Two young boys — ages 2 and 3 years old — died within a week of one another last month after finding a parent’s gun stashed in a bag and then accidentally shooting themselves.
Kiyan Shelton Enoch, 2, fatally shot himself April 20 with his mother’s gun, which he found in her purse. Holston Cole, 3, found a gun in his father’s backpack and fatally shot himself April 26.
Their cases attracted national attention, because the two boys were among four toddlers who shot and killed themselves that week — and among 23 toddlers who’d fatally shot themselves or someone else since Jan. 1.
If that seems like a lot, that’s because it is.
The two boys’ deaths were tragically similar — but the outcome for their parents was very different.
As blogger David Waldman, who tracks gun violence and accidental shootings for Daily Kos, pointed out, one parent was charged while the other boy’s parents were not.
Kiyan’s mother, Kanisha Shelton, was charged Tuesday with a felony count of neglect of a dependent resulting in death, while authorities announced Thursday that Holston’s parents, David and Haley Cole, would not be charged in their son’s death.
The 23-year-old Shelton is black, and the Coles are white.
Comparing those two cases is somewhat problematic, because Indiana — where Shelton lives — and Georgia — where the Coles live — have very different gun laws.
Indiana allows charges for parents whose children find guns and injure or kill themselves or someone else, while Georgia has no laws in place requiring safe storage of firearms.
Georgia law permits criminal charges for adults who intentionally or knowingly provide a child access to a handgun, but some adults have been charged there in recent months in connection with a child’s accidental firearms death.
White parents appear more likely to escape charges than black parents.
Demarqo Smith, who is black, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct after his 6-year-old daughter, Ja’Mecca, found a loaded gun between two sofa cushions in her family’s Atlanta apartment.
Christopher Ashkins, who is also black, was charged in November with second-degree child cruelty, possession of a gun by a convicted felon and drug possession after his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son found his handgun and fatally shot himself.
The 37-year-old Ashkins, who was on parole for cocaine-related charges, was not home when Jayden Clay accidentally shot himself in the face at his family’s Atlanta apartment.
Grant Dennington, who is white, was not charged after his 2-year-old son found the handgun he’d placed on the bed Oct. 27 while using the restroom and fatally shot himself in an Atlanta suburb.
“We’re talking a minute or two,” said Acworth Police Chief Wayne Dennard, who described the father as a responsible gun owner. “We spent a lot of time talking to the dad, interviewing other family members. This was not routine on his part. He always took the necessary precautions.”
Two white parents in Indiana face similar charges to Shelton after their 3-year-old son pulled a loaded gun from a kitchen counter in December and shot himself in the head.
Nicholas Gulling, 27, was charged with neglect of a dependent causing death, and Sandra Tomich, 35, was charged with neglect of a dependent.
In a secluded region in Russia’s Arctic they are rejecting Putin in rare protest
Lyudmila Laptander, an activist advocating autonomy for her mineral-rich Nenets region in the Russian Arctic, worries authorities are planning to sacrifice its traditions for the promise of economic enrichment.
"If Nenets is merged with another region, I worry that no one will look after our language or our traditions, and that our small villages in the tundra will be forgotten," said Laptander, 61, a member of the Yasavey cultural group.
The autonomous region on the edge of the Arctic Ocean was gripped by protests in May against the government's plans to integrate it with neighbouring Arkhangelsk.
People are paying to hire this donkey to crash their Zoom meetings
The coronavirus pandemic has led millions of people to embrace meetings via Zoom, but admittedly, those can be as tedious as in-person conferences.
So one animal sanctuary in Canada, in dire need of cash after being forced to close to visitors, found a way to solve both problems.
Meet Buckwheat, a donkey at the Farmhouse Garden Animal Home, who is ready to inject some fun into your humdrum work-from-home office day -- for a price.
"Hello. We are crashing your meeting, we are crashing your meeting -- this is Buckwheat," says sanctuary volunteer Tim Fors, introducing the gray and white animal on a Zoom call.
Republican senators are suddenly trying to social distance — from Trump
There’s something interesting in today’s news:
A number of Republican Senators have said they are skipping the Republican National Convention this year. The convention was originally scheduled in Charlotte, North Carolina, but at Trump’s insistence was relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, last month. The stated reason was that Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper would not commit to permitting a full convention out of concerns about the spread of coronavirus, but the abrupt switch to Florida, less than 80 days before the convention, still seems odd to me. Regardless, the switch has created a new problem: Florida is in the midst of a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases, setting a record for new cases in a single day during the weekend —11,458—and running low of ICU beds.