If there’s anything to take away from the tragic death of a woman at an Idaho Walmart store at the hands of her own two-year-old son, it’s that the Second Amendment has been criminally neglected when it comes to an entire segment of our population.
Chemical research scientist Veronica Rutledge paid with her life when she took her toddler son and three nieces to the Hayden, Idaho Walmart on Tuesday for some shopping with the gift cards the children had received for Christmas. A gun rights advocate, Rutledge was carrying a handgun in a special conceal-carry purse that her husband had given her as a gift. The purse contained a zippered compartment for her firearm, which was loaded. When Rutledge turned away for a moment, her toddler son got into her purse, opened the zipper, pulled out the gun, and then shot his mother in the head, killing her instantly.
While young Rutledge had found a way to express his Second Amendment rights by retrieving the handgun, his mother ceded her own rights by not having a backup weapon holstered on her person so she could return fire.
When is America going to learn its lesson that an armed society is a polite society?
The Washington Post recently tried and failed to figure out how many Americans are being accidentally shot to death by children. The newspaper found that according to the CDC 591 people died accidentally from gunfire in 2011, and 102 of those victims were under eighteen. But no data is kept on how many of those deaths were caused by kids pulling the trigger.
So there’s no way to know, presently, how many youngsters are packing heat, and how many of them have received crucial weapon safety training.
We fault the NRA for not more aggressively advocating that the Second Amendment is for everyone in this country, not just angry white folks who oppose tyranny. It’s about time this nation’s toddlers, tots, and tweens — from every strata of society — were armed and taught their rights and responsibilities as gun owners.
A more informed 9-year-old, for example, might have known about the kick an Uzi packs, and that knowledge could perhaps have kept her aim from wandering into her Arizona gun instructor’s head this past August. In that incident, a family awake about its Second Amendment rights stopped in at the “Last Stop Gun Range” in Mojave County so their daughter could appreciate the fine workmanship of the Israeli automatic weapon. According to a police report of the incident, the child reported that the firearm was “too much for her” which should serve as a reminder that elementary school children should be outfitted with guns they not only can comfortably kill with, but also do so without feeling overwhelmed.
News reports documented more than ten cases of two-year-olds injuring or killing Americans with firearms just in 2014, which proves that triggers are actually not hard for toddlers to pull. But is that really the question we should be asking? Isn’t it more important that the pre-school set get equipped not only with a correct trigger weight, but also a weapon’s shape and color?
As the cases in those news reports show, as well as the incidents at the Arizona gun range and the Idaho Walmart, the accurate aim these youngsters exhibited is rather stunning. But is a grade schooler going to level a gun at his diapered sibling knowing that little brother or little sister is strapped and loaded?
Until the NRA begins to take the Second Amendment more seriously, this country will continue to go to hell in a handbasket. Enough is enough. Think of the children.