Just days after President Barack Obama spoke before the United States with a plea for stricter gun laws, as reported by NPR, an 8-year-old girl is dead as a result of a shotgun blast to the chest, delivered by an 11-year-old neighbor, over an altercation involving puppies.
The boy, who remains unidentified, is alleged to have fatally shot Maykayla Dyer, reportedly because she wouldn’t let him see her puppies. She died shortly after the alleged incident took place.
“We remember her smile and her beautiful face and her interaction with her classmates and all of us as a staff,” the principal of White Pine School, Bill Walker, where the 8-year-old attended classes, stated to USA Today.
In his plea to the United States for gun reform, President Obama asked the press for a chart comparing the number of gun deaths in the United States to the number of deaths related to terrorism each year. CNN published the chart on October 2. A version of the chart using the same data is presented below, with the addition of a comparison with annual gun deaths in the United Kingdom. In 2013, there were 33,636 shootings in the United States and 21 deaths related to terrorism. By comparison, though data does not appear to be available for 2013, there were 165 and 146 gun deaths in the United Kingdom in 2010 and 2011 respectively, according to the University of Sydney.
The United States has a population of 322.6 million and the United Kingdom has a population of 63.5 million, according to World Meters. To attempt to make some sense of the gun death statistics above, if the United Kingdom — which has notoriously strict gun laws, and only 146 gun deaths in 2011 compared with 32,351 in the United States the same year, owing to its smaller population and in an effort to make a fair comparison — had experienced 6,268 gun deaths in 2011, they would have occurred at a similar rate to what the United States experienced. But the United Kingdom only experienced 146.
One-hundred-forty-six versus 6,268. That is the telling comparison. An over 4,000 percent greater incidence of gun fatalities. One country has strict gun control laws, while the other upholds the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and takes a seemingly laissez-faire approach.
Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin, who, by all accounts, handled the recent shootings at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College with complete professionalism, has shared posts on Facebook indicating a belief that the tragic shootings in Sandy Hook were somehow a result of a conspiracy to take away the Second Amendment, as reported by the Inquisitr.
While the debate continues, little girls like Maykayla Dyer will continue to lose their lives, and little boys, like the 11-year-old boy who shot her, will continue to lose their innocence. Certainly, this child deserves punishment, but what of the country, which allows deaths to occur at over 4,000 times the rate of the next most comparable civilized country, that put the shotgun in his hands? What of both Maykayla Dyer’s and the boy’s parents, relatives, neighbors, and friends who are now missing two of the most valuable things the a community like the United States possesses; an innocent child’s life and another innocent child’s innocence.
Of course, a shotgun is a long gun and of course a majority of long guns owners are responsible hunters who keep weapons safely locked and out of reach of children. No information on how the gun was stored in White Pine appears to be available. And hunting is permitted in the U.K., though it is strictly regulated. However, couldn’t an 11-year-old figure out a way to get into a gun cabinet? Can an 11-year-old truly be trusted with a firearm? If the gun that was used to kill Maykayla Dyer had not been present, whether locked away safely or carelessly left so that an 11-year-old could easily access it, she would still be alive today. And the boy would still have his teen years to look forward to. What if the gun was kept for protection from wildlife or intruders? What if Maykayla Dyer has been maced with bear spray rather than shot with a shotgun? She would be a very unhappy, but alive, little girl. The 11-year-old shooter would be in serious trouble, but not facing murder charges.
[President Obama Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool / Getty Images — White Pine Screenshots Courtesy New Worldwide / YouTube]