The Press hammered the incident, with three related stories taking up most of its front page. One of the articles points out that more children die from guns than from cancer, more kids were hurt by guns in 2010 than soldiers in the war in Afghanistan. Four-year-old boy. Playing with a .22 rifle in a truck and shot his friend, 6, dead.
There are laws on the books -- largely unenforced, as the Press points out -- to punish owners who allow children access to guns. Punishment after the fact certainly wouldn't bring much consolation to anyone in this case, if it ever does.
So let me point out: There is no inevitability. There is only culture and culture can be changed. In fact, inevitability is on the other side of the logical inequality: Trust is greater than fear. Trust comes through cooperation. Guns breed fear. They break down cooperation, break down trust. No one who carries a gun is free from the fear that they might be called on to use it or that it might fall into the wrong hands. That is the fear of a responsible gun owner. Your gun can fall into the wrong hands. You do have the capacity to shoot someone by accident. Your weapon can be taken from you and used against you or someone else. A gun is an awesome burden. No matter how disciplined you are, if you aren't afraid of those negative outcomes, you are simply not being realistic, you're not being responsible. A gun does promote a sense of strength, a sense that you and your family are powerful and will survive an attack. Apart from being incredibly selfish and fueled by fear, that's quite possibly false. Many armed people die all the time. But that's not the point. The sense of strength that comes from gun ownership, whatever else it might be, is not peace of mind. Peace of mind comes from letting go of fear, cooperating with one another, admitting that we are dependent on one another, working together.