Monday, July 30, 2007

Where did grandpa go?

The entire family was in attendance during the funeral arrangements for a 63 year old grandfather that was shot in the head and killed by his 4 year old grandson. I can't begin to explain the pain that every one of these people were visibly experiencing.

Before we got the call from the hospital we had already heard that there had been a shooting of a local man. In the community where this happened, the crime rate is very low and murders are almost unheard of. The crimes that are usually reported ordinarily involve some type of theft; often times the reports include barbecue grills, lawn maintenance equipment, an automobile on occasion, sometimes vandalism of a mailbox or stolen planters. We were all figuring that this was going to turn into a huge manhunt because no one seemed to know who had done the deed.

It wasn't until I began speaking with the family that I learned that the child and his grandfather were best buddies. The child spent the majority of his time with his grandfather since both of his parents worked and grandpa was the main babysitter; almost like a second father. One of the games that they used to play all the time was their version of "cops and robbers" using their fingers as guns and arresting each other. They went everywhere as a single unit. Everybody knew the pair.

On this particular day the child's grandfather was busy with a friend digging holes for fence posts and installing a new fence around the property. The two workers were busy doing their chore and grandpa wasn't really paying too much attention to his charge who was sitting in the shady cab of the pickup truck they were always seen in. All the friend could tell the family was that he heard an "explosion" and saw his partner fall sideways to the ground. At the same time he heard the child begin to wail and turned and saw him on his back with a pistol behind his head.

Apparently, the bored child found the pistol that grandpa used to keep under his seat and decided it was time to play cops and robbers. The shot hit his grandfather out of sheer "luck" (or sheer misfortune as I thought) they were all sure, as was I. The backlash of the shot was so strong in the little boys hands that it threw him onto his back, the pistol flew out of his hands, and he was crying out of fear. He still didn't know that grandpa was dead. Can you think of any better reason to profess the need for gun control? Can you imagine the regret that was running through the minds of all that were there? Of course no one blamed the child, how could they. This was obviously an avoidable death that only happened because a deadly weapon was left for anyone to stumble upon and use.

In this part of the country, owning a firearm is common yet there really is no need for one. I myself don't own one simply because I never want to use it. I wish more people around here felt the same way. Maybe if they did I wouldn't be writing this tonight. I can only hope that this poor child is taken far away from here where he never has to hear nor does he ever remember that as a child, playing a game, he was allowed to kill his best buddy; grandpa.

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