One of the nice things about a moral panic is that it frees up individuals from responsibility for their own actions. If everybody’s panicked about some supposed social ill, it’s okay to do very silly things because you’re just trying to protect people. Whether the boogeyman is global warming, or explicit song lyrics, or violent video games, or whatever else you’re convinced is dangerous, your righteous indignation is justifiable. And if it’s about guns? Dude, panicking about guns is pretty much mandatory. They don’t even need to be real guns. These days you can freak out about toy guns, bubble guns, cookies in the shape of guns… even finger guns! The important thing is that you’re protecting the children.
Mara Rose Williams, Kansas City Star:
A 12-year-old Overland Park girl formed a gun with her fingers, pointed at four of her Westridge Middle School classmates one at a time, and then turned the pretend weapon toward herself.
Police hauled her out of school in handcuffs, arrested her and charged the child with a felony for threatening…
According to Johnson County District Court documents, on Sept. 18, the girl “unlawfully and feloniously communicated a threat to commit violence, with the intent to place another, in fear, or with the intent to cause the evacuation, lock down or disruption in regular, ongoing activities…”
A person familiar with a more detailed incident report spoke to The Star on condition of anonymity. The person said that during a class discussion, another student asked the girl, if she could kill five people in the class, who would they be? In response, the girl allegedly pointed her finger pistol — like the ones many children use playing cops and robbers.
That’s a big no-no. The first rule of gun safety is to treat every gun like it’s loaded, even the one that’s literally just your thumb and forefinger.
Seriously, though, how is this a police matter? It’s a 12-year-old girl, armed with nothing but her finger. Are we going to force kids to wear mittens year-round so they don’t accidentally shoot somebody?
Hat tip to Cam Edwards, who points out that a couple of kids recently brought real guns to school in the same district but weren’t charged with a felony. If finger guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have finger guns.
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