What makes a tragedy truly tragic, is when it could have been easily avoided.
But for the ignorance and stupidity of a 20 year old, a 16 year old hero lost her life in Indiana.
Three years ago Aubrey Peters, at the age of 13, jumped into an icy reservoir and saved the lives of 2 small children.
Yesterday she was shot in the chest and died, killed by a man who should have known better than to play with a gun as if it were a toy.
20 year old Jacob Travis McDaniel has been charged with 2 felonies, reckless homicide and pointing a firearm. I personally hope he gets sentenced to the fullest extent of the law because even though he didn’t intend to shoot Aubrey his idiocy and ignorance cost a young girl her life.
While Peters along with a group of friends were hanging out at McDaniel’s house, Jacob retrieved a handgun and started playing with it as if it was some stupid show and tell game. McDaniel then tried to have Aubrey hold the gun, most likely to take a picture and post it on some inane social media site, but Aubrey, being taught that guns were not toys rightly refused.
At which time, McDaniel points the gun at Aubrey thinking the it is unloaded to mock her for being afraid for no reason. He then pulls the trigger, shooting her once in the chest.
A witness, Dajuan Williams, tells officers that McDaniel then compounds his crime by trying to convince the other people present to say the gun fell off the table and went off accidentally.
Jacob Travis McDaniel is a scumbag. Guns are not toys in which you wave around trying to be cool and showing off to 16 year old girls. And when a negligent discharge occurs that kills someone you don’t try to weasel your way out of responsibility by trying to cover it up.
Now, legally I hold McDaniel fully culpable but in a broader sense I blame his parents.
As a child McDaniel obviously wasn’t properly instructed on how to treat and respect firearms. I, and everyone I know who owns a gun would NEVER point one at another person we weren’t intending to destroy. Nor would we pick up a gun and assume it was unloaded. That would be like jumping into the tiger pit at the zoo assuming the animal is tame and won’t eat you. It very well might not eat you, but if you are wrong it’ll probably cost a life.
This is where parents have to have a real and honest conversation with their children about guns. Gun owners, by and large “get it” and instill in their children Colonel Jeff Coopers 4 rules of gun safety:
If McDaniel’s parents drilled these rules in their son’s head than the death of Aubrey Peters would have been averted because McDaniel’s violated rules 1 through 3 and a young girl paid for it with her life.
Now, are there gun owners who don’t teach their children correctly to have a healthy respect for firearms? Yes. Just like there are alcoholics who drive drunk and their children grow up thinking that is all right.
It’s a shame because gun owners should know better. But then you have the gun ignorant and the gun haters.
The gun ignorant don’t have anything against guns they just don’t know about them and don’t own them. They need to teach their children about the 4 rules of safety as well for two reasons. First, they may find themselves in a situation like Aubrey was in and maybe they take the gun when it was offered out of ignorance and then find themselves on the supply side of this tragedy. Secondly, they may grow up and want to exercise their right to keep and bear arms and it would help if their parents taught them the foundation of how to be safe.
Then you have the gun haters. Those who hate everything the 2nd Amendment represents. It is important that they have a dialogue that is real and accurate with their children other than the trumped up rhetoric of gun control mouth foamers. Because, as a parent, if you just forbid any conversation about guns beyond “guns are evil, guns are bad” etc your children may actively rebel against you in the way that children do. They may become MORE interested in playing with a gun that they find over someone else’s house because you have put a mystic cloud over the inanimate and that too can lead to tragedy.
All in all, wherever you are on the gun spectrum, pro/neutral/anti, you must at least teach your children how to properly respect firearms and the rules of being safe when around them.
Teach them right when they are children and it will build the foundation for when they are grown. If you do so it may not only be your child’s life that you save.
Yet, even if his parents failed in teaching him about gun safety, McDaniel still needs to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. For both his reckless actions AND the cowardly cover up attempt.
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