A five-year-old girl from Detroit has died after accidentally shooting herself with her grandmother’s gun. She found the weapon under her grandmother’s pillow after the latter had gone downstairs to cook. The girl’s family told the local CBS affiliate that her name was Mariah Davis. Two other children were in the home at the time of the shooting but were not injured.
Since Easter Sunday 6 weeks ago, a child has been shot or shot themselves in the Detroit vicinity a total of 5 times.
The girl is pictured in the below tweet, via local news reporter Mike Campbell.
— Mike Campbell (@reportermikec) May 11, 2016
Rarely, oh so very rarely, does a case like this actually warrant attention, let alone concern, from the general public. However, in the past 6 days, 65 Americans under the age of 17 have been killed by gun violence. The year to date total is now 1,207. 198 of these deaths are among children under the age of 11. A large portion of the rest of the deaths are suicides, with such being one of the leading causes of death among American teenagers.
Firearm deaths are preventable, by definition. In this case, Detroit Police Commander Jacqueline Pritchett, had this to say:
‘The precinct is working with children and adults in the area to preach gun safety. Neighborhood police officers have been deployed to day care centers and schools to give children one message: If you find a gun, don’t touch it. Tell an adult. For adults, the message is about balancing the right to bear arms against the curiosity of children. A gun should never be in eyesight or arm’s reach of a child. If you feel unsafe at home, wear the gun on your hip. An extra step taken last night could’ve prevented this baby from being shot and killed.’
In addition, Pritchett stated that a “variety of charges” could be filed in the case. Such would be vindicating and heartening since too often there is little to no accountability in these types of cases.
Sadly, this case’s circumstances are comparatively rare. Of the 18,337 gun violence incidents in the United States since January 1, only 865 are classified as accidental. (For the record, 563 incidents were “defensive” and 1,683 were “officer-involved.”)
Much deeper changes must be implemented to address the total problem. Just to put the issue in perspective, this morning in Baghdad, Iraq, it was announced that at least 22 persons had been killed by a series of Islamic State carried out bomb attacks. The weapons are different in America’s case but the outcome is the same. The equivalent of the Baghdad attacks has occurred at least 3 times in the past week among American youth. The equivalent of the terror attacks last November in Paris has occurred at least 8 times, just among America’s youth, and just since January 1.
The gun didn’t have to go off. Any number of solutions or combinations of solutions to this problem could be reasonably implemented. Safety regulations could be tightened; the ease of gun ownership itself could be tightened. The problem’s existence cannot be debated.
Featured Image is Public Domain, via Pixabay.