Here is a letter about gun safety that I shared with the families at the child care program I ran
Dear Parents and Families:
While I was on vacation in Florida this past January, I was a witness to a tragedy. I was staying with my mother in an apartment complex that encircled a lovely courtyard. It was the young family that lived directly across from my mother that caught my attention from the first day of my stay. They were my mother’s closest neighbors and it was difficult not to notice the two young children riding a big wheel and pull horse through the cluster of palm trees.
Two days later, it was the blare of sirens that caught my attention. The noise drew us, among other courtyard residents, out into the warm night air. A friend of my mother, who often watched these delightful preschoolers, ran past police and paramedics and through the propped open door. She emerged with the older child, a blond boy of four, clinging to her and sobbing. I could hear him repeat, “I didn’t want to hurt my sister. I hurt Calli bad.” It took awhile for my mother’s friend to comfort this little boy.
There was no one able to comfort the mother when the police told her that her two-year-old was dead.
The shooting was ruled an accident, but an accident is usually defined as an unavoidable incident. This tragedy was avoidable. The two children were playing unsupervised in the parent’s bedroom. A loaded handgun was lying in the nightstand. Carlton only shot his sister once, but in the chest, from a distance of only three feet.
I found my reaction was shared by many of the people gathered in the courtyard that night; a feeling of helplessness, a terrible tragedy had happened and nothing could be done. It was then I realized, although there was nothing I could do to change what happened, maybe I could do something. Maybe by sharing this story I could help prevent this tragedy from happening to the families and children we care about .
Therefore, I implore you to properly secure all firearms and keep safety a primary concern, preventing avoidable accidents and tragedies like the one I’ve shared with you here.
IN THIS COUNTRY,
A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF SIX IS KILLED OR INJURED BY A GUN:
14,600 TIMES A YEAR
10 TIMES A DAY
1 TIME EVERY 36 MINUTES *Children’s Defense Fund 1990