When kids shoot: The need for at-home gun safety

It seems the media, once again, is falling over themselves to push stories around the country of kids finding guns in the house and discharging them, injuring and sometimes killing other family members.  We have all heard of the 5-year old Kentucky boy who accidentally shot and killed his 2-year old sister.  Some may have heard the story of the 7-year old who accidentally shot himself in the head.  More stories are out there.

The moral of all these stories should, of course, be simple.  Guns are a right, but they should be treated like a responsibility. Gun safety is paramount for responsible gun ownership, and the importance grows 10-fold when kids are in the house.  Gun safety does not mean avoid the issue altogether and simply hope your kids never find your guns.  In fact, this is arguably irresponsible.

Instead, confront the issue.  If you have guns and kids in your house, show them your unloaded guns, and make sure the television and any other distraction is eliminated during this talk.  Teach them that guns can be dangerous if used improperly.  Show them that if they ever find a gun, you never, ever touch it or pick it up.  Do this often, monthly if you feel you have to.  Reinforce to your kids that guns have a purpose, and they are not toys.  The last thing you want, as a parent, is for your child to run across a gun and not know what it is.  Kids are curious…

Of course, never leave your kids unsupervised with guns, even if they are unloaded.  Once again, this reinforces to the child that responsible adults always need to be present when guns are available … always.  There are no exceptions to the rule, ever.  Loaded, unloaded, disassembled, whatever.  The only thing that stands between your child and a devastating mistake…is you.

Your kids are not entitled to my money, job or quality of life

Let’s be frank: your kids are not entitled to a good job.  They are not entitled to a college education, a big house, a steady income or a stress-free life.  They also are not entitled to my money (or anyone else’s) or supposedly “free” healthcare, a free lunch or free car.  Your kids are not entitled to anything.

Well, except to one thing: the opportunity to work hard, stay motivated and build themselves a quality of life that they can be proud of.  This means tearing their faces away from their cell phones, computers and video game consoles long enough for them to observe and embrace reality as we know it.  For good or for bad, this is the world that we live in, and the sooner our children come to grips with that, the sooner they will become productive members of society.

According to a continuous yearly survey among our nation’s young people, our kids feel more entitled, more superior, more “great” than ever.  Why?  Perhaps because social media outlets provide kids with an area in which to build themselves up into something they aren’t.  The number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers is worn like a badge of honor, and the term “follow” alone makes it appear as if people are worth following.  What a wonderful sense of greatness that must create for our nation’s youngsters.  Heck, adults too.  People want to follow me!

Or, maybe it is due to the dumbing down of our nation’s education curriculum or teaching directly to statewide standardized tests.  Are our kids really learning, or is our nation simply pushing our youngsters through the educational process as fast as it can?

Although test scores are below what they once were, students feel they are superior to their classmates of yesteryear in subjects like math and writing.  Why?  What makes our kids feel they are superior to anyone?  The answer is simple: our entitlement culture.  Give a trophy to a little league team that came in last place, and there’s no wonder our nation’s kids feel they can do no wrong.  Rewards come in all shapes and sizes, and very rarely do those who receive those rewards actually pay for them.

“Producers must outnumber consumers or societies collapse. Eventually, the money runs out.”

Worse, we have an elite political class that spends their entire career convincing our population that they are entitled to something.  Lost a job?  No, problem, you’re entitled to taxpayer money until you find another one.  Living in “poverty”?  No problem, the taxpayers are here to help you through monthly welfare checks.  Retired?  Again, no problem, taxpayers will fund your Social Security payments long after you’ve already exhausted your lifelong contributions.  No problem, the taxpayers are here.

The truth of the matter is our society cannot function unless it maintains a large population of productive contributors to the economy, those who build businesses and employ people, those who research new medications to cure our ails and those who plan, build and maintain our city infrastructures so when you flush your toilet at home, it’s no longer your “business”.  Producers must outnumber consumers or societies collapse.  Eventually, the money runs out.

As our government continues to ask our country’s entrepreneurs to shoulder the majority of the burden of funding these entitlements, the incentive to do business shrinks.  Business creates wealth, not government.  If Washington D.C. creates a culture where businesses no longer flourish in this country, wealth creation slows, companies stop hiring and – yes – government revenue sinks.  The effect is felt everywhere.  California, for example, is experiencing an exodus of the state’s more wealthy residents because of excessive taxation.  As a Wall Street Journal article so aptly put it, if you soak the rich, you lose the rich.  And who creates jobs in this country?

Parents need to teach their children that our society only works when people make it work.  Societies fail when too many people believe they are entitled to the fruits of someone else’s labor.  Ask virtually any 3rd grader what they want to be when they grow up, and I bet none of them say a “deadbeat”.

Unfortunately, that desire is learned.