Photo of the day

Jeff P. sent me a link to this Flickr gallery of previously released Apollo mission images.  Cool stuff.  But too many.  I did, however, quickly discover the FB group which picks out some of the best images.  I really like this one:

Crescent Earth as viewed by the crew of Apollo 15. Scan of image AS15-97-13268 courtesy NASA/JSC.

Parents we need to put in jail

The parents who leave unsecured guns about that lead to the death of a child.  Yeah, it’s horrible when your child shoots another child (perhaps even your own), but the prospect is apparently not horrible enough for many parents out there to properly secure their guns.

This is a pretty stunning infographic from Wonkblog.  We’ve got a toddler shooting someone in America about once a week.  That’s insane!!

Loved this piece from Dahlia Lithwick that empasizes these tragedies are just going to keep happening so long as nobody, i.e., the parents, is ever held accountable:

The number of gun deaths resulting from child shooters has been dramatically undercounted, so it’s difficult to establish a proper tally. But estimates suggest thatmore than 100 children die this way each year, and more than 3,000 children are shot unintentionally. And most of the shootings by children—more than two-thirds—would have been prevented had the gun owners stored their weapons properly. Last week, after an Ohio boy accidentally killed his brother, Dan Savage angrily highlighted the last line of a news account explaining that nobody was charged: “That last sentence. Until that changes, this won’t.” [emphases mine]

He’s right. Someone needs to be responsible when children kill children with unsecured guns. Gun makers enjoy extraordinary freedom from liability when gun accidents occur, and that means gun owners bear most of the legal burden. Twenty-eight states have what are known as “child access prevention” laws, which impose criminal liability on adults who negligently allow kids to have access to their guns.States with these CAP laws show reductions in both accidental shootings and child suicides. But as Justin Peters has argued many times here at Slate, these CAP laws are almost never enforced, in part because they are vague, and in part because prosecutors have no heart to punish parents who have already suffered unimaginable pain when their child killed another child, often their own…

And so I spent the week asking prosecutors why they thought CAP laws aren’t enforced. Their responses echoed the media narrative: No jury would convict someone who had already suffered such a loss, and accidental shootings, even those in which weapons were improperly stored, are largely viewed as misfortune rather than misconduct in many places. These are elected positions, and there is very little public appetite for such prosecutions. As Robert Weisberg of Stanford Law School explained to me in an email, it’s easier to go after negligent parents for leaving their children in a hot car than for leaving their gun accessible: “Ironically, [hot-car cases] are prosecuted more often than the gun cases and often lead to some Child Protective Services intervention.” Heck, we go after parents who let their children walk through the neighborhood more aggressively…

Of course Justin Peters is right that CAP laws should be enforced. There is no other way to ensure that parents take seriously the legal obligation to secure their guns. And Dan Savage is right: Barring such enforcement it’s hard to imagine that we won’t keep seeing two children shoot two other children every week. But most pointedly, until we can stop thinking that locking up people who fail to lock up their guns is some kind of double assault on liberty, we will continue to live with “accidents” that were almost entirely foreseeable and preventable.

Yes!  If you are adult and your carelessness leads to somebody getting shot, you should be criminally liable.  End of story.  If you are negligent when driving a potentially deadly two-ton machine, the legal system is all over you.  But negligence when dealing with an item explicitly designed to kill people and somehow that’s okay?!  Only in America.

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