Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World ReviewMarch 10, 2000/ 3 Adar 2, 5760

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
David Corn
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports



I made a mistake about trigger-locks --
QUICK, SOMEBODY sell me a bridge over the Sahara before I grow a brain.

I don't know how to explain my recent lapse in common sense. Was my body snatched by an idiot pod?

I'm talking about my previous column where, in response to the first-grader school shooting in Michigan, I urged tough consequences for adults whose carelessness results in a child shooting someone. So far, so good.

Then I apparently lost consciousness and urged trigger locks for all weapons. Who said that? Surely not I, daughter of a responsible gun collector who taught me to safely handle and shoot guns as soon as I could hold a rifle. My father must be banging his head against heaven's gate. He taught me better.

Among his more valuable lessons was the lawyerly advice that an unenforceable law is a bad law. A law that makes trigger locks mandatory is about as useful as a law that requires daily showering. You can force gun dealers to sell locks, but you can't force gun owners to use them.

Thanks to readers who managed to remain rational in the wake of the terrible Michigan incident that claimed the life of 6-year-old Kayla Rolland, I've been born again. To the one Colorado reader who agreed with my first knee-jerk response, sorry. The Sahara Bridge Builders Association wants you, too.

The better solution to this and other gun tragedies is to make the consequences for irresponsible gun ownership so severe that such accidents become rarer than sensible government. Responsible gun ownership might include the use of trigger locks - I'd like to think so - but a law mandating them is little more than a political pacifier.

Irresponsible gun owners aren't going to use trigger locks. And responsible gun owners aren't going to leave handguns lying on the floor, as was the case in the Michigan shooting.

The child who police say took a stolen .32 semiautomatic to school and killed Kayla was living in a crack house where trigger locks were as unlikely as a well-balanced meal. Or even a bed.

The boy slept on a couch in the living room of a run-down house inhabited by his uncle, Sir Marcus Winfrey, 21, and another 19-year-old man, Jamelle James. The boy's mother had left the child and his 8-year-old brother with the uncle about two weeks ago when she was evicted from her nearby home. The boy's father is in prison.

It is ridiculous to suppose that someone who traffics in drugs and steals guns, or accepts stolen ones, will take the extra step of attaching trigger locks. You can picture the thought process: "Boy, this crack sure smacks good. But, whoa, I forgot to lock the trigger on that piece I stole yesterday. What am I thinking?"

"Thinking" is the operative word here, and I've got a turtle's lead on the low-life who left a child to play with a lethal weapon. There is only one reasonable conclusion: Make adults pay for crimes committed by children.

Prosecutors are heading in that direction. In Michigan, police arrested James and charged him with involuntary manslaughter for allegedly allowing the boy access to the gun. The boy's mother has been accused of neglect.

Trigger locks are a good idea. They're also readily available and cost as little as $10. I can't imagine why anyone with young children in the house wouldn't use them. But a law insisting on their use would be as effective as laws insisting that people not steal or use drugs, or a law requiring them to be good parents.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.


03/08/00: After this school shooting, no easy target for our contempt
03/03/00: Car crash helps bridge our divide
02/28/00: Nasty politics? Americans like it down, dirty
02/14/00: College testing via Lego-building -- yeah, right
02/02/00: Bubba should spare us phony love theatrics
01/26/00: What sets off Those Who Speak for Women
01/13/00: Fools in love: Premarital counseling could help school kids
01/11/00: Who funds these studies!?
12/29/99: Grandparents' rights impinge on family autonomy
12/13/99: When did fathers become fair game?
12/09/99: Don't be stupid about at-risk kids
12/07/99: Pokemon is no substitute for a father
12/02/99: Blaming the victim --- men
11/30/99: Baby-killer's story has less-than-Precious ending
11/23/99: Pendulum swings back toward discipline, responsibility
11/18/99: Put the babies first in this mighty mess
11/11/99: Skip the applause for this baby news
11/09/99: Gore could benefit from a secret in Wolf's clothing
11/03/99: Who needs 'birds and bees' when we have MTV?
11/01/99: Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say
10/26/99: Children's needs must take priority in divorce system
10/19/99: The deadbeat dad is less a scoundrel than an object of pity
10/15/99: Bullying boys ... and girls
10/12/99: Divorced dads ready to wage a revolution
10/04/99: A father's best gift? His presence
09/30/99: Sorry, guys, Faludi is no friend of yours
09/28/99: Science's new findings: Scary future for families
09/23/99: The great blurring of need and want
09/21/99:Focus on more than baby's first 3 years
09/16/99: Commentary from kids sheds no light on day-care debate
09/14/99: Fathers' group seeks to right inequities
09/09/99: Son now has a license to grow up
09/07/99: A slap in the face of domestic violence
09/01/99: No, ma'am: Legislation on manners misses the mark
08/26/99: For better boys, try a little tenderness
08/24/99:The ABC's of campaign questions
08/19/99: Male 'sluts'
08/11/99: Language doesn't excuse bad behavior
08/09/99: When justice delayed is still justice
08/03/99: Unemployment? Not in this profession
07/30/99: It's not about race -- it's about crack babies
07/22/99: Tragedy tells us what's important
07/19/99: Study denouncing fathers sends danger signals
07/15/99:'Happy marriage' belongs in the Dictionary of Oxymorons next to 'deliciously low-fat.'
07/11/99: 'Brother Man': An American demagogue in Paris
07/08/99: Only parents can fix broken families
07/06/99: America is home, sweet home
07/01/99: Tales out of Yuppiedom
06/28/99: Men aren't the only abusers
06/23/99: Is the entire country guzzling LSD punch?
06/20/99: The voice remains -- as always -- there beside me 06/16/99:Stating the obvious, a new growth industry
06/14/99: Calling for a cease-fire in the gender war
06/10/99: We owe children an apology

©1999, Tribune Media Services