I came upon an interesting news item today, as reported by Stacie Borrello on the news and opinion website Opposing Views (www.opposingviews.com). Apparently, last year more Americans were killed by toddlers with guns (11) than by domestic terrorists (4) (tinyurl.com/p8bfld3 ). If the avowed purpose of the massive email and phone surveillance program conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the FBI is to protect American lives, it would appear to be dreadfully misdirected. Not only did this ginormous data-collection effort utterly fail to detect — much less stop — the Boston Marathon bombers (the cause of those four deaths), but it distracted the NSA from what is obviously the more pressing security problem: Armed babies! More American lives would be spared if the NSA installed surveillance cameras and monitored every American child between the ages of 2 and 6, on a 24-hour basis.
Surely, this would be much easier and less expensive than collecting and sifting through every single email and phone call generated by Americans. For one thing, toddlers make up only one small subset of Americans, so fewer resources would be required to keep each and every one under 24/7 surveillance. The NSA could simply install a camera system in each and every toddler-occupied home and hook the video feeds to gun-recognition software. Whenever a weapon appears in the same frame as a toddler, SWAT teams could be dispatched to the home to intervene before anyone gets hurt. The money saved by this more focused surveillance effort could go a long way toward balancing the federal budget.
Other important steps could be taken to ensure our safety. It is well known that the National Rifle Association (NRA) would like to see a loaded firearm issued to every American at birth (if not earlier), but perhaps it would be a good idea to accompany the weapons with age-appropriate training programs. “This is Mister Trigger. Only pull on Mister Trigger if you see a bad guy with a gun. No, your cousin is not a bad guy, even if he did take Mister Choo-Choo.”
It might also be useful to modify current “Stand Your Ground” laws to exclude infants and toddlers. Standing your ground against pushy siblings or playmates should not be considered grounds for using deadly force. As they now stand, none of these laws specifically exclude toddlers, so shooting your cousin for taking your favorite toy is currently legal in states that have these laws.
And finally, though the NRA will fiercely resist it, all toddlers should be subject to a background check. Any toddler known to have uttered the phrase “bang bang!” or to have demonstrated a propensity to resort to physical violence instead of reasoned discourse to resolve differences should be denied access to firearms. Unless the parents who are supplying these toddlers with loaded firearms say it’s okay, of course. Because obviously, they know best.