Gun deaths are so routine in America that only massacres draw brief attention, but a harrowing week in April involving guns and toddlers shouldn't pass unnoticed.
Four toddlers shot and killed themselves in a week's time, according to a recent report in The New York Times. Two-year-old Sha'Quille Kornegay of Kansas City found the gun her father kept under his pillow and shot herself in the head. In another example, 3-year-old Holston Cole of Dallas, Georgia, pulled a semi-automatic pistol out of his father's backpack and shot himself. He died the following morning.
Parents in these cases rarely face criminal charges. Prosecutors tend to believe that the guilt they will carry the rest of their lives is punishment enough for their folly. These deaths cannot be called "accidents," however, because they could have easily been prevented.
Studies have revealed that a gun in the home is more likely to kill a family member than an intruder, and these toddlers' deaths add to the imbalance. Massachusetts is the only state in the union that requires owners to store their guns in a locked place. Storage mandates, trigger locks and other wise regulations that could save lives and prevent injuries are routinely opposed by gun advocates who see them as part of the non-existent conspiracy to take away their guns.
Gun proponents will surely argue in the wake of the toddler's deaths that "guns don't kill children, children kill children." The various feeble excuses to oppose common sense gun laws have in common a lack of logic and a callousness that attest to the United States' deep denial about the full extent of its deadly gun addiction.