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Andrea Traynor


The Day My Friend's Baby Was Shot

Posted: 09/04/2013 12:40 pm

They were at a cottage. Just two days ago on a crisp September morning.

My friend sat on a raft with her 19-month-old little boy while her husband went into the lake to swim with their eldest daughter.

They were cuddling and soaking up the sunshine when she heard a strange noise; her toddler started to shake and wail uncontrollably. You can read the full account of what happened next here, but it's important to know that it was intentional -- because when her husband rushed over to them, another pellet hit the boat beside them.

Fast-forward a few hours and they were confronting a 13-year-old boy and his parents just three cottages away. All three nonchalantly admitted that he'd been shooting into the water.

There was no apology. There was no concern for the baby, bleeding and stunned from being grazed by a pellet that could have been aimed at his chest. No gasps. Not even a "thank God" that the child hadn't lost an eye -- or worse.

Yes, the 13-year-old should have known better. But was it his fault? I'm not so sure.

After all, these sound like the same parents who point fingers at teachers when their kids are given detentions. As if their kids couldn't have possibly done anything wrong.

It's parents like these creating entitled children who grow up never having to take responsibility for their actions.

Twenty-five years ago, if my brother or I had even accidentally shot anyone -- much less a baby -- with a gun, we'd have been lucky to see daylight for the next month. There would have been mea culpas galore, and it would have started with my parents. They would have thrown "I'm so sorry" at the victim and his parents until they were blue in the face.

But not these parents.

In fact, after my friend called the OPP in Bancroft, these parents changed their story. They denied their son had anything to do with the shooting when police questioned them. They denied there was even a gun in the cottage.

And the OPP said there's nothing they could do. No grounds for a search warrant. My friend's word against theirs.

No charges laid.

So what does that teach this boy? That you can physically harm another human being, and if you lie you can get away with it. That no matter what you do, your parents will come to the rescue. That police don't always get the bad guy.

This new breed of parenting has got to stop. We need to make our kids admit to and atone for their wrongdoings. But to do that, we must first teach them right from wrong. And that is your job, mom and dad.

Stop lying to yourselves, parents. Your kids aren't perfect and they will make mistakes -- and that's OK. It's how you deal with those mistakes that will help shape the people they become. Teach them empathy. Teach them how to apologize. Teach them that when you do bad things, there are consequences.

And then ground their asses. Take away their precious smartphones and video games. Don't drive them to school if they have two legs that will get them there just as easily. Unplug the TV. Change the laptop's password. Provide a list of daily chores. Just do something. Punish bad behaviour using whatever "currency" is important enough for your kid to take notice.

If you take your child's side every time without really examining who's at fault, you're not doing him or her any favours. And you'll have only yourself to blame when your kid is the one behind the barrel of the gun.

CORRECTION: The word "bullet" was used to describe what was shot at the baby in an earlier version of this post. The child was shot with a pellet.

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  • Swat team members secure the scene near Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev., after a shooting there on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

  • Sandy Hook Elementary

    Molly Delaney, left, holds her 11-year-old daughter, Milly Delaney, during a service in honor of the victims who died a day earlier when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., as people gathered at St. John's Episcopal Church , Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims.

  • Police secure the scene near Sparks Middle School after a shooting in Sparks, Nev., on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

  • Clackamas Town Center

    A security guard looks over the food court at the Clackamas Town Center mall as it opens, on Friday, Dec 14, 2012 in Portland, Ore. The mall is reopening, three days after a gunman killed two people and wounded a third amid a holiday shopping crowd estimated at 10,000. The shooter, Jacob Tyler Roberts, killed himself after the attack Tuesday afternoon.

  • St. Vincent's Hospital Shooting

    Birmingham police arrive at the scene of a shooting at St. Vincent's Hospital on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Birmingham, Ala. Authorities in Alabama say a man opened fire the hospital, wounding an officer and two employees before he was fatally shot by police. Birmingham Police Sgt. Johnny Williams says the officer and employees suffered injuries that are not considered life-threatening.

  • Sikh Temple Shooting

    Mourners attend the funeral and memorial service for the six victims of the Sikh temple of Wisconsin mass shooting in Oak Creek, Wis., Friday, Aug 10, 2012. The public service was held in the Oak Creek High School. Three other people were wounded in the shooting last Sunday at the temple. Wade Michael Page, 40, killed five men and one woman, and injured two other men. Authorities say Page then ambushed the first police officer who responded, shooting him nine times and leaving him in critical condition. A second officer then shot Page in the stomach, and Page took his own life with a shot to the head. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

  • July 2012: Aurora, Colorado

    A policeman stands outside a Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., where a heavily armed man opened fire, killing at least 12 people and injuring 50 others.

  • May 2012: Seattle, Wash.

    Friends, family and employees react after a shooting at Cafe Racer in Seattle on May 30, 2012. A lone gunman killed four people Wednesday -- three were shot to death at a cafe, and a fourth in a carjacking. The gunman later killed himself.

  • April 2012: Oakland, California

    Alameda County Community Food Bank workers move a memorial from a parking spot next to Oikos University in Oakland, Calif., Monday, April 23, 2012. Some students and staff members have arrived to resume class at Oikus University, the small California Christian college where seven people were shot to death earlier in April.

  • November 2009: Fort Hood, Texas

    Panou Xiong, center, is comforted by family and friends following a Remembrance Ceremony commemorating the one-year anniversary of the worst mass shooting on a U.S. military base, where 13 people were killed and dozens wounded,, Nov. 5, 2010 in Fort Hood, Texas. Xiong's son, Pfc. Kham Xiong, was killed in the shooting. <em><strong>CORRECTION:</strong> This slide originally said that the Fort Hood shooting took place in November 2010. The shooting took place in November 2009.</em>

  • March 2009: Kinston, Alabama

    The charred Kinston, Ala. living room where suspected gunman Michael McLendon allegedly killed his mother Lisa McLendon, is photographed Wednesday, March 11, 2009. Authorities were working Wednesday to learn why a gunman set off on a rampage, killing 10 people across two rural Alabama counties.

  • August 2007: Blacksburg, Va.

    An unidentified family member of slain Virginia Tech student Daniel Alejandro Prez Cueva, pauses at his memorial stone after the dedication of the memorial for the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting in Blacksburg, Va., Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007. More than 10,000 people gathered on the main campus lawn as Virginia Tech dedicated 32 memorial stones for those killed by a student in a mass shooting on campus last April.

  • April 1999: Littleton, Colo.

    This aerial shows the news media compound near Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., April 21, 1999. Media from around the world poured into the area after 15 people were killed during a shooting spree inside the school.


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