Teenage Boy Accidentally Shoots His 12-Year-Old Brother – But We Don’t Have A Gun Problem

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shutterstock_2414203This is horrifying. A 16-year-old boy accidentally shot his 12-year-old brother in their Orlando home, mistaking him for an intruder. A teenager shoots his brother. But our easy access to guns in this country isn’t dangerous at all.

From the ABC News:

A teenager shot and killed his 12-year-old brother because he mistook him for an intruder in their Florida home, police said today.

According to police the 16-year-old was home alone on Friday when his younger brother came home.

Scared that there was an intruder in the home, the older boy grabbed a gun and shot his brother, according to police. Once the teen realized what had happened, he immediately called 911.

There are so many stories of children accessing guns and wounding themselves or someone else. It’s hard for me to even read them any more. I’ll usually see a headline and skip it. What’s incredibly frustrating is that each time something like this happens – if you suggest we have a gun problem in this country you are “politicizing” a tragedy.

What is the solution if parents can’t be trusted to keep guns safely locked and out of reach of children in the home? I think that many call for stricter gun laws purely out of despair. What are we supposed to do? A couple of days before this incident, a four-year-old shot himself in the face in the same county in Florida. He is expected to live.

As a parent, I’m wondering if I need to ask other parents if they keep guns in the home before I schedule a play date. Is that paranoid? Maybe. I’ve managed to live in states with a low percentage of gun owners – New York, California and Florida – but I’m still worried. And to those who think that mentioning gun control when these horrific incidents happen is ridiculous – what is the correct response? What am I missing here?

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement affirming that “the most effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries to children and adolescents is the absence of guns from homes and communities.” But many who may be happily willing to follow advice about crib bumpers and co-sleeping, will scoff at a recommendation as seemingly common sense as not having a weapon in the same vicinity as your child.

I give up.

(photo: ARENA Creative/


  1. Lastango

    March 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    You fault the presence of guns, declare we have a “gun problem”, and ask, “What am I missing here?” Then you give us this:
    “The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement affirming that ‘the most effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries to children and adolescents is the absence of guns from homes and communities.’”

    Your solution — and that of the American Academy of Pediatrics — is to take the guns. All the guns. That’s what “absence” means, is exactly what I would expect, and why the NRA fights you on the beaches, fields, cities, and hills. They realize that all your lesser initiatives regarding magazine size, etc. are aimed at that one goal, and your denials and concessions are a temporary, tactical ploy. Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D) was recently caught on tape:

    Schakowsky: We’re on a roll now, and I think we’ve got to take the–you know, we’re gonna push as hard as we can and as far as we can.

    Mattera: So the assault weapons ban is just the beginning?

    Schakowsky: Oh absolutely.

    So, if you want people to stop saying you’re politicizing Sandy Hook, you might consider telling Schakowsky and the rest of the Democratic Party to stop politicizing it.

    Read the rest at the link:

    Calling it a “gun problem” aims at solving this by curtailing guns. We do not have a gun problem. We have a crime problem, a mental illness problem, and a careless gun owner problem.


    Here is something else you are missing (or at least not talking about): the Second Amendment is about the ability of the people to resist the coercive power of their own government. The other day, child care workers and the police used the mere posting of a photograph on facebook as a pretext to visit a home and illegally attempt to intimidate and threaten a homeowner.

    Fortunately, these thugs picked the wrong target. He had legal support on the phone, and was informed about the law. As the government and police know well, he’s the exception. Most folks would have been sufficiently terrorized enough to comply with their demands. I hope this homeowner and lawful firearms owner sues — expecially the child care worker who refused to give her name when she knew the ploy had failed.

    You need a little humor in your life: “I saw a movie the other day, where only the government and the police had all the guns. It was called ‘Schindler’s List'”.

    • once upon a time

      March 24, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      First of all, a child holding what appears to be a fucking assault rifle is absolutely grounds for a visit from child services.

      Second of all, in Australia it’s mostly just the government and police who have guns and to compare us to Schindler’s List is completely fucking ridiculous – in fact, weren’t we just named the second best country in which to be born?

    • Kate

      March 25, 2013 at 4:12 am

      Yep, government and police. Farmers and competitive shooters can have a rifle, but it is very heavily regulated.

      Our government does a lot of silly things, yet tyranny isn’t one of them.

    • Paul White

      March 25, 2013 at 9:50 am

      How the hell is that grounds for a visit from CPS? There was nothing inherently unsafe or illegal in that photo; he was exercising proper gun handling, and firearms aren’t illegal in that area. Just because you don’t approve of my hobbies doesn’t mean I’m endangering my kids, abusing my kids or neglecting my kids.

      I’ve got a photo somewhere my dad took of me holding an M1 Garand while out shooting with my grandfather. Happy memories, and a great time. Not child abuse.

    • once upon a time

      March 25, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      The gun is a copy of the AR-15, which is illegal in New Jersey.

  2. Jennifer Ives O'Meara

    March 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    It is the mentality or the tone of this article that upsets me the most. As a mother I hate violence against children regardless of the factors just as much as the author does, but you can not sum up all actions and resolve them with a simple all or nothing law. It simply does not work. Take for example drugs. They are illegal, yet that doesn’t keep them off the streets, or out of the hands of babes, in fact, it almost pushes them closer together, or at least it did in my high school. And since when did anyone start giving a damn or living their own life making decisions based upon the findings of the American Acadamy of Pediatrics. What needs to be done is tougher laws for parents of minors who commit crimes and/or unintentionally hurts another because they had access to a weapon. For example the above article, is that what we are teaching our children, shoot first, when you feel threaten and you have access to a gun? We could also provide more access and affordable care for mental health issues. There is nothing political about this problem, and it is not so black & white.
    Removing our rights, yes, our right to bear arms, is restricting our freedoms, and policing the society. When their is NO ONE smart enough to be the parents of our nation, guess who gets to be the ones deciding what is right for us, the same ones that ban trans fat & large quantities of soda in all restuarants in NYC, its a good thing they did, now nobody will be fat, or have diabetes, or have heart attacks. (sarcasm)
    As the previous poster pointed out in his last line, the last time a nation got behind the political movement to ban all guns, millions suffered, and nobody suffered more than the Jewish community. I suggest you learn your history, study political agenda’s and the gun policies of foreign countries, instead of pointing your finger at the weapon, because removing a specific weapon that does harm, never removes the “intent”.

  3. Nicole Jordan

    March 24, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    We dont have a gun problem, we have an immaturity problem. Kids became parents who never learned to be responsible therfore we have a bunch of over grown kids leaving their guns out for their kids to play with.

  4. Edify

    March 24, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Despite the lobbyist responses this article was bound to attract; yes, your country has a gun problem. In my country, we have tight laws surrounding access, storage, registration, point of sale and tight restrictions on semi-automatic weapons (almost limited to government only) and handguns requiring deactivation.
    Consequently, we don’t have stories of children killing or injuring themselves or others in our papers daily, we haven’t seen a mass shooting in almost 20 years and we are also yet to be oppressed by our government. We certainly have no fear of becoming Nazi Germany as other commenters post.
    The only way to stop these unnecessary deaths and violence is to politicize it and demand tighter laws on gun ownership. You have more than enough proof that clinging to an outdated amendment as the sole argument for bearing arms is costing your children their lives.

    • Lastango

      March 24, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      People like you are the reason we need a Second Amendment. If we didn’t have it’s protection, our guns would have been stolen from us?
      BTW, what country are you from? Fair warning: I’m going to google your claims.

    • Edify

      March 24, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      Gosh you are prone to hysteria.

      You don’t even need to take away all guns to make your country safer but you do need tighter laws on ownership, licensing, containment and registration.

      Seriously, does your amendment state that guns should be hidden loaded under beds so children can kill each other? Because that happens more in your society than the need to defend yourself against your government. When was the last time a citizen in the U.S. had to bear arms in the manner in which your amendment was intended?

      You can have a much safer society whilst maintaining your 2nd amendment.

    • Lastango

      March 25, 2013 at 12:29 am

      What country did you say you are from?

    • Edify

      March 25, 2013 at 1:51 am

      Australia. With gun owners in my family, I even have a solid understanding about licensing and storage. Oddly, since tighter gun laws were introduced in response to a mass shooting in 1996, we’ve yet to resort to genocide as you proclaim happens below.

      Where in the amendment did it say you should keep unsecured loaded weapons so people can accidentally kill and injure each other? When did you say you last had to bear arms against your government?

    • Scoop007

      March 25, 2013 at 8:06 am

      Edify, some might say the reason why we haven’t had to bear arms against our government is because we have the arms to bear.

    • Lastango

      March 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      +1… an armed society is a free society.

    • Edify

      March 25, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Did you do some research on other countries yet? Realise that we are still free and are not being oppressed by our Governments?

    • once upon a time

      March 25, 2013 at 7:19 pm

      Well obviously Edify and I are responding from a secret location, since our gunfree country with our oppressive government doesn’t let us use the internet.

    • Edify

      March 25, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      Yes, I’m sure the gun lobby and associated members would say that. But really, that’s not the reason.
      Nice try.

    • once upon a time

      March 25, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      Your country has the second largest military in the world and the world’s largest budget. The Green Berets are considered one of the finest military organisations in the world. Do you honestly believe that the handgun you keep in your dresser drawer is keeping them from overtaking you?

    • once upon a time

      March 25, 2013 at 4:08 am

      You claim downthread that America doesn’t have a gun problem but rather a crime, mental illness and irresponsible gun owner problem, but how can anyone do anything about this if people such as yourself scream, “SECOND AMENDMENT VIOLATION!!!” whenever someone wants to discuss the issue?

      Why can’t gun safes be a possible solution? I’m asking you genuinely and honestly – how does asking people to lock up their guns when they’re not using them so that they’re out of reach of children and mentally disturbed people violate your rights and turn American into a military state?

      And to help with your Googling, try Martin Bryant (the Wikipedia entry has great breakdown of the resulting gun control initiatives). The United Nations has some numbers on homicides by country here ( and I know that the Australian Bureau of Statistics had some info about the decrease in crime following gun control but I’m afraid I can’t find it. Just go to and try some searches.

      And in the interest of keeping things balanced, check out these gun related crimes that have occurred since – the Melbourne gangland killings (35 gangsters killed over ten years), the Moorrabbin Police murders (two police officers shot in 1998), the Millewa State Forest Murders (three people found shot execution style), Monash University shooting (two killed in a shooting at a university), Melbourne CBD shooting (one person killed when a gunmen opened fire), and the Brisbane biker shootings (one woman injured during a gun fight in a shopping centre). These are the major incidents that have occurred during the past twenty years – why don’t you now list all the American shootings?

  5. Blooming_Babies

    March 24, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Yes we absolutely have a gun problem, and a gun culture problem. Take off your blinders, no amount of small arms will ever protect you from the the us government. I’ve never actually heard anyone suggest that we take all the guns outside of gun nuts giving speeches.

    We need to start discussing solutions and studying the problem. Background checks would be a great start, funding for the regulatory agency that polices gun dealers, pediatricians being allowed to talk about gun safety with parents, the CDC being allowed to study guns and gun violence. I can’t imagine why anyone would have a problem with any of these things but they don’t currently exist or didn’t until very recently and by executive order.

  6. Rachel

    March 24, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I’d absolutely love it if parents asked me prior to approving play-dates if we had guns in our home.

    The honest answer? No, not a single one. However, someone making that inquiry would give me a heads up that their logic tends to be hysteria-oriented, which could lead to even the simplest of of conversations turning into a dramatic ordeal.

    • Lastango

      March 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      “However, someone making that inquiry would give me a heads up that their logic tends to be hysteria-oriented”


      You’ve got that right. They’ll be eyeing your pets for signs of animal abuse, and sneaking a peak at the child seats in your car. And who knows what they’re asking your kids when you’re not around. If anything seems amiss in your home, they’ll mention it to your child’s teacher, because they’re just So Concerned about the welfare of children. Then your phone might ring — and officialdom might go apeshit.

      I wouldn’t let anyone like that in my front door. There’s no telling what they’ll do.

    • Edify

      March 25, 2013 at 1:58 am

      Lets me honest, they don’t want your hysteria in their home either

    • Rachel

      March 25, 2013 at 2:48 am

      Yeah, facts are terrifying.

    • Edify

      March 25, 2013 at 3:24 am

      Rachel, I’m not really seeing a lot of facts in anything posted by Lastango. Just a whole heap of hyperbole

    • once upon a time

      March 25, 2013 at 4:33 am

      The paranoia is strong in this one.

    • Annie

      March 26, 2013 at 12:35 am

      Hysteria-oriented because they ask if you keep guns?

      Let’s say I have children, and they want their friends to stay over. If their parents ask if I keep guns I’d tell them that yes, I do, and then I’d proceed to show them the securely locked gun safe.

      It’s not a crazy request given how many children are killed because some jerkass didn’t secure their weapon. Think of how they’d feel if they *didn’t* check and that happened to their kid? That would be on their conscience for the rest of their lives.

  7. Rachel

    March 24, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    Actually, this game looks fun. Let me try:

    “The most effective measure to prevent poison-related injuries and deaths to children and adolescents is the absence of non-edible substances, particularly household and commercial cleaning solutions, from homes and communities.”

    “The most effective measure to prevent fall-related injuries and deaths to children and adolescents is the absence of climbable surfaces and drops from homes and communities.”

    “The most effective measure to prevent motor vehicle traffic-related injuries and deaths to children and adolescents is the absence of motor vehicles from homes and communities.”

    “The most effective measure to prevent suffocation-related injuries and deaths to children and adolescents is the absence of non-porous materials from homes and communities.”

    I hope I didn’t break any rules by only using hazards that are actually statistically responsible for the most childhood deaths and injuries in the U.S.

    • Annie

      March 25, 2013 at 12:53 am

      Funnily enough, none of those things were made for the explicit purpose of killing humans.

    • Rachel

      March 25, 2013 at 1:03 am

      Which is interesting, considering they’re apparently better at it.

    • Annie

      March 25, 2013 at 2:26 am

      Your inability to form a sensical argument in the face of logic would be cute if it weren’t just so damn sad coming from what I assume is a grownup.

    • Rachel

      March 25, 2013 at 2:42 am

      My argument is that people are so quick to call for outright bans on firearm ownership if they don’t deem the firearms necessary in their lives. For more common hazards that are significantly more dangerous to children, people are far more likely to instead focus on improving safety measures for items they do deem necessary to avoid being inconvenienced by not having a swimming pool, artificial cleaning agents, etc. Gun deaths are more dramatic, so they get more press and more outrage despite being less dangerous.

      I hope that’s “sensical” enough for you.

    • once upon a time

      March 25, 2013 at 4:29 am

      Poisonous household substances have child safety caps. Cars have seat belts. Child safety agencies produce literature on how to prevent falls and suffocation. These aren’t things that just appeared, fully formed, into the world – they were measures taken to prevent against documented dangers.

      And the reason gun deaths are ‘more dramatic’ is because guns are a fast and easy way to kill large numbers of people.

    • Guerrilla Mom

      March 25, 2013 at 9:29 am

      Gun control does not equal “outright ban.”

    • Edify

      March 25, 2013 at 1:56 am

      Or, as an alternative, you could take measures to ensure that these things aren’t so readily accessible. Ie, put your poisons and guns in places secure from children.

    • Rachel

      March 25, 2013 at 2:29 am

      That’s exactly my frustration. With so many things statistically more dangerous to children, the concern is always how to mitigate risks. That’s why we have car seats, childproof lids, product warnings, etc. But with guns, there are very few people asking what steps should be taken to encourage safe, responsible gun ownership compared to the mobs calling for severely limited restrictions on the ownership, if not the outright ban of firearms in general.

      Of course kids are less likely to be shot if there are no guns. Just like they’d be less likely to die of X if X is completely absent from society. The logic in this article is inconsistent and flawed.

    • Edify

      March 25, 2013 at 3:17 am

      Then please do argue for that because your position once expressed is entirely logical and accepts a middle ground. The debate in the U.S. appears to be so polarizing on both sides that no one is willing to talk about all of the solutions in the middle. The debate needs more voices saying exactly this.

  8. Daisy

    March 25, 2013 at 12:25 am

    I just don’t get this American attitude that guns are a “right.” In most of the developed world, having access to lethal weapons is a tough-to-earn privilege, not a right. And most of the developed world is getting along quite a lot better in that regard than the USA. You know why the constitution has amendments in the first place? Because it needed changing, because it wasn’t good enough the first time around. That’s what “amendment” means. The 2nd amendment was not handed down to Moses on a stone tablet from high heaven. There’s every possibility it could be wrong, and I hope anyone with two eyes and a brain can take a look at the rest of the developed world and conclude that it obviously is wrong, or at least that the specific execution of that general principle has gone terribly awry.

  9. Paul White

    March 25, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Your implied solution certainly seems to be a ban; “What is the solution if parents can’t be trusted to keep guns safely locked and out of reach of children in the home” implies you assume people can’t/won’t secure their guns and simply shouldn’t be able to have them. Given that you don’t actually state your solution, your implication is all we have to go on regarding your views.

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