I am sure that almost everyone in the US has heard about the bizarre case where a nine-year old child at a shooting range was allowed to fire a Uzi submachine gun in the fully automatic mode (where a single pull on the trigger will allow the gun to fire repeatedly until the trigger is released) and ended up killing the instructor who was supervising her.
High-powered weapons have strong recoil and it is hard enough for an adult to control them. For parents to allow a small child to handle such a weapon shows how absurd the gun-fetish in the US has become where even common-sense restrictions are considered controversial. As satirist Andy Borowitz says:
Across the United States on Wednesday, a heated national debate began on the extremely complex issue of children firing military weapons.
“Every now and then, the nation debates an issue that is so complicated and tricky it defies easy answers,” says pollster Davis Logsdon. “Letting small children fire automatic weapons is such an issue.”
Logsdon says that the thorny controversy is reminiscent of another ongoing national debate, about whether it is a good idea to load a car with dynamite and drive it into a tree.
What struck me about this story was a bit where the owner of the shooting range explained why the child wanted to fire such a weapon.
“This was a very mature young lady, and something she wanted to do … It was something high on her bucket list to do.”
A ‘bucket list’ is supposedly a list of things that one wants to do before one dies. Although I hate that term for reasons that I cannot quite put my finger on, I can understand it being applied to the wishes of old people who feel they are running out of time. Why would a nine-year old have such a sense of imminent mortality that she would create a bucket list?