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East Arkansas father charged with murder in shooting death of his 3-year-old son

As the gun debate continues to be an issue in the United States, another child has been shot and killed. On Friday, Greene County police charged Michael J. Carter, 23, of Fontaine, Ark. with second-degree murder for the death of his 3-year-old son.

Gun violence in America
REUTERS/Joshua Lott

According to court documents, Carter was holding a loaded .45 caliber pistol that somehow discharged striking the 3-year-old boy in the head on Jan. 11, 2013.

Region 8 News in Jonesboro posted the story on Friday. Greene County Sheriff Dan Langston told Region 8 that the child was taken to Arkansas Methodist medical center in Paragould and was pronounced dead.

Carter has been charged and arrested, and his bond has been set at $1,000,000.

With Arkansas being the pro-gun/pro-Jesus, conservative, Ted Nugent, Second Amendment, red state that it is, many of the local comments on about this shooting were in defense of the father based on the belief that this was an honest, accidental shooting, and maybe it was.

Accidental shootings happen a lot, especially in a country where there are over 300 million guns within arm's reach floating around, but one question remains which seems to lean more towards a reckless sense of overconfidence in regard to the real time danger of guns than towards the evil intent of malice.

Now it is unclear why the local prosecutor decided to change the nature of the shooting from accidental to murder, but it is not beyond rationale to understand that any accountability applied to gun ownership and the consequences of that ownership is not necessarily an attack on the overall right to own a gun.

The Second Amendment just gives people the right to bear arms. Unfortunately, it does not guarantee the necessity of the need to bear common sense.

So the question then becomes a simple one. Whether it is a room full of people, or whether it is a room with just one person, why have a loaded gun that apparently wasn't on safety or didn't have a safety out in the open where someone, including one's self, could easily get into the line of fire?

In other words, is there ever really a good reason to have a loaded gun/weapon that is ready to fire or could be made ready to fire out in a space where you know that the presence of human life or any life that you value is sharing that space with you at that moment?

As the old saying goes, that is an accident or a tragedy waiting to happen.

If a person forgets to lock up their gun cabinet, that is one thing, but when a person knowingly takes out a loaded gun or loads a gun, especially with people present, the potential for tragedy has been put on the table by that individual, and they have to know that, and they do know that.

Now despite what many conservatives, NRA members, and gun owners would like to believe based on their pro-gun, anti-universal background checks rhetoric, the Second Amendment is not accident proof, and it certainly does not guarantee or incorporate what the NRA calls "responsible gun ownership," even though conservatives are the first ones to jump up and yell that you cannot legislate morality or behavior through big government.

This does not mean that someone like Carter does not have the right to own a gun, but it does mean that they are totally and solely responsible for that ownership, and that responsibility is definitely more serious than the pro-gun propaganda/culture likes to admit.

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