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One to watch: Four-year-olds

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This is totally anecdotal. It is completely unscientific. And the margin of error is somewhere in the stratosphere.

That being said, my survey of gun crimes that made the headlines in the U.S. in the past seven days led me to this startling conclusion: Guns don't kill people. Four-year-old kids do. In Nashville, Tenn., a four-year-old boy grabbed a loaded gun at a family cookout last Saturday and accidentally killed the wife of a sheriff's deputy. A few days later in Toms River, N.J., during a play date, a four-year-old grabbed a loaded .22-calibre rifle and accidentally shot a six-year-old boy in the head.

At the same time, there may have been dozens -- nay, thousands -- of incidents of courageous gun owners defending their admiring and grateful loved ones from certain death at the hands of the circling barbarians. But if there were, they didn't make the national headlines. There was an incident in Maypearl, Texas, a couple of weeks earlier, in which a woman spotted two men trying to break into her home. There was such clear and present danger, she called her husband (not the police, curiously), who came home, retrieved the family gun and engaged in a shootout with the two B & E artists. After he wounded one of them, the invaders apparently killed themselves, Texas lawmen said.

I don't know what conclusions to draw from that. Maybe you can try.

And in December, this time in Springtown, Texas, a suspected burglar called 911 to ask for help after an armed homeowner and his son pointed guns at him as he sat in his pickup truck parked in their driveway.

The gun-totin' homeowner's wife also called 911. "You better come quick," she said, "or my husband is going to shoot him."

What do we take from that incident? Sorry, I am drawing a blank.

Meanwhile, be wary of any four-year-olds you might see lurking about. If you absolutely have to keep loaded guns on hand at all times, you might want to lock those tykes up.

-- David Connors

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 13, 2013 J12

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