpowered her (of course it did) while releasing four to five live rounds (why was it necessary for the rounds to be live?) in less than one-third of a second.
The bullets struck her instructor in the head, killing him. The parents set this child up for this consequence to dictate the rest of her life, a life which has now been thrown away into a bucket.
All her Mom had to say was, “No.”
I used to say the luckiest thing in the world is to be born in the United States.
I’d like to amend my statement.
The luckiest thing in the world is to be born in the United States, to parents who are not asinine.
Amy Barath strives to present an unbiased, common-sense opinion, unhampered by a particular political idealogy. Let Amy know if you're in her corner: firstname.lastname@example.org
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