Are All These Toddlers Killing Themselves Just Cases Of ‘Accidents Happen’ ?

May 9, 2016  |  



Accidents happen.  After an incident with unfortunate results, parents say those two words to their children often.  A wet bed, a glass vase that got bumped into, conception, the child getting poked in the eye, etc. are all happenstance that could have been prevented by simply being a little more aware.  Often, these incidents are shrugged off because what is damaged, affected, or the pain inflicted can be replaced.  There are other instances in which they cannot.

Recently, the New York Times posted an article, entitled “One Week in April, Four Toddlers Killed Themselves.” From the soul-stirring headline to the heartbreaking last sentence, Jack Healy, Julie Bosman, Alan Blinder, and Julie Terkewitz detail the tragic tales of four children, how their families are coping, and where the law-local and federal-stand on these incidents.

The article starts off with a paragraph that one can’t help but picture two-year-old Sha’Quille Kornegay’s funeral; depicting that she was adorned with a tiara that was placed to cover the gunshot wound on her forehead.  Sha’Quille was taking a nap with her father, Courtenay Block. At one point, she picked up the 9-millimeter pistol he kept under his pillow and it went off.  Stating that the incident was preventable, Jackson County, MO charged Block with second-degree murder, child endangerment, and evidence tampering.

On April 26, Holston Cole of Dallas, GA was gone.  Somehow, he found the .380 semiautomatic pistol his father kept in his backpack and shot himself.  The article gives a link to the exchange between Cole’s father and 911’s dispatch.  Cole’s dad is described as desperately pleading with his son to hold on.

Indianapolis, IN.  Kanisha Shelton heard a bang go off and found her two year old son, Kiyan, lying on the floor with a self-inflicted gunshot to his chest.  Kanisha and Kiyan were both in the kitchen.  Kanisha briefly left to answer her phone moving her purse that housed her .380 handgun away from her son.  Reports indicate that Kiyan had pushed a chair closer to the counter, climbed atop, and reached for the purse.

Three year old Za’Veon Williams passed away on April 22 from a gunshot to his head.  Alverious Demars, the significant other of Williams’ mother, was arrested on charges of negligent homicide and obstruction of justice.  The claims are that the gun belonged to Demars, who attempted to hide the pistol after the child who was known as Baby Zee was shot.

The authors of this article state that almost all of these deaths stem from a child holding a gun towards them.  By the time a child is a toddler, they primarily discover the world with a combination of observation and their hands.  Children are infinitely curious.  They see guns on television or others have them in some capacity or another.  

The second amendment of the US Constitution gives American citizens the right to bear arms.  There are stipulations in which they can e acquired, carried, and stored; but sometimes that’s not enough.  Many times-even in the case of these parents-the thought is that one is not only protecting themselves, but protecting their loved ones within reason by keeping them away.  Nothing about this article indicates what kind of neighborhood Courtneay Block lived in that made him feel as if it is within his best interest to sleep with a 9-millimeter with a laser scope on it under his pillow.  Cole’s home of Dallas, GA is somewhat of an Atlanta suburb, there is no context to why the gun could have been left in the book bag.  What happens if someone comes in to rob a house and a gun is kept in a safe in a closet on the other end of the house and someone comes into your place of rest before one can get to it?  Wouldn’t that pistol and its purpose be null and void?

It’s complicated.  It’s tough.  It is something that if it happens once, it happens too often.  Yes, accidents happen, even when people think that they are doing their best to circumvent them.  Hopefully this can serve as a cautionary tale for those who do carry firearms to do be even more careful.

Toddlers killing themselves


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