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October 23, 2012

Pro-Gun Activists Find Humor in Shooting of 9-Year-Old Girl

Each year in the United States approximately 3,000 children and teens die from gun violence. Additionally, more than 30,000 are injured. On Saturday night, another casualty occurred that reminds us of the senseless nature of this gun violence.

In New Sewickley Township, Pennsylvania, a 9-year-old girl in a skunk costume was playing outside at a Halloween party. A male relative, spotting her over a hillside, mistook her for an actual animal and fired on her with a shotgun, hitting her in the shoulder, arm, back and neck. She was immediately airlifted to UPMC Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.

When we reported this news on the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Facebook page, our supporters were greatly concerned about the welfare of this young lady. But pro-gun activists? Not so much.

After we shared an article about the shooting, pro-gunners jumped in immediately to indicate how funny they found the suffering of this child. First, Bill Linton commented, "She should have armed herself. Stupid skunk." Then pro-gun activist Matthew Day sarcastically added, "Yes, obviously the problem is guns." [On his Facebook page, in response to the question "What is the #1 item you would want if riots like those in the UK spread to the USA?" Day writes, "AR-15/AK47."] Then pro-gunner "NH Andy" of Nashua, New Hampshire joked "Well that stinks." [Andy lists his favorite activities on Facebook as "AR-15," "Hiking" and "Shooting"]. Linton found this hysterical, responding, "^^^lol'd."

It certainly wasn't the first time pro-gunners had made disturbing comments regarding children and guns. When CSGV recently Tweeted the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics that the "best way to protect kids & teens 'is the absence of guns from homes and communities' " the Calumet Foundation responded, "Actually, the best way is teach them to draw smoothly from concealment" (as if children celebrating Halloween should have to be prepared to fire back on adults with profoundly bad judgment). The Calumet Foundation is "dedicated to providing financial resources to US citizens detained by the US government because they chose to lawfully exercise their First and Second Amendment rights." They sell a t-shirt on their website with a picture of a sniper rifle and the caption "Deer. Elk. Jack Booted Thugs." Another shirt depicts an assault rifle with the caption, "If Democracy Becomes Tyranny, I Still Get To Vote."

Another group of pro-gun activists we recently heard from also find children getting shot to be hilarious. On October 3, we Tweeted to share a "very moving song about the horrific damage gun violence does to children in our country." The song in question, "Blood of Our Children," was composed by Mark Cromer and performed by him and vocalist David Smith. The moving lyrics include the following words: "Sometimes I pray that I'm dreaming, that these things can't happen in our world today. We call them by name, we all know them. The blood of our children is spilled." The response of a group of North Carolinians who run the Epic Tactical website to our Tweet was "lol." The Epic Tactical website was launched "in 2009 to provide gun enthusiasts with a website that has meaningful reviews in a clean and organized manor."

Finally, pro-gun activist Bill Linton wanted to make it clear to us that he has no regard for any victim of gun violence, whether they are children or adults. When we posted a photo of a woman grieving at the scene of a horrific mass shooting in Seal Beach, California, Linton commented, "I have that same expression on my face when I lock my keys in the car."