11-Year-Old Shoots 8-Year-Old Because He Couldn't Play With Her Puppy

by
Cierra Bailey
Two young lives destroyed by gun violence and negligence serves as another reminder that gun laws need to be tightened.

A minor, petty altercation led to the death of an 8-year-old girl in Tennessee over the weekend. No, she wasn’t hit by a stray bullet, she was shot in the chest by her 11-year-old neighbor.

Little McKayla was outside playing when a boy from the neighborhood asked to see her puppy. When McKayla said "no," the boy went and got his father’s shotgun and struck McKayla in the chest, according to McKayla’s mother Latasha Dyer.

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"When we first moved to White Pine, the little boy was bullying McKayla," Latasha Dyer told WATE 6 news in a video posted on the station's website Sunday.

"He was making fun of her, calling her names, just being mean to her. I had to go the principal about him and he quit for a while and then all of a sudden yesterday he shot her."

The boy has been charged with first degree murder and is being held in a juvenile detention center until his hearing set for Oct. 28, according to Jefferson County Sheriff Bud McCoig.

The gun the boy used to shoot McKayla was legally owned by his father, which brings us to the underlying issue surrounding this incident which is…How and why on earth did this 11-year-old have such easy access to a 12-guage shotgun?

Honestly, this kid’s parents should be prosecuted right along with him.

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"That weapon should have been under lock and key, or at least out of hand's reach," neighbor Chasity Arwood reportedly told WBIR news. Arwood said she was watching football when she heard the gunshot and she bore witness to McKayla’s lifeless body lying in the grass.

How many more people have to die at the hands of gun violence before gun advocates and conservatives realize that something needs to change?

What solutions do gun advocates suggest to keep guns out of the hands of children? That whole “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” argument doesn’t quite pan out when you're talking about kids. The psychological development of a child — especially as young as 11— doesn’t allow for much rationalized thinking. They are more susceptible to acting on impulse.

The prefrontal cortex — responsible for regulating behavior and distinguishing between right and wrong, among other functions — isn’t fully developed until about the age of 25. Furthermore, all the violence we subject our children to on a regular basis really desensitizes them. 

Many kids don’t truly understand that once you take someone’s life, that’s it. You don’t get three lives like in video games and characters presumed to be dead aren’t going to miraculously come back in the sequel like a Hollywood movie. (And if you ask me, this country is already raising a generation of narcissistic sociopaths, but that’s another story)

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This boy’s father shouldn’t have had his weapon within a child’s reach, I’m sure we can all agree on that. But again, those types of issues can also be addressed with stricter laws. 

Other incidents of this nature have shown us that even trying to teach your child gun safety isn’t always effective; such as in the cases of the father in Florida who accidentally shot his own daughter while trying to teach her gun safety, or the 9-year-old girl who killed her instructor at a gun range when her weapon backfired.  

We cannot keep hiding behind the “constitutional right” to bear arms. I’m not trying to change the constitution, I’m just saying…every right is subject to limitations and this is one that’s in serious need of some extra restrictions 

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