Tobold's Blog
Monday, October 27, 2008
Can't comprehend that cultural difference

Disclaimer: You might want to skip this post, it isn't about games.

I just read the news about the 8-year old who killed himself with an Uzi. That is tragic. The point where my comprehension stops is when the event was declared to be an "accident", and as "all legal and fun". So minors firing an Uzi is legal and fun, but if a minor wanted to drink a beer he would have to wait until he was 21? I think somewhere there is a confusion about the relative lethality of machine guns and beer. Nothing against hunting as a sport, but I don't think you hunt deer with an Uzi. Can anyone explain why children should be allowed to play with real machine guns?
You just opened a can of worms...
Possible, but maybe even some of the pro-gun people would agree that that keeping a machine gun out of the hands of an 8-year old is not infringing his constitutional right to bear arms.
Pardon my being flippant (and I apologize if I offend any of you), but... Darwinism at work.
Remember, People don't kill people -- people with guns kill people!
Supervised shooting is fine, but care must be taken to ensure the child or young adult is strong enough to both hold and fire the gun, in a secure manner. Sadly, this tragedy has cost a young person their life and will further poison the public against private gun ownership.

BTW, I predict a hundred replies before this thread winds down )

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Hardly Darwinism at work. He was with a certified instructor, doing as he was told. The instructor should have known that the kick from the Uzi is probably too much for an 8 year old to control. The instructor was dumb, not the kid.
"The instructor was dumb, not the kid."

You forgot the

The kids parents were dumb, not the kid.
This is the typical european point of view, which I know very good since I am german - and I generally do support it.
However, the comparison of guns and beer is not valid. You can become addiced to alcohol, but certainly not addicted to firing uzis.
Look at cigarettes, to see how hard it is to get away from an addiction you got, while growing up.

As long as there is a supervisor I do not even see a problem with allowing children to fire guns in a very controlled environment. This seems like an accident to me that might very well be used in the news to increase revenue (That is, if it can overcome the so called 'world wide financial crisis').

I do think that there is no reason to allow everybody to store weapons in their bedkroom, but this incident has nothing to do with that it seems.
It is a tragic event with a side of possible negligence. This kind of tragedy can happen with anything.
I'm sick of gangbangers missing their intended target, and hitting innocent people. Gangbangers usually start at 15 or so. So training an 8 year old the right firing techniques in a drive-by is valid.

Seriously though, I hope the parents, and instructor face jail time. The lack of common sense should be illegal. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
These type of events (and there aren't many of them) allow civilians to pay a small fee for the opportunity to fire a machine gun. Supervision is suppose to be extremely tight, but that obviously wasn't the case here. My own opinion is that the business should lose it's license to hold future events and that the father should be charged with reckless endangerment of a child (or whatever else the DA can come up with).
This is pretty horrifying. I grew up going to a gun shows occasionally as a kid, but never attended events where children (or adults for that matter) were allowed to fire automatic submachine guns for fun.

That said, the "gun clubs" I encountered were always extremely strict when it came to gun safety. And I was never allowed to fire a weapon outside of an enclosed gun range unless it was in extreme wilderness. My father was also very conscious of whether I could handle the "kick" of a particular weapon.

Sounds to me like this was a terrible accident, though hardly "fun." Though I grew up with guns and respect those who choose to own them, I do not own any as an adult. Additionally, I don't think Uzis or the like have any place in our society outside of military or police supervision. Handguns or rifles are fine, but why does the average citizen need to fire 600 rounds per minute?

Also - respectfully Tobold, I don't see what underage drinking has to do with this issue.
Unfortunately the price for freedom is high. If parents and community (the gun show in this case) are negligent, that doesn't mean the government needs to make a law preventing it. Although the adults involved should be held responsible even though it the activity wasn't illegal. It's may not be illegal to watch a kid play in traffic, but parents should still be held responsible if the child dies while the parent watches them do it under supervision of a trained "traffic runner" (I hope I made that up...)
For what it's worth. Owning a machine gun in the US is almost impossibly difficult to do unless you have a lot of money or you are good friends with the local police chief. No new machine guns are allowed to enter the market and the few thousand still in circulation require permission (in writing) from local law enforcement and a small fortune to actually afford one, since they are so extremely rare.
An uzi is an odd choice. With a longer gun it would be a bit more difficult to shoot yourself.
Unfortunately, making it illegal for 8 year olds to fire machine guns would raise the ire of the folks who think any regulation of weapons infringes upon their "right to bear arms". Allowing small children to fire weapons they can't handle is stupid, plain and simple. You can't even ride the teacups at Disney World unless you are a certain size -- whoever set this event up should be held accountable.

I learned to shoot when I was 10 years old -- with a .22 rifle. I'm not anti-gun, but I am pro-common sense. I feel for the parents even though I am assuming that at least one of them was present at this "fun and legal" event and gave their permission for their son to fire a machine gun. I see stories all the time on the "news" about children who learn to fly when they are 6 or climb mountains when they are 10. Children want to do everything -- it's up to the grown-ups to say "No -- you have to wait until you are older." What a senseless tragedy.
Esri: The parents should be responsible, not the government. I don't think the federal government mandates ride safety either. I'm not sure if it is even the local gov that does, or is it just Disney and common sense (read: liability).
The event itself (which is a supervised gun show, which you fail to mention) is technically 'legal and fun'. You can't own an Uzi, but there are no laws against supervised handling of someone else's weapon, just as there are no laws against allowing your children to try a beer in your own home. Those same parents that allowed their child to handle the gun could just as easily have allowed him to drink beer, so your comparison is completely pointless.

However, this was tragic and stupid. Gun shows should NOT be allowed to let children handle dangerous and hard to control firearms, there just aren't many regulations on what can and can't be done in supervised 'demonstrations'. The 'certified' instructor that was supposed to be supervising the child clearly failed in his/her duty, and should probably be charged with gross criminal negligence. Thinking an little kid could control the recoil of an automatic weapon and allowing him to fire unassisted was pure idiocy. The parents are also guilty of child endangerment - obviously a bit late.

I'm not pro-gun by the way, I don't think the 2nd amendment refers to the right of individuals to arm themselves at all times in whatever way they see fit, and I would love to see more restrictions on gun ownership. But, if you REALLY want to compare legality of guns and alcohol - what kills more people in the U.S. every year? Gun accidents, or drunk drivers?

I, and most people I know, fired guns as a kid. I did it in Boy Scouts with 22 rifles. I have some friends that fired handguns at a range. At all times safety is #1, and have never known anyone to get hurt. In fact, most people I know that have guns take their kids to the range to teach them gun safety and use. It's far safer to demystify them and have your child understand how to use a gun and how to handle them safely, than try to lock them and have your kid, as they always do, try to find them to play with them because you made it into some mysterious secret that children cannot resist.

I have no comment on the uzi vs anything else.
legal and fun? children aren't allowed to have gun licenses, last I checked. Especially not military grade weapons.
This was definitely a tragedy, and clearly letting an 8 year old child fire an Uzi in automatic fire mode was gross negligence. I'm sure the courts will eventually rule that way, which of course won't make anything better; rather, my point is that it's not like Americans in general look at this activity and think it's a great idea. As others have said, you essentially can't own an automatic weapon as a private citizen, and I don't know anyone who does - and I live in Texas. ;)

On the other hand, like several other posters here I was taught how to shoot a .22 rifle from a young age, by my father, and we always practiced great caution and safety. When I got older, I gave up hunting because I didn't enjoy it and thought it was kind of an unsporting competition between myself and an animal who doesn't know he's playing.

For those with the "European view" like Nils - I have a gun in my home for the sole purpose of defending myself in the event that someone with violent intent breaks in while I am there, because it does happen, and I know people to whom it has happened. If it were to happen with me and my family, I would rather have the option of defending myeslf and my family rather than be murdered. That is the only reason I have a gun, period. Hopefully that day will never come, and in the meantime, the gun is gathering dust and presenting no threat to anyone.
I say, so what?! There is no common sense in a country where States forbid to teach school kids about evolution and sexuality, but allow private gun ownership. If a gun has no sticker on it "Careful, can kill people", there will be people who claim "nobody told me" after they shot someone "by accident".
Can anyone explain why children should be allowed to play with real machine guns?
Time to be the Devil's Advocate.. Allowed by whom? The parents? The instructor? The government?

If it's the parents, then the answer is that not all parents are the same. Some do teach their kids responsibly and some don't. And sometimes it's really hard to tell the difference. And of course, with guns the margin of error is zero.

If it's the instructor, then the answer is that not all kids are the same. Some can handle guns and some don't. However, I do blame him for not checking which category this kid belonged to. The customer is not always right.

If it's the government, then we run into a philosophical problem: Should the government protect people from themselves? And who is ultimately responsible for children, who by definition cannot take care of themselves?
While the whole thing is tragic I find it difficult to disagree with being able to defend your home by whatever means, in england if someone breaks into your house and you attack them you are the one that gets arrested, or if your dog bites them it gets put to sleep. Seems just as bizarre as allowing a child to fire a weapon it obviously wouldn't be able to handle to me.
My knee-jerk reaction is to want the parents punished, but the loss of their child seems like a pretty damn big punishment already.

The thing is what is someone else had been injured or killed?

If I were judge and jury, I would want the parents to be banned from the privilege of owning any firearms and be banned from future gun shows... if such a thing were possible.

The thing is, what if someone else had been injured or killed?
Ya think that is bad? I can't even complete my dailys because people keep turning me into a zombie. WTF BLIZZ!?
I think it might be this company, though I'm not positive.
Johnny, if what you say is true, then England is just as F'd up as the US when it comes to common sense. If an intruder breaks into your home, you should have the right to subdue them using any means necessary. Charging a home owner with murder for killing a theif in the night is insane. What about a woman who defends herself during a rape? Is she then tried for assualt?

I think that while this story is tragic, it could have easily been averted with a little common sense and supervision from the adults present. If the kid couldn't handle firing the Uzi in small semi-automatic bursts, then he should never have been allowed to toggle over to fully auto. If he chose to fire in fully auto after being told to not touch the switch, then I'm going to have to agree with the poster who gave him the Darwin award.
The Instructor, unfortunately, will probably face jail time. The parents, unfortunately, will probably get rich off the resulting lawsuits that they will win against anybody and everybody. The parents should be in jail before anyone else.

Who in their right mind lets an 8 year old shoot an Uzi? Want to let your kid shoot a gun? Fine, give him a small .22 cal and take him somewhere safe and teach him to shoot. If he wants to shoot a machine gun get him a video game for christ's sake.
Eh.. The UK isnt that bad, its just certain high profile cases (which have set a precendent AGAINST being convicted) that have clouded peoples mindsets. Im personally of the opinion that guns should belong to the people who are meant to use them - and definately not for the purpose of "shows" which are entertainment, and certainly not in the homes of everyday people unless they go through a long and annoying process of training, evaluation and lovely legal business. Its not a coincedence countries with the highest levels of homicide and gun crime hand out guns with minimal or lacking gun control.

The constitution for the United States does need a look at, afterall - I can assure you, as a Brit, that the King (which we dont have) has no intention of barging into your home and declaring it sovereign territory of the british empire.. although the queen might :D. Just kidding - I am aware that what works in some places may not work in others, however, I dont think that should stop the right people looking into making what is - a machine designed to kill - more difficult to acquire and more strictly monitored.
it gets worse mate, it's not uncommon for burglers to sue the house owner for stopping them in their profession (stealing, wtf???!!!)

you'll find bizarre laws on the same level as this all over western europe, I swear the guys who make them are hopped up on opiates when they pass them
It was a huge lapse of judgement on the part of the instructor letting a 8 year old try out an Uzi. I'm sure the police investigation will end up with charges for the instructor and probably the parents. This case deffinitely belongs in the category of reckless endangerment.

I haven't fired a gun in years, but I did have some early experience with rifles/shotguns because of the Boy Scouts. I think being familiar with firearm safety is an important skill and something that would be appropiate for a teenager. Putting an 8 year old boy behind a Uzi though is on par with having one drive a tractor trailer down a freeway in rush hour.
"just as there are no laws against allowing your children to try a beer in your own home."

Uhhhhh yes there is. Not only is that against the law its grounds for you to lose your kids.
It seems like a terrible accident.

As for alcohol vs. guns, drunk drivers kill like 50 people every day, where legal submachine guns have killed ... one person?
I can understand the right to hand-guns for protection and shotguns or rifles for hunting, but machine guns? Come on...
No one has the "right" to own machine guns. Most, if not all, machine guns are strictly illegal here in the U.S.. Unfortunately, people die doing silly stuff all the time. I blame the instructor and the parents for this child's death. My father was a gunsmith my entire life and taught both my sister and I how to handle firearms safely and responsibly. I was able to shoot almost any weapon by the time I was 12 which included compound bows. My uncle, lovable moron that he is, shot himself with a broadheaded arrow falling out of his deer stand. It was an accident and freak occurence. Ok, maybe not THAT freak for that uncle but it still doesn't mean he should have his bow taken away.
Guns, and people that own them, are stupid.

Anyone saying otherwise, or claiming it's a constitutional right to do so is retarded. I'm sorry to come off like an outright asshole here, but seriously... if you want to kill someone (or something), do it with your bare hands and teeth, or GTFO. I think the murder rate would drop if the convenience was removed. It wouldn't disappear entirely, but it would certainly at least make you appreciate the life you're choking out of someone if they're gasping for breath less than a meter from yourself.

This is one of the main reasons I moved to Japan. Not because Japan is so wonderful, but because in America, everyone feels the need to stare you down or try and be a tough guy 8 days a week. I used to live in Oakland, CA, and have had guns pulled on me, and heard gunshots outside my window at night. Japan has it's own problems, but the threat of being randomly shot while going to get a loaf of bread has happily been scratched off my list of possibilities for the day.

Humanity will NEVER progress as long as people are seriously defending an 8 year old's right to fire a fucking UZI. A child that age has NO reason to have a loaded machine gun in their hands. Period.
sorry for the double post, but i missed this glorious logic:

As for alcohol vs. guns, drunk drivers kill like 50 people every day, where legal submachine guns have killed ... one person?

because drinking and driving is legal, right?
Guns, and people that own them, are stupid.

Anyone saying otherwise, or claiming it's a constitutional right to do so is retarded. I'm sorry to come off like an outright asshole here

Don't worry, you don't come off like an asshole...
So - porn bad, alcohol bad, drugs bad, communism bad, sex bad, evolution bad....

Extremely efficient sub machine gun in the hands of an 8 year old = defensible?

Those that go on about proximity of guns to violence - Remember that Canada has just as many guns (I think) but has far less gun related violence...

Also you can get addicted to firing weapons - the tug on the shoulder of a .303, the shower of casings, the pure feeling of power as you rip the target a new one... Its better than drugs man :)

I agree with blame the parents too, revoke their license to have children :)
You got your Politically Correct chocolate in my Politically Incorrect peanut butter, Tobold. But for some reason I have a strange suspicion that you're not out to build the ultimate Reese's Cup with this type post, especially just days before a major election.

Segue, proceed.
rhetoric aside - accidents happen when you fail to respect something dangerous. An automatic weapon is dangerous. A fast car on a slick road is dangerous. People forgot that fact when they let an 8-year-old handle a weapon of this nature. This is a reminder - snakes bite and bullets kill. So folks can spew on about gun laws and parents going to jail and instructors going to jail and still miss the point. It was a lack of respect that caused this to happen. Whether it's a gun or too much alcohol or a creative interpretation on where you might find weapons of mass-destruction - a lack of respect and understanding will kill you and those you love pretty damn fast.
The kid who shot himself was actually from my state, CT. Everyone is talkng about this. Everyone seems to aggre that and eight year old shouldn't fire, or even hold a loaded machine gun. Everyone is looking for someone to blame. Blame the father? Blame the instructor? Blame the company hosting the even as it was labled as "Fun for the whole family".

IMHO every "Gun enthusiest" I've ever met is a freakin' whack job. They just don't seem get it. They think guns are a hobby, and they will defend their right to own gun as if it was a religion. In a world where there are much better forms of personal protection why would people even bother with a gun?

Anyways I saw the dad on the news talking about it and he had no emotion what so ever, either the guy doesn't care or he is having trouble coping. I know if that happened to me I wouldn't be talking to the news, I'd be too busy crying. In the end I feel sorry for the family really.
So children should be allowed to have a beer while they shoot their guns? I'm confused about your point. Should guns be banned because a child had an accident? Or should guns be outlawed because Uzi's are impractical for hunting?

America is not Europe. Please understand that...too many Americans are forgetting that these days. I'm sorry this child was killed in an accident, but accidents do happen. The fact that a firearm was involved as opposed to a vehicle or a tool isn't that important.

And the 2nd Amendment isn't there to defend hunting. That's why Americans have the freedom to purchase all times of firearms. And while you might be able to fire a few rounds from an AUTOMATIC weapon at a range with the proper permits, you cannot buy an AUTOMATIC weapon. A SEMIAUTOMATIC Uzi is a rather large and cumbersome weapon.

Americans trust their neighbors with guns. Europeans trust their children with booze. Congrats!
Hey Preston - it's funny you should mention that, since most of the MMO enthusiast I've met are freakin' whack jobs as well...Perspective's a bitch when it comes to what each of us likes to do in our free time.

I'm just saying ;)
"Americans trust their neighbors with guns. Europeans trust their children with booze. Congrats!"

No argument here. I think is perfectly reasonable that a 18 year old can join the army and get killed for his country but can't buy a beer. In that same vein, I think is very logical to compare 8 year olds handling submachine guns to 18 year olds in Europe having a beer. Because in most european countries you can't sell alcohol to minors, and you're a minor until your 18th birthday.
Not a cultural difference. There are bad parents everywhere.


Why the hate for America?
In a world where there are much better forms of personal protection why would people even bother with a gun?

What are these better forms of personal protection? Can you guarantee a police officer will be by my side within seconds if my life is threatened?
Amazingly most states with concealed carry have lower gun crime than states without concealed carry. Australia has not had a lot of success with lowering their murder rate.

Korea and Japan have mass murderers. Germany, which has guns but are very restrictive, still has gun crime and also mass murderers. Contrary to what many think, every country has murder at about the same rate, it is pretty simple to look it up. Actually In the US violent crime has been declining for the past 20 years.

When has banning anything ever worked? The criminals all already have guns, even small time petty criminals. And black markets always spring up. Has banning drugs worked? Did banning alcohol work?

It's not all cut and dried, easy answer, my way or the highway like people want to believe. It requires some sense, respect for others, respect for and training with the dangerous tools that we use.
In a world where there are much better forms of personal protection why would people even bother with a gun?

Would you mind expounding on that statement?

For women, the elderly, or the handicapped, a small or medium caliber handgun is perhaps the only practical and proven way to rebuke a younger or stronger opponent.

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I'm all for our second amendment right to bear arms - i.e. own a gun. But there has to be responsibility! I'm not sure how much we can legislate the age for children being able to use a firearm, however. There are numerous cases throughout the history of this country, both past and present, where a child under the age of 18 has successfully handled a firearm in self-defense. I would stab at 12 years of age, where children are beginning to be physically able to handle firearms. Maybe 14.
"Why the hate for America?"

Now everyone who criticizes one aspect of USA is guilty of hating America?
There must be a lot of European countries haters in US then...
Seriously!!! What a screwed up backward country and bunch of people... how do you defend the right to allow ANYONE to supervise a minor in the use of such a barbaric tool.

God Bless America the religiously fanatical state of the Western World!
Tobold, great stuff about MMO's. Politics? not so much.
Regardless of where we stand on with this or that issue, lets all agree to just kill each in game and not out.

Axes don't kill Stunties, Orcs with axes kill Stunties. Waaaaaagh!!!
Zombies are another matter though. I am all for heavy zombie regulations. We shouldn't be letting asshat necromancers running creating zombies willy-nilly.

Zombies don't kill Auctioneers, err wait, yes they do. Crap!
Both instructor and parents were morons. Instructor for not realizing the kid would have trouble with the recoil (there is no such thing as a recoil-less submachine gun), the parents for even thinking this was a good idea.

Anonymous poster, who are "the right people?" As is, the only guns that are easily acquired through legal means are pistols, rifles, and shotguns.

Second anonymous poster: find another soapbox.
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