A 3-year-old girl from Louisiana is recovering from being accidentally shot in the face by her 6-year-old brother on Saturday. Louisiana’s The Advocate reported on Sunday that, according to police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, the girl “survived the shooting, and successfully came through surgery Sunday.” The overall condition of the girl was not publicly reported.
Police also reported that the man responsible for the gun the children were playing with at the time of the shooting fled and has not been located. He obviously bears a load of responsibility in this case, and local authorities are “considering possible criminal counts in the incident.” The girl’s mother was the one responsible for bringing her to the hospital. Police made no apparent comment as to the identity of the owner of the gun and if or how he is connected to the victim’s mother.
Gun violence is at a staggering size in all segments of American society. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 19,076 gun violence incidents in the United States since January 1, 2016. These incidents have included 105 mass shootings, 1,751 officer-involved incidents, and even 892 “accidental shootings.” 4,861 deaths have been reported, and 9,836 injuries. 1,031 of the deaths are among those aged 12 to 17-years-old.
And cases like this one, involving the very young, are more common than you might think. 209 children aged from 11-years-old down to infant have been reportedly killed by guns in the past 5-and-a-half months. That’s more than one a day. That is, in terms of number of casualties, the equivalent of the Paris terror attacks from last November and then some, just since January 1 and just among little kids.
Toddlers have been behind the trigger, as one was in this case, 23 times as of May 1 according to the Washington Post. (In 2015, the rate was about 1 shooting per week with a toddler at the trigger.) Some of these shootings have been fatal, such as the Wisconsin child who killed his mother with a gun he found on the back seat. And that was weeks ago, with the overall tally increasing day after day.
Addressing this serious problem gets lost in the sea of prejudices and politics. Gun rights are paraded around by the right, who refuses to budge one inch in favor of trying to restrict the flow of deadly weapons. When asked whether or not guns should only be available to those who pass a safety test, one gun advocate literally said no. They are literally putting guns first, in front of people, and in front of life.
And the racial disparity doesn’t help. White parents are far less likely to be charged in cases such as this one compared to black parents.
The father of a victim of the 2014 mass shooting in Islavista, California, emotionally asked the crowd watching his remarks when “the madness would end,” and the right of his son and others like him to live would come before so called gun rights. The question deserves to be asked again. When will the safety of children in America come before gun rights?