This 15-year-old from Brooklyn learned a tough lesson this weekend about handguns. He was out with his friends, wearing his saggy pants, a pistol in his waistband. In other words, he was really, really cool. Until something happened:
He shot his own cock off.
I guess I shouldn’t make light of what happened to him. He’s just a kid. But he’s a kid with a gun. He’s a kid swept up in a stupid world that encourages and endorses criminal behaviour, a world where it’s easier for a kid to buy a cheap handgun than cheap alcohol. A sad world.
Guns are attractive. We all know this. We watch action movies, or crime dramas, and we like the shootouts. Remember that scene in The Matrix? “We need guns. Lots of guns.” Tell me that isn’t cool. I recently saw Shoot ‘em Up and Wanted, two okay movies that dwell on the cult of the handgun in a big way. How about Equilibrium, with Christian Bale’s gunkata martial arts?
By liking these things, are we contributing to the problem? Are we telling young people that they should be carrying firearms? I don’t think so. I’m in my 40s, and I watch action flicks. I like watching people fight … when it’s fiction. And I continue to do so, as I did as a kid. I liked all those things as a teenager, but the closest I got to illegal weaponry was the time we found an old stop sign in the ditch, took it to the school metal shop and made ninja throwing stars out of it.
But I had strong parenting. A lot of people don’t. Whether they live in Brooklyn or small-town Ontario, Canada, England, the U.S. or wherever, there are some kids adrift. And when handguns are that easy to find, shootings happen. In this case, Khamir — who I will conclude is not very bright, given the position he’s put himself in — made a series of stupid decisions that have guaranteed he’ll never be the same again.
My oldest son loves guns. He loves war, soldiers, video games, anything to do with firearms. And that used to worry me a bit. But he’s lucky — and I’m lucky, I suppose — that his stepfather is an avid hunter and shooter, so he’s learning the real rules of firearms, the safe way to shoot, from someone who knows the danger signs and understands how to balance that gun fascination with the real world. I’d like to think that my kid can play Halo without feeling the need to hide a stolen handgun in his waistband.
Anyway, let’s hope Khamir feels better as his case works its way through the courts. And let’s hope his story inspires at least one other teen moron to chuck that illegal pistol in the river.