Boy, 11, asks girl, 8, to see her puppies. She declines. He shoots and kills her

This should win some sort of award for “most easily preventable tragedy”.

I have no guns. But there is stuff in my garage - power saws, chisels, knives, hammers - which could kill and which are not accessible to children.

But also there are no films on television in which the good guys kill the bad guys with hammers, saws etc., John Wayne didn’t arm himself with a mattock (an extremely dangerous short range weapon), and there is no National Sledgehammer Association constantly telling people that the only solution to a bad guy with a sledgehammer is a good guy with a sledgehammer. Which means impressionable children are far less likely to believe that the answer to interpersonal problems is to pick up a blunt instrument.

My growing belief is that it is not guns that are the problem but the glorification of them and their presentation - by the NRA - as the solution to a wide range of social problems. The problem then runs up against the First Amendment, which would prevent the passing of a law banning the promotion of the use of guns.
Of course, the First Amendment is largely dead except for the rights of corporations to infict advertising on you and to coerce politicians. But in this case that won’t help since that is exactly how the NRA operates.


My parents have a couple handguns. My father is convinced he needs it for protection (which is bullshit - he doesn’t, but I can’t decide that for him). Next time we visit, I’m going to demand that they be unloaded, locked up, and ammunition be kept at a friends house or something. a) I don’t want my kids finding them somehow (rare) b) I don’t want him to hear a sound downstairs – e.g. my kid sleepwalking on the porch or something – him coming downstairs, seeing a door open, and going all Miami Vice on a 7 year old. This shit happens, folks.

Edit: he has done most of that already … locked, hidden … I don’t think he offsites the ammunition, though. He is a responsible gun owner … it’s not like he leaves handguns in his purse while shopping at Walmart.

I swear I’d be the worlds worst gun owner. I can barely hold on to my keys, wallet, and phone.


Do chainsaws count?

Someone’s gotta say it: the girl flaunted her puppies in front of him, and then turned him down and even LAUGHED when he said he wanted to get a closer look.

This situation is part of more than one twisted, depraved cultural norm in the U.S.


I hope this is a joke but I can’t tell.

Edit: I get the comment now. Not a joke - a comment gender rules/expectations. Got it. Sorry. I’m kind of fuming and not thinking clearly.


Exactly what I was thinking. Not only do we have insane gun fetish culture in the US, we have a boy who was very, very likely raised either explicitly, or tacitly, to believe that females do not have agency to deny him his desires.


While this is almost certainly true, I have a feeling that he would have done the same thing were the puppy owner a male.

And why aren’t his parents being charged with some form of negligent homicide, here? I mean, ok, America doesn’t seem to have any system in place to ensure that gun owners actually keep their guns responsibly (which I would love to figure out how to do, never mind seeing it actually implemented)… But surely there MUST be some law on the books to punish gun owners when something so utterly stupid and preventable as this happens? And if there’s not, I really hope that gun advocates don’t oppose such a law being put into place. Because we constantly hear from gun advocates that guns aren’t dangerous when they’re owned by responsible owners… So surely they must be in favour of punishing the irresponsible owners?


I can’t speak for everyone, but my take is that any “humor” in this discussion has more to do with “shaking head in disbelief at the batspit crazy gun culture in the U.S.” along with sarcasm about said culture and the helplessness to do anything about it.


Only because you’re not listening. It is depressingly common.


Here’s another one

4 year old shoots 6 year old neighbor with gun the 4yo’s father left laying around. They were playing with it- thing went off and killed the 6yo. Father/owner of gun gets 3 years in prison.

This is why I do not want a gun. One mistake and you or someone else could be dead. I know myself well enough, and I don’t feel like anyone is going to break in and rob me or anything. I am not a hunter, nor do I want to exercise a right just because it is my right. Will take my chances unarmed, thank you.

Edit: yes the same is true of a car. One mistake and I’m dead. But a car – where I’m choosing to live – is a necessity and doesn’t exist solely to kill or threaten others.


They know what they are doing, they don’t have the same empathetic knowledge of consequences that adults do. Kids know when they’re doing things wrong, like stealing from other kids, but we don’t punish them along the same lines because kids are incredibly short-sighted and haven’t fully developed a sense of empathy. This is why you can’t really diagnose someone with psychopathy until they’re an adult. There’s fallacious reasoning in the idea that the act itself can fully define the level of culpability of the person perpetrating it.


Worse yet, the father-in-law says:

“They are painting Veronica as irresponsible, and that is not the case,” he said. “… I brought my son up around guns, and he has extensive experience shooting it. And Veronica had had hand gun classes; they’re both licensed to carry, and this wasn’t just some purse she had thrown her gun into.”

Such bullshit. Leaving a loaded handgun where a momentarily-unsupervised two-year-old can find it and shoot someone with it is the very height of irresponsibility, no matter how much ‘experience’ you have.

In fact, I’d suggest that it’s MORE irresponsible for a well-trained gun-handler to do such a thing, because they don’t have ignorance and lack of forethought as an ‘excuse.’.


Oh, to be sure, I see tons of articles about kids shooting other kids, usually two siblings or close relations playing and accidentally discharging the gun. I was specifically talking about pre-teens using guns in arguments over trivialities. Of course, it could be I’m just not seeing those.

Not mentioned in the linked article, but something i’d read somewhere else a few days ago. The boy had actually been bullying the little girl, and he had a history of being relatively mean toward her to the point that the principal of their school had to issue a formal reprimand for him to back off.

I’m not sure how long that happened between then and the shooting.


Yup - 100% agree. I read that and thought I was on candid fucking camera or something.

Also, cars are heavily regulated. Licensing, eye test, road test, brethalyzer checkpoints. If you leave your keys where your grade schooler can get them, and she runs over the neighbor, you’re in big trouble - just like a gun.


I feel sad for the friends and family of the murdered girl, and for this evil child too. But I can’t bring myself to feel anything but anger towards the boy’s father and mother; being a parent means you will often be responsible (ethically, if not legally) for the actions of one’s children. So if your child is no damn good (and yes, that sometimes does happen, through no fault of the parents) it’s part of your job to keep that child away from situations where they can do harm. Giving your bad kid easy unsupervised access to both killing weapons and other, weaker children? That’s no longer solely the fault of your kid, bad seed though he may be.


Yes, exactly.I was wondering when someone was going to mention that there’s a reason we don’t consider 11 year olds capable of consent (to sex, to contracts, to whatever), and that their brains are still developing. It’s a terrible crime, and there needs to be justice, but what kind of justice can there be if you don’t take into account the fact that at that age, simply knowing people die if you shoot them doesn’t quite have the weight it would as an adult. It’s not real to them in some indefinable way.

The children who commit these awful crimes (and you do read about the awful ones, the kids that torture a younger child to death to see what happens, or stab their friend thirty times or etc etc)- the worst thing you can do is toss them into the prison system, since it’s design pretty much ensures that it will only cement their violent tendencies, rather than correct them. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I do think we’ve lost sight of the fact that there’s more to justice than retribution.


While possible, that isn’t what happened. <a href=““target=”_blank”>WaPo is reporting that the boy has been bullying the girl since she moved in.

It depends on how the wind is blowing through society, but I seem to recall cases in the past where the parents were charged with manslaughter, at minimum.


No. Kids simply can’t think of consequences the way adults do. Their prefrontal cortex is simply not fully-formed yet ([1], [2], [3]), and any belief that they have an adult understanding of either consequences or empathy is projecting our own adult selves on to them.

We already know that human 2- to 4-year-olds are the most violent people in our species, but their puny physical stature and lack of coordination make it generally harmless. This violence declines as they get older, but continues to be higher than that of adults, mostly because of this prefrontal immaturity.

The reason that more 11-year-olds don’t shoot people with shotguns is not because the other 11-year-olds are saints with better parents, but because most 11-year-olds don’t have easy access to shotguns and an adult that taught them how to load and shoot it.

I’m not saying that the 11-year-old couldn’t have had serious problems and wasn’t a bully, but to project an adult diagnosis on this (a “psychopath”) is simply wrong.