It could have happened anywhere but this time it happened in Florida: a boy pointed a loaded gun at his brother’s head, pulled the trigger and was surprised when the gun went off. According to a story in the St. Petersburg Times, 17-year-old Dustin Ford’s sentence is to complete a program of therapy, school and work at a faith-based camp called San Antonio Boys Village.
For the accidental death of his younger brother, Dustin Ford will spend seven months at a boy’s camp. Meanwhile, millions of American boys will attend schools where guns are taboo and gun safety, by association with that taboo, is completely ignored.
Where is “gun safety’ in this program? In a country that allows families to keep guns, kids should be taught to respect them. When I was a kid too small to fire a 12-gauge shotgun, I was big enough to know that you don’t play with loaded weapons and you don’t point guns at anyone you don’t mean to shoot. Dustin Ford would not have accidentally shot and killed his brother if he had known the first rule of gun safety: ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
[Editor’s note: Always assume a gun is loaded until you have cleared it yourself. Always point the gun in a safe direction. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire. And remember, even if you have no guns in your house, your children’s friends might, and still need to know what to do if they see a gun.]