This is a painfully common story: parents give child a deadly weapon as a present, child accidentally kills someone (because CHILDREN SHOULD NOT BE PLAYING WITH GUNS), and everyone shrugs it off because, well, these things just happen. It’s no one’s fault. Nope, no blame anywhere. This is a rifle intended for children, so it was being used properly. Of course, it was used by a five year old boy to accidentally slaughter his two year old sister, but hey, It’s just one of those nightmares, a quick thing that happens when you turn your back, say the police, as if there was no agency involved anywhere in the whole tragic series of events. It just happens.

And then Grandma has to come along and open her mouth.

Riddle said she is devastated, but comforted knowing that her granddaughter is in a better place.

It was God’s will. It was her time to go, I guess, she told WLEX. I just know she’s in heaven right now and I know she’s in good hands with the Lord.

Fuck you, Grandma.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    Shouldn’t Granny be worried about grandson going to hell?
    He broke a commandment.

  2. Holms says

    But sending a child to hell for being childish would spoil their image of god as being perfectly benevolent and moral, so they most likely rationalise that away. Tragic accident, no one could have predicted etc etc. A toddler is dead (taken to a better place!), and her brother will grow up with the terrible burden of having killed his sister (he was the instrument of divine grace!)… any rationalisation will do.

    Meanwhile, the fact that there is even such a thing as ‘guns for kids’ in the first place is just fucking baffling to this non-American.

  3. wzrd1 says

    There are indeed rifles designed for children to fire. Typically, they’re .22 LR rifles, fired a few when I was a boy scout.
    However, those firearms should never, ever be placed in the hands of a child when the child with the firearm are unsupervised. Ever. When not cleaning the rifle or using it on the range, it must be locked up and out of the child’s reach.
    Hence, that was no accident, it was mind boggling negligence, both for leaving a rifle with a five year old *and* having a single shot rifle loaded where the child could get it.

    As for granny, it’s nice to know that she promoted her five year old grandson to deity.

    Jeez, if I was God, these people would turn me into an atheist.

  4. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    It’s nice that the grandma “thinks so”, rather than being devastated and obsessed with rage at her grandson. yet maybe grandma’s rage might have made grandson a little more hesitant towards guns in the future. It’s nice for her to think that herself, as long as it doesn’t keep her from banning guns in households with children.
    Like OP: I’d listen to her condolence with a silent F.U. running through my head. [slowly shaking my head, as I walk away]

  5. says

    There are of course guns for kids. Even I had multiple guns as a child – in totalitarian Czechoslovakia no less.

    One was made of plasitc and it shot round plastic discs looking like miniature frisbees that flew maybe thre-five meters. Others spring propelled little bolts with rubber suckers on end that adhered to some surfaces.

    And one was only cut out of piece of wood. I made it myself and I was proud of it.

    Those are the only appropriate guns for children.

  6. wzrd1 says

    For those interested, this is the rifle in question:
    There is no magazine, one has to put the bullet into the action, after pulling the bolt back, then feed the bolt forward to load the round.

    Hey everybody! Look at what I got for my birthday, a loaded gun!

    Some years ago, a gentleman handed me a similar rifle. Taking it, I pulled the bolt back and to my horror, a round was ejected.
    “You handed me a loaded. fucking. rifle. Now, explain to me why I shouldn’t wrap the barrel around your empty head?!”
    I’m infamous for intolerance to firearms safety lapses and this one goes above and beyond the call of lapse and well within the realm of criminal negligence.

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    ack. disregard the superfluous granny comment/reaction. The police will DO NOTHING??? Not even charge the parents with fatal-negligence? They will just shrug, saying “accidents happen”. Granny should ask the police why they won;t investigate why her granddaughter was given to heaven so young, or verify that it really was “her time” to go.
    OP is actually more outraged at the police shirking rather than granny’s lame consolation.
    but hey, It’s just one of those nightmares, a quick thing that happens when you turn your back, say the police, as if there was no agency involved anywhere in the whole tragic series of events. It just happens.

  8. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    ack. disregard the superfluous granny comment/reaction. The police will DO NOTHING??? Not even charge the parents with fatal-negligence? They will just shrug, saying “accidents happen”. Granny should ask the police why they won;t investigate why her granddaughter was given to heaven so young, or verify that it really was “her time” to go.

    OP is actually more outraged at the police shirking rather than granny’s lame consolation:
    but hey, It’s just one of those nightmares, a quick thing that happens when you turn your back, say the police, as if there was no agency involved anywhere in the whole tragic series of events. It just happens.

  9. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    2nd attempt at <blockquote> failed. “but hey …” was supposed to be in blockquote

  10. opposablethumbs says

    There is no way a child of that age should even have their hands on a real gun. If you just can’t wait to give your very young children guns (why???) ffs make them toys that shoot foam-rubber “arrows” or rubber sucker-darts or ping-pong balls or something that’s not designed to be fucking lethal. Who gives a real gun to a five-year-old? And then leaves them unsupervised? Why the hell are is there no arrest of any of the the adults involved for criminal negligence and reckless endangerment?
    I can almost understand the grandparent talking that crap, though. They must be desperate to find some way of not facing what has happened, desperate not to hate the child, hate the parents, hate themselves for letting in happen. Doesn’t make it right, though – just understandable – and wow, what a great way to make sure nobody learns to me less grossly irresponsible in future.
    I bet these parents wouldn’t give their five-year-old a scalpel or a pair of garden shears to play with unsupervised. But a firearm, that’s just fine.

  11. jaybee says

    I wonder what granny’s reaction would have been had it been the boy across the street who had killed her granddaughter. Would she have been as chill about it, or would she be hopping up and down and asking for justice?

  12. says

    Opposablethumbs @ 13:

    I bet these parents wouldn’t give their five-year-old a scalpel or a pair of garden shears to play with unsupervised.

    I’d bet they taught them not to run with scissors, too. It’s amazing, the sheer irony just doesn’t make them drop dead.

    Larry @ 14:

    Hillbilly birth control.

    A child is dead, and this is your contribution. It would seem that no one taught you that if you have nothing intelligent to say, you should shut the fuck up.

  13. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    One of the adults present (how about grandma) should be held responsible for negligent homicide, or at least contributing to the delinquency of a minor. No child should be carrying a loaded weapon without direct supervision from an adult. This isn’t a case of accident, but rather negligence, caused by not following basic gun safety rules.

  14. EveryZig says

    Sources for NRA fairytales in which kids with guns is a good thing:
    Your link appears to be taking a position to the contrary (from skimming it seems to be saying kids should stay away from guns), but that just means a political organization is saying contradictory things, which is not exactly surprising.

  15. greg hilliard says

    This story is from May 2013. Hard to forget it. I wonder how that kid is doing now — or that little girl who last year killed a guy at a shooting range here in Arizona. She was firing an automatic, for Christ’s sake. Last year, toddlers accounted for 55 shootings, I recall reading. I bet we’re on pace to surpass that this year.

  16. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    yup, re contradictory behavior from political orgs.
    The NRA used to be all about gun safety and responsible ownership of the dangerous tool.
    Politics and profit motive have overridden that to be replaced by gun advocacy (regardless of consequences).
    The gun mfgrs saw NRA as a threat to their profits, so they took them over, became the leaders of the NRA and redirected their dues into lobbying to relax gun laws and enhance their marketing. Some faction of the NRA members try to cling to the notion of “safety first”, but their being overwhelmed by the vast majority of less cautious members.
    ugh. [too much coffee, ranting too much, I’ll be silent for now]

  17. wzrd1 says

    drbuzzsaw, I caught that one immediately. Likely because I spent five years in the Persian Gulf.
    I was also born in the early 1960’s, where a similar attitude was present in the US, when it came to traffic accidents.
    All of those god’s will events, their god is a real fucking asshole!

    Seriously, little junior wanted to keep his rifle in his room? OK, I have the bolt in the safe. It’ll be in good company, with the other rifle bolts I keep in there.

  18. ebotebo says

    What type of person would want or allow their five year old child to have a rifle, fit for their size, in their hands, loaded, and then turn their back???

    I believe I’ll go lay outside in my yard, it’s raining.

  19. wzrd1 says

    ebotebo, there is a highly technical term for such a person. They’re called assholes.
    Further evidence is when god’s will was touted, when the real cause was criminal negligence.

  20. Menyambal says

    Slithey Tove @ 24 is right. The NRA is now a front for the gun makers.

    Wzrd1 @ 26, I remember when drunk driving was just a thing that happened. It couldn’t be helped, and the accidents were nobody’s fault.

    As far as I am concerned, every gun should have a responsible owner. If a child uses that gun to shoot someone, the owner is held responsible. In this case, the parents thought they had it in a safe place, and obviously didn’t. They also had failed to teach the kid proper gun safety, perhaps because he was five. The parents are responsible in this case.

    If the parents realize they are totally unfit, and decide to abort their next pregnancy, there will be a lot more fuss, I bet.

  21. wzrd1 says

    As a hunter and competition shooter, I’m obviously a multiple firearm owner. Our children had access to my firearms on invitation only and from when they were toddlers, they were taught “all firearms are loaded until I show you that they are unloaded”.
    Today, in their 30’s, they still recite that line.
    When not being cleaned or on the way to or from the range or hunting, the firearms stayed locked up in a secure firearms container.
    So, I would love to know what thoughtlessness is behind the failure to prosecute criminal negligence that resulted in the harm of a minor child.

    For crying out loud, a locking firearm cabinet is $150.
    Firearms are a lot more expensive than that and children are priceless!
    My competition rifles are insanely expensive, in the several thousand dollar range, plus sights that are also obscenely expensive. It’s common sense to lock up expensive, dangerous things.

  22. says

    I remember to this day how at 3-4 year age I extricated excersising dumbbell about 1kg from under the bed and I tried to bash my sleeping dad to the head with it. I did not intend to hurt him (at least I remember it as such). I did not understand the concept. I was just curious about what happens. My father luckily awoke, looked with horror at me balancing the iron over my head and getting aim…

    Had I hit him in the head, it would have been a tragic and possibly deadly accident. But accident only, because no-one can forseee all potentially harmfull situations and avoid them succesfully, we can only try our best to reduce their probability, which my parents constantly did.

    However it is the height of irresponsibility to give a human with undeveloped brain acces to lethal weaponry. It goes right against the principle of trying to avoid harm and to reduce the probability of accidents.

    In any civilised country parents of this child would not be able to purchase that weapon in the first place, and if they did somehow and gave it to their child, being charged with negligence would be only one of their worries.

    US with their gun fondling culture and blind worship of ossified constitution beggars understanding.

  23. Sastra says

    I’d be a hell of a lot more impressed with someone saying something was “God’s will” if they could ever come up with any conceivable event they’d agree wasn’t God’s will. A child shooting his sister? God’s will. The holocaust? God’s will. Satan? God’s will. If there is no such thing as non-A, saying “this is A” is meaningless.

    Of course, that’s when they’re doing apologetics. For ordinary usage, government agents coming into their home while they’re away and confiscating their weapons sure as hell ain’t going to be dismissed as “God’s will, and we’ll all be better for it in the long run.”

  24. wzrd1 says

    Shastra, what you described government agents doing would be burglary and theft of private property without the authorization of a court of law.
    Indeed, burglary and grand theft in some cases.

    That said, in the case outlined in the posting, I’d have zero heartburn over a court of law ordering the confiscation of every firearm in that irresponsible adult’s home.
    But, that requires a court of law to find that there is a grave risk to a minor child, which did not happen, as there was no prosecution.

  25. A Masked Avenger says

    Ugh. Fuck everyone in that story.

    I’d particularly fault the lack of laws requiring proper storage of firearms, ammunition, etc., using safes and/or gun locks, preferably both.

    I took my son to the range when he was 5 or 6, and I gave him a Crickett which still has fond memories for him–AND I KEPT IT IN A FUCKING GUN SAFE. WITH AMMUNITION STORED ELSEWHERE. AND THE BOLT REMOVED. AND A GUN LOCK. And when we went to the range, I was there supervising at all times. Because what sort of moron hands a gun to a kid and says, “Now you go out and have yourself a good time”?

    I share this with some trepidation for the flames that may follow, but I’ve also taken him horseback riding at age 4, swimming in the ocean, and other activities any one of which carried a risk. (I was nearly killed in a horseback riding accident at age 3, as a matter of fact.) I took the proper precautions in each case, and my son enjoyed himself.

    As another side note: shooting a few targets never turned him into a gun nut. In fact he has zero interest in guns. His Crickett still lives in our safe because we’re both too nostalgic to get rid of it, but it lives there unused. I’m pleased and proud of him. We shot targets for fun, not because of some paranoid fantasy about fighting off martial law or a UN invasion.

    My neighbor, on the other hand, took his small children riding on his motorcycle. For that I’d like to have seen him arrested.

  26. rogerfirth says

    wzrd1 @ 31, I agree with everything you say except this:

    “all firearms are loaded until I show you that they are unloaded”.

    I lean toward all firearms are loaded until you have them completely in your control and you have demonstrated to yourself that they are unloaded. I can rack the slide on a gun, show you it’s empty, and hand it to you. But until you rack the slide yourself and verify there’s nothing there, treat the gun as loaded. And even then, keep the barrel pointed in a safe direction.

    My paranoia always steps up when I open the case, and it doesn’t go back down until the case is closed and locked. Given the amount of shooting I’ve done in my life, I know this has kept me alive.

    I love guns. I own a pretty good arsenal, several dating to the 1800’s, and I shoot several of them quite often. And they scare the sh** out of me every time. The gun nuts with their lax attitudes around guns and their almost sexual worship of the Second Amendment (“name another right you are required to have training and licensing to exercise”) are going to screw it up for everybody.

    Your five year old gets hold of your gun and kills your two year old? *You* are guilty of murder. Do not pass go. Go not collect $200. Full stop.

  27. numerobis says

    Sastra@34: it is VIOLENTLY AGAINST god’s will for gay people to love one another, or use contraception.

  28. Menyambal says

    The Second Amendment had nothing to do with individual gun ownership. It was about the militia, the nation’s defense at the time the Constitutionwas written, and the need to keep it well-practiced. The belief that it was all about citizens owning their own guns is not valid.

    If it did happen to pertain to gun ownership, there would still be a case for calling it outdated. If a child of the time found a gun of the time, he would have a hard time lifting it, a hard time cocking it, and some trouble pulling the trigger. And he certainly would not be able to make it fire twice. The bullet would be less powerful, too.

    Guns of that time were much more expensive, so much so that few owned more than one gun. Guns were larger, very hard to conceal. They were clumsy and slow to load. Even in war, in a well-regulated militia, they were on par with the cavalry – a horseman could get from out-of-range to sword-slashing before a gun could be reloaded. In a theater shooting, if one happened, walking sticks would be a good defense.

    I have seen arguments that modern guns are just like 1780s guns because they still have barrels and triggers. That is just as goofy as all the rest of the gun myth.

    Again, the Second Amendment was not about guns. If it was, it would be outdated by technology.

    The other belief, that it was intended to allow citizens to defend themselves against their government, is based on nothing. The government should be defending our children from the gun nuts.

    This child died for a false belief. If these folks believed that a Muslim had killed an American child, there would be hell to pay. If these folks believed that a liberal had “killed a baby” for her own sexual convenience, they would be breaking out the anti-abortion guns. But their beliefs are sacred.

  29. wzrd1 says

    rogerfirth, I’m never paranoid with a firearm, but I am an infamous “safety nazi” and nothing saves an idiot who commits an unsafe act.
    When I ran a range in the military, even commissioned officers would be dismissed from the range had they committed an unsafe act.

    As for the children, at the age I was speaking of, they’d be incapable of racking the slide of my M1911. So, I locked the slide back and we all visually confirmed that the chamber was empty.
    Our eldest finally asked to go firing, just before her 30th birthday. She loved the Ruger .22LR, hated the M1911. She did fairly well.

  30. wzrd1 says

    Menyambal, there is only one problem with your theory. Who was and remains the militia? It’s codified law.
    Able bodied males between the age of 18 and 45, plus females in the National Guard and veterans to age 61 are members of the unorganized militia. That’s how the selective service system operates, a mobilization of the unorganized militia.
    The National Guard is the organized militia.
    Historically, our militias had their asses handed to them in every conflict we had until quite recently, as in the wars Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s because the Army finally started enforcing standards and regulations. Even then, there were quality issues, as the Guard is a state militia, with officers commissioned by the state, rather than via Congressional commissions.

    Your theory that a child could not pick up a flintlock isn’t very accurate either, as handguns did exist back when the second amendment was penned and some were quite light.
    The weapons of the time were phenomenally lethal as well, legs and arms were ripped off during those volleys fired by the military. We’re talking about a lead ball three quarters of an inch in diameter.

    There was actual talk about citizens replacing their government, should it become some mythical tyranny, however with today’s weapons in common military usage, that notion is laughable. Guided missiles alone make that notion ludicrous, add in modern artillery, mortars, gunships, bombers, MLRS, etc, it’s an absurd notion.
    But, you forget also that people hunted wild game in that era and now.

    That all said, there is no Constitutional barrier to requiring firearms be safely stored. The military locks their weapons in an arms room, with locked arms racks and some units even remove the bolt carrier/bolt from the weapons, storing them in a locker.

  31. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    I can’t, even for a second, imagine buying my 5-yr old nephew a Nerf gun. The first thing he’s going to do with it is point it at someone’s face, regardless of what anyone says to him.. Who the fuck would ever consider putting a real gun in the hands of a 5-yr old?

  32. treefrogdundee says

    Dear humans,

    If your deity spends His/Her time mapping out a calendar of when people will meet an early and/or horrific death through preventable disease, religiously-inspired murder, or accidental shooting (by a sibling no less, scarring them for life in the spirit of ‘two birds with one stone’)… YOU ARE WORSHIPING A PSYCHOPATH! Get over yourselves already.

  33. wzrd1 says

    Dave, while I did consider buying firearms for our children at that age, they’d never have been permitted to handle them without supervision and no bolt. They’d never be permitted to use them until age 7, at the earliest.
    Even then, I’d be the most “safety nazi from hell” SOB ever born with them. Indeed, when our eldest, nearing age 30, wanted finally to actually go to a range with me (her suggestion, apparently, it was a bucket list before reaching age 30 for her), she asked to go to a range.
    I brought my favorite Ruger .22LR pistol and my M1911. She didn’t enjoy the recoil and noise from the M1911, she loved the Ruger, but refused to consider owning a firearm, as she confessed to “anger management issues”.
    Considering her now ended marriage, yeah, I get it and wouldn’t have given her a sharp object, let alone a firearm. It was that unfortunate, a drug using husband, physical abuse of children when intoxicated and lies.
    Indeed, I handed my keys to the firearms container to my wife, I was so agitated.
    But then, I work in a field where no one is trusted, not even oneself. :)

    As our eldest grandchild is 5 years old now, our youngest, two, yeah, it ain’t gonna happen. If I get around to buying firearms, 1300 miles away, they’ll stay locked up until they’re at least 7 and I’m assured by personal evaluation that they’re mature enough to hold a tiny bit of death in their hands safely. That, after drilling the dogshit into them on all matters safety. Until it’s instinctive in response and behavior.
    Then, I’ll consider letting the launcher of lead, thunder, fire and brimstone into their hands, while I hold the only round.
    Precision fire drills would also be first, before the first live fire.
    One fuck-up, the kid’s toast on the range for five years.
    Anyone only can be killed once and that’s twice too many.
    I did mention safety mania, yes? :)

  34. Matthew Trevor says

    wzrd1 @ #8:

    Now, explain to me why I shouldn’t wrap the barrel around your empty head

    Any chance you could tone down the “hard man” rhetoric? We get it, people shouldn’t mess with you, you’ve made sure to establish that across a number of threads now.

  35. leftcoast says

    The original article is a couple of years old – I remembered it because of the grandmothers response. Doesn’t lessen the horror.

    Matthew: given the stakes involved in handing someone a loaded weapon that’s a perfectly rational response.

  36. says

    I am 59 and lived with hunters in my family. The shot guns were in my Dad’s closet and the shells somewhere else. I knew not to touch them and my sib’s and I never did. Why anyone would give a child any sort of gun is beyond me and should be shot themselves. I am sorry it is just BS. We are the most violent country in the world not that our “supposed” leaders would admit that but it is true. I am so tired of the BS but happy that I know the whole country has not lost it’s mind by reading this blog.

  37. A Masked Avenger says

    Yes, luckily there are a few who have not lost their minds as a result of reading this blog.

  38. zetopan says

    It is pretty easy to see why the parents are so marvelously incompetent about their children and gun safety, just based on the grandmother’s empty headed statements.

  39. wzrd1 says

    Matthew, you do realize the impossibility of actually bending a firearm barrel to conform to a skull?
    It’s right up in impossibility with hitting someone with a Buick.
    That is less probable than my walking on water, however when I walked on water, it was really, really cold outside. ;)

  40. Saad says

    wzrd1, #53

    I don’t think it was this specific method of physical assault Matthew was talking about.