Another tragedy involving gun violence and child victims has yet again made headlines. The story is unfortunately familiar; a six-year-old boy shot and killed his three-year-old brother while the two were playing. The children’s father has been charged with child endangerment, which is a felony.
The six-year-old child (name not disclosed) used a fully loaded rifle, which was sitting on top of the refrigerator, to shoot younger brother, Eian Santiago, in the head on Saturday night. Their father, Michael Santiago, 25, appeared in court on Sunday. Santiago said his gun was there for “protection.” The shooting took place at 9:05pm CDT (1405 GMT) in northwest Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood; the child was pronounced dead shortly before midnight.
“He was a beautiful kid. It’s real crazy,” the grandfather, Israel LaSalle, said in a tearful interview on CLTV, a local television station. “That’s why parents should never have guns in the house.” This sentiment is clear; too many children have died because their parents are irresponsible with firearms.
The nation’s gun problem becomes particularly obvious when story after story describes children accidentally killing each other, in fact, toddlers shoot other people on a weekly basis. It is up to the American people to put pressure on Congress to lobby for this to change; it is too easy to obtain guns and therefore too easy to be reckless with them. In houses with young children, the widespread availability of firearms poses even more of a threat. As in the case of the Santiagos, all it takes is a gun lying around the house for innocent play to turn into tragedy.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.