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Monday, December 19, 2005

Don't be shy aboutcareless with firearms

N&O staff writer Ruth Sheehan has some interesting thoughts on the issue of firearms in friends' and families' homes, but seems slightly naive when asking us to "do the math." If there were actually 4 accidentally shootings this past summer in NC as this reader suggests and at least 40% of homes contain a firearm, then we seem to be a fairly safe society in general. Given that NC's population is at least 8.5 Mil, then that number of accidents seems quite paltry; even if you triple that number to account for any margin of error. In fact, it's hard to comprehend how small this number is without a scientific calculator with a fairly large display. But perhaps this underscores the wrong point and I do not wish to be overly callous or analytical. I don't believe any child or family should be the victim of such a pointless tragedy. (I have witnessed from personal experience the pointlessness and recklessness of such an accident) My point is this: Responsible gun ownership and use is the obvious answer, and the natural one to any respectable, law-abiding gun owning citizen. The ASK program is but one facet, albeit, as suggested, an underused one, of good gun safety. As it may serve as a gentle reminder or possibly start a dialogue about proper safety and adequate vigilence, it is a good idea. But just as Smokey the Bear teaches about Fire Safety, "[Fire] Safety Begins with You!" Okay, maybe I'm making this slogan up, but perhaps safety education should start with our own children before they ever leave the home. You cannot allow children to learn such lessons on their own or their peers at such an inquisitive and explorative age.

Perhaps we need to concentrate on a bigger killer of NC children: driving over to the friend's house. Auto-safety and driver education is much more of a problem for today's youth and even their families. Watch the local news tonight and over any given holiday weekend. Auto-fatalities far outnumber any accidental shootings. I worry about my family everytime they drive down Capital Blvd., I-40 or Falls of Neuse. Just food for thought.

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