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The 9 year old should have had no access to any gun or rifle in the house in the first place, every parent and owner of a gun whether you have kids or not should keep the gun locked in a safe. If not the gun itself then it should never have bullets in the gun and the bullets should be locked away. Either way the weapon should not be usable without having to unlock and open something in order to arm it or use it.
Second if you choose to own a gun in your family you must be honest with your children about its presence and its danger. I am not opposed to explaining what the gun is, what its purpose is and exposing children to it at a young age. Not ever letting them use it until they are old enough (this is subject to discretion of parents and what is appropriate) but not lie and leave the curiosity factor either.
But obviously locking the gun away from the kid was only the first problem with society, the second problem is that too often these days violence and aggression is seen as the norm. People blame violent video games, movies…etc.. but this isn’t true, violence has always existed. Long ago when there was no violence people including children used to crowd around executions watching criminals be beheaded, tortured, hung or shot in public executions. These were just as if not more violent than anything in a game on TV.
The difference is in education, awareness and keeping track of what your kids are doing and how they are behaving. This society of “Let TV raise the kids” or let a daycare raise the kids is causing people to lose touch with simply knowing who their child is. If you are around your child enough and “know” them you can pick up on subtle shifts in behavior, attitude and tendencies. If you aren’t around them that much then you are not as likely to notice these subtle changes.
The child in this case should not be prosecuted like an adult, nor should he be sent to Juvie until he is 18. The kid should be raised by a relative but should be getting mental treatment first at an inpatient facility and then have counseling probably for the rest of his life. Even if the kid would never do this again, the psychological damage of such an action will only cause the child to suffer depression, withdrawals and guilt to possibly be a suicidal alcoholic later in life. This is assuming the kid will be a person who feels remorse and regret, if the child truly has no empathy and develops into someone without such a skill then they could become more prone to violence, crime and other behaviors as an adult. Therapy is the only solution here, not prison which will just enforce the kid will live a brutal life of violence whether they are released or not.
Sadly, this case is only one of many where young kids are killing friends or parents, some by accident where they are showing off their family gun, others on purpose because a kid has a tantrum or gets frustrated and imitates what he or she sees. Kids have wild imaginations and have a hard time distinguishing fantasy from reality, they also cannot get a hold of their emotions easily without learning how.
This is a wake up call to everyone to be more vigilant with keeping open communication with your children, and learning to see if there are changes in their behavior. This is also a wake up call to people who own guns to keep them locked away, no child should have access to a gun ever. Even a teenager should not have access to a gun unattended, I am for training a teenager to hunt if your family is into that.
I am not against a right to bear arms at all actually, I believe that the world is getting less safe and people should have a means of defending their home. Police cannot respond fast enough if someone should break in and wish to do your family harm. Everyone should have a dog as a warning system (or a big one as an actually deterrent and defense), and with proper warning you can go and unlock your weapon to defend yourself. But you need to be careful and you need to be real about this.