Stranger Danger! Why a puppy in a window should have you running away

I remember growing up, walking past a pet store window, and going “Awww look at the puppy! I want one!” Much like stores placing candy at the checkout aisles in a grocery store, pet stores who sell puppies rely on the impulse factor to get you to buy one. You see one you just HAVE to have, you go in, you play with them, and you are hooked. I have even fallen under the pet store impulse spell. Back in 1997, my ex husband and I went in “just to look” but we were NOT going to purchase one.  $800+ later, we walked out with Jake, my first dog as an adult.

Jake

Jake

Jake was an adorable rat terrier. The sales associate explained he was UKC registered but not AKC registered and had us convinced how unimportant that was.  Looking back, I have to appreciate how great he was at his job! This was 1997, I didn’t know then what I know now.  I don’t regret buying Jake, he was an amazing dog, but I will never purchase another dog from a pet store.

I may be an advocate for adopting but that doesn’t mean I am 100% against buying a purebred dog also.  I just want everyone to understand the pros and cons as well as clear up some myths or, in reality, some ignorance, about purebred dogs, shelters, rescues, and pet stores.

First, I understand wanting a purebred dog.  It is OK if you want a specific breed. You want a particular look.  There is nothing wrong with it. The first question I would ask is “why?” Why do you want a purebred? Is it the look? Ok. Is it the love of the breed? Ok Is it because they are better dogs? NOT TRUE!

Fact: You can find purebred dogs in shelters and rescues. You can even find AKC registered dogs in shelters and rescues.

Neapolitan Mastiff, Dog, big dog, Blue

@BellaTheMastiff

My Neapolitan Mastiff, Bella, is one. Have I ever sent for her papers? Of course not. (For the record, I never sent in for Jake’s either) I wasn’t going to breed either one of them so why spend the money? Yes, getting a piece of paper that says who their mom and dad is costs money. What are you going to do with it? Tuck it in a drawer just to say you have it.  Just because someone spent a lot of money on a purebred dog doesn’t mean the dog was given a forever home.  They get abandoned, turned in, re-homed, etc., all the time.  Talk to your local shelter about what breed you are looking for and they can give you the names of the ones they work with.  Sometimes if a purebred dog is in the shelter, the shelter will call a local (or sometimes a not so local) rescue group for that breed. The group will take the dog out of the shelter and into a foster home and then they work to find a new family for the dog.  This frees up another cage in the shelter, gets the dog out of a cage and into a home where the foster parent(s) most likely loves and understands the breed, and the rescue group works to find a new family.  Another way to find a breed specific rescue group is to just search the Internet.  Type in the breed you want followed by the word “rescue” and your search will begin.  Like everything, never wire money, make sure the group has their 501(C)3 status, and they are legitimate organization.  Another way is to search “Dog Friendly Events” in your area, especially in the spring and fall, to see what events are taking place where there are a lot of dog friendly vendors and rescue groups.

“I want a puppy”

Fact: shelters and rescues have puppies!!! I am always surprised how many times I hear someone say shelters only have adult dogs.  Puppies are abandoned, dropped off, found, all the time.  Sometimes a dog gets pregnant and the owner doesn’t want to deal with it, so they drop it off at the shelter.  Friends of mine found seven puppies outside of our dog park, with their feral mom and dad running around.  All seven puppies lived, were cared for until old enough to be adopted, and found great homes. The mom and dad were also caught. The dad is super sweet, was adopted and doing great.  The mom is still feral but in a foster home where they are working with her.  Puppies might not be available every day in a shelter, but tell them you want a puppy and they will let you know what they have and when they will be up for adoption.  You might not always SEE puppies in the actual shelter because they might be out in foster homes where they can play, learn, and grow in a better environment than a shelter.

“I want a small dog”

FACT: Small dogs are available at shelters & rescues.  There might not be as many of them, but they are there. Sometimes they are picked up by breed specific rescues like I mentioned earlier.  Talk to the shelter, if they don’t have the size you are looking for, I’m sure they can get you in touch with a local rescue.

“I don’t want a dog with problems”

FACT: A puppy from a pet store is a PUPPY MILL DOG!!! Talk about potential problems.  Let’s start with the fact that mom, you know, the AKC dog the sales person talked about, is kept in a cage and just gets to produce puppies. That’s all she does.  The papers may have a sweet sounding name like “Beautiful Acres Farms” (I made this name up, so if the business exists, it is in no way affiliated with the puppy mill business as far as I know). You want to picture dogs running free, having puppies in the lap of luxury but that is not the case.  These dogs are only good to the owners as long as they produce puppies.  Then, often, they are destroyed when they age out.  The puppy mill owners do not care about these dogs.  They don’t get love, attention.  They don’t get human interaction outside of food and water and shots.  Can you imagine the only time you feel a human hand on you is followed by a needle prick? Until they go to a pet store for sale, where they are handled from one person to another, often by people who don’t even know how to handle a puppy, supervised by people who collect a paycheck & a commission when they sell the puppy….all of this followed by being ripped from the only security they know, their mom, without an appropriate weaning time and transition.  Do you really think this doesn’t cause behavioral problems???

puppy mills, ozarks, dogs in cages

Photo Courtesy Ozark Humane Society

FACT: Like every “business” you have some bad associates, but for the most part, associates and VOLUNTEERS at rescues and shelters are there because they love animals and want to help them.  They aren’t there to get rich, trust me.  They want the animals placed in good, loving, forever homes so they will work with potential adopters to find the right dog for you.  There are dogs out in foster homes where the foster parent will discuss openly and honestly the good and, sometimes, the bad of the dog.  They will tell you if they are good with kids, with other dogs, cats, etc. Their sole purpose is to find a good home for the dog so it does not end up back in a shelter.  Can they get over zealous about ONLY adoption, etc? Yes, they can. But please understand what they see everyday and what they deal with. Appreciate their passion and understand it comes from the right place.

On the flip side, Pet Store clerks have little knowledge of animals and animal care outside what they are trained to say. Let’s be honest, if they REALLY knew and REALLY cared, they wouldn’t be working at a store that sells puppy mill puppies. They WANT you to buy the puppy so they get the commission. What happens after that, they don’t care. The money is in their pocket.  They are off to sell the next one.

Another unknown fact to many is many local animal shelters do not just have dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, but sometimes other animals as well, such as bunnies, chickens, and even a rooster from time to time.  While it may not be as common, any time an animal is picked up or confiscated from an owner, they have to have someplace to go until a new home can be found.

At the end of the day, there are too many GREAT dogs in shelters looking for their “furever” homes.  If you are looking to add a pet to your family and have no plans on entering that pet into the show world where registration papers may be required, please consider visiting your local animal shelter, look on social media for local rescue groups, or, if you’re looking for a new dog, go visit a local dog park.  Many owners there are friendly and usually willing to point you in the right direction.  There might even be someone there who works or volunteers with a shelter or animal rescue.

Do your homework.  If you want a purebred pet, please find a reputable, qualified breeder.  If you just want a loving pet to welcome into your home, please consider adoption over purchase.  You will truly be saving their life and the life of the pet who may be coming in to take their empty cage.

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

 

 

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Pop the Bubbly but not your eye – HaliPawz

HaliPawz protect eye champagne cork

As the New Year’s Eve celebrations are fast approaching, it is important to think about some of the dangers you don’t hear about.  Champagne and sparkling wine is consumed in large amounts during all of the celebrations but take an extra minute to use the proper care so your celebration doesn’t end in a trip to the emergency room.  Remember when you pop the bubbly to do so in a safe manner!

According to Friedrich Balck of Clausethal Technical University in northwest Germany, a champagne cork reaches speeds of over 20 miles per hour when it is popped and, theoretically, depending on the conditions, could reach up to over 60 miles per hour.  There is more pressure from one bottle than there is in three car tires.  When you think about that velocity, you can only imagine what can happen if that cork should happen to hit an eye.  If you don’t lose your sight completely, you can pretty much guarantee it will never be the same as it is now.  Even if it doesn’t hit a person, proper care should always be used because it can break anything it hits such as a light, a window, or even a television.

Opening a bottle under pressure such as a champagne bottle, sparkling wine, or prosecco safely can be done.

First, studies have shown a cooler beverage results in less pressure of the cork.  Ideally, you would want the champagne chilled to around 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius).  This temperature also helps minimize the amount of champagne spraying out.

Next, remover the foil and the wire cage.  Usually you just untwist the wire key at the bottom, under the cork, until it is loose enough to slide over the cork.  Be careful not to do this until you are ready to uncork the bottle. Think of it as if you are removing the safety on a handgun. The minute the wire cage is off, the bottle should immediately be pointed in a safe direction away from anyone it can harm as the cork can pop out on it’s own depending on the pressure in the bottle.

Hold on to the main part of the bottle with one hand and place a dish towel or wine town over the cork with your other hand over the bulbous part of the cork and the towel.

Position the bottle against your hip or side to give you better control of the bottle and make sure it is aimed away from anyone and anything.  Slowly begin twisting the cork with your hand gently working it out of the bottle. You will feel the cork loosen and get easier to work;  then you should hear a soft pop when the cork slips out.

I know it is fun to hear that POP sound as the cork flies out.  If you HAVE to hear that popping sound, make sure the bottle is facing away from you and others, including animals, and is pointed towards a wall or ceiling and nothing breakable.  Look in the opposite direction UNTIL you hear the POP and then turn your head back.

While it is fun to enjoy any celebration with a bubbly drink, be sure to be smart and safe so the celebration can continue until YOU want it to end.

Happy New Year!

An added tip….if you choose to set off fireworks during your celebration, be sure to NOT drink too much champagne and always wear protective eye-wear and gloves!

champagne bottle popping and fireworks

Champagne popping and Fireworks

Grass cutting dilemma over a holiday weekend – HaliPawz

My grass got too high.  It’s no one’s fault but my own.  I can make a bunch of excuses, but at the end of the day, that’s all they are, excuses.  It is the end of May and I had only partially cut my lawn in Missouri….where the rain had been flowing down for months now!  This leads me to spending my holiday weekend attempting to cut the grass….I say attempting because, it still isn’t done.

Let’s go back a few weeks.

I realized my grass was getting embarrassingly high.  I thought about getting someone to come in and cut it the first time because of how high it was, but I just didn’t want to spend the money.  Let’s face it, I’m still not where I want to be financially from doing the freelance writing, so I try to save every penny I can.  I’m one of the fortunate ones who lives in the city but still has a nice size yard.  When it comes to the dogs, it’s great, when it comes to cutting, not so great.   I begin to cut it and it’s still a little too damp from the rain we had overnight so the cutting is taking forever.  I decide to pause on the cutting and get out the weed eater to go around the house.  I don’t know why, but I also thought I could go back and forth like a machete and trip some of the high grass down.  I’m sure my neighbors were having a nice laugh at me!

Sometimes I swear I have adult ADHD because I jump around a lot when it comes to projects like this.  I always say I can justify it with a thought, but at the end of the day, I just can’t do the monotony of doing the same thing for hours.  It seems like writing is the only thing I can do for long periods without a problem.  Anyway…..I go back to cutting.  All of a sudden, out of no where, I see something wet looking and small fly out of the grass and away from the mower!  I stop the mower instantly and look down, there are three baby bunnies!  One flew into the tall grass, one took off down the slope of my yard, and one walked about six inches from where it came out of and froze.  Of course, I was convinced I had killed one; the one that had taken off and looked a little damp!  Looking around, I found their nest and then wondered, now what do I do.  I can’t see the other two anywhere, the grass is way too high, and the little frozen one is just standing still, even when I get close!

I go and sit on my porch and just stare at the baby bunny.  I send out a tweet about finding them.  I text my two animal lover friends to get some advice.  I google “who to contact when you find a baby bunny” and discover we have a nature center here in Kansas City that will help with things like this.  I call them.  No answer so I leave a message.  I’m still sitting on the porch.  Of course, I resolve to never let my grass get this high again because I don’t want to be a baby bunny killer.

Yes, I have since learned the nests are usually far enough into the ground I can

still cut my grass and cause them no harm…..but at the time, I didn’t realize it.

I grab the weed trimmer again and decide to do some more areas well away from where any baby bunnies might be.  Then it goes through my head, what if there are more and I won’t be able to see them while I’m cutting the grass?  Maybe I shouldn’t cut my grass until they are all gone?  How long will that be?  I stop trimming and sit on the porch again, staring at the frozen baby bunny.

I get up to go look to see if I can find the missing two, which I can’t.  One of my neighbors must have had enough of wondering what I was doing because he ventured over to me to ask.  We discussed the baby bunnies but I had the distinct impression he wouldn’t be as concerned as I was, or he just thinks I’m a little crazy! Either way, he walked away again without much advice.

My phone rings, It was Lakeside Nature Center calling me back.  She told me the mother rabbit will return around sundown, if I could find the babies and try to put them back in the nest, the mother would take care of them.  She then explained the “frozen” one was showing a tactic “If I don’t move, you can’t see me” to protect itself.  I felt better.  I had no clue where the other two were, but I was going to do my best to help these little guys out.  Needless to say, no more grass cutting was to be done that day.

I went inside for a little while, I was going to grab a yardstick to help me move the grass around so I could look for the wandering babies.  I ended up taking a phone call and got side tracked.  By the time I came back outside, I was overjoyed to see momma rabbit right by the frozen baby bunny and another one scamper into the grass as soon as I started down the porch.

Momma rabbit returns for her babies

 As you can see from the picture, the grass is quite high and stayed high for a while because, what I didn’t mention, is I was heading out-of-town the next day!

I was gone for a week and when I returned, it was easy to see the rain had not helped my grass growing dilemma.  My mom came back with me from Michigan so I had to do something about this situation soon.  She walks with a walker, so the high grass would be a problem for her since she has to walk through the grass to get to my porch.  I had built her a nice ramp last year to get up my steps, but she still had to walk up a slight hill on the grass so she didn’t need the problem of the high grass to go with it. It is clear my yard is not ADA friendly!  LOL

I grabbed my mower and cut a few paths for my mom to walk easier.  I cut about half of my front yard and then I saw a momma rabbit in a whole new area of the front yard.  I thought I saw a baby running away.  I decided to not cut in that area.  Maybe it was an excuse, but I cut all around it.  Then it started to rain.  Time to put the mower away again.

Rain came and went over the next few days and the grass kept getting higher.  The back yard was scary at this point.  Poor Zipper, my Jack Russel, had areas where the grass what much higher than him.  Because the dogs play out there all the time, some of the grass was trampled down, but it was still thick and high.  I had cut about two or three strips off to the side when I had cut the front yard and even that was getting high again.

Enough was enough, the grass had to be cut!  Who knew what was lurking in the grass, insects, rodents, it was time to conquer it so Monday, Memorial Day, I was out there.  It had rained earlier in the morning, so I knew it was going to be rough, but it was climbing to 80 degrees for the day, so the grass had to be drying somewhat.  I started in the back yard and began to cut.  I started in the area I had already cut, figured it would be easier and it was in the sun, so it would dryer.  As soon as I hit the higher grass, I knew I was in trouble.  The lawn mower would continually stop because of the high, thick grass.  I would have to back it up out of the high grass to restart it.  I would cut an area for a bit, then see a really high area and just cut across the yard to break it up.  My thinking was, if I broke it up into little pieces, it would be easier on the mower to go from high, then low, then high again.  In reality, I’m sure it was some more of my ADHD.  I’m so jealous of those who can go back and forth on their lawn in nice, neat rows, back and forth, so their yard looks great.  My dad would do that.  He would cut it one way one week, then another way the other.  Sometimes back and forth, sometimes on an angle.  My yard is cut in every direction, no rhyme or reason.

There were times I had to raise the mowers front wheels off the ground, go over a patch, then let the blades come down on it.  I had enough sense to lock the dogs in the house, so I wouldn’t have to be worried about them getting in the way or getting hurt.  Sadly, there were some loss of toys though.  I couldn’t see them, one was a stuffed animal, all of a sudden I saw the stuffing some flying out from around the mower!  Made me happy the dogs were inside, I felt it was safer.

I was dripping in sweat, the mower was stopping about ever 90 – 120 seconds.  I reached one part of my lawn where the grass was so thick and so wet at the bottom that I could only get about a foot or two and it would stall.  I was exhausted and my back was killing me from constantly pulling the cord on the mower.  I can usually cut my back yard with one full tank of gas.  I had filled it twice already.  About 4:30 pm, I had been at it over two and a half hours, not counting two fifteen minute water / rest breaks and my mower was now stalling every foot of grass until it was out of gas yet again.  I stopped.  I was out of gas in my gas can and decided I had enough.  Looking around at the patchy cutting I saw I still had about 1/4 of my back yard to cut and still tackle my front yard.  I was done for the day.

So, as I type this, I realize I have to run to the gas station to get more gas and get out there to finish my yard at some point today.  The grass WILL NOT WIN!  I guess the one good thing is, I had a nice workout!

Moral of the story, don’t let your grass get too high.  Just like so many things, if you ignore it, it will end up costing you more in the long run….in this case, more time, more energy, and more backache!

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

Charlie Charlie Challenge, Love it, hate it, believe it or not, the explanation can be based on beliefs – HaliPawz

So, this Charlie Charlie Challenge is the newest fad hitting all of social media.  If you haven’t heard about it, here’s the premise….

You take a piece of paper and draw two opposite lines on it, making a cross.  You put the word “yes” in the top left corner and the bottom right corner.  You then put the word “no” in the top right corner and the bottom left corner.

You place two pencils one on top of the other in a cross.

The rules are, supposedly Charlie is a polite demon and you have to ask him if you can play the game, so you say “Charlie Charlie, can we play?” and you wait until the pencils move to say yes or no.  If the pencil points to yes, you can continue asking him questions, if it points to no, you cannot or you have to ask again.  Then, when you are done, you have to ask Charlie if you can stop playing, so you say, “Charlie, Charlie, can we stop?” and again, wait until the pencil says yes or no.  If you don’t ask if you can stop, then bad or strange things can happen following.

Now, let’s break this down a little bit…..

Charlie is supposedly a Mexican demon who insists on politeness.  Since he’s Mexican, why Charlie?  Wouldn’t it be Carlos, Carlos and then ask in Spanish?  Apparently this demon is bi-lingual!

Christians have a problem with it because they liken it to the Ouija board, which Christians feel is a tool used to converse with demons.  Of course, scientists have proved more than once why, or how, the Ouija board moves.  Since a lot of Scientists and Christians seem to want to have a battle like the Hatfields and the McCoys, it isn’t likely everyone will accept each other’s thoughts on it.  When I was a teenage, before I understood how it worked, I was a little creeped out by the Ouija board, so I tended to stay away from it.  Now, as an adult, I would chalk it up with the same as psychics, fortune tellers, etc, so I wouldn’t even think about using it to make a decision.

Now, those crazy scientists have worked to debunk the Charlie Charlie Challenge as well.  They talk about gravity and the stability of the pencils on top of each other.  Even if you have a steady hand and are able to get the pencils to balance on top of each other, the breath you expel to say “Charlie Charlie can we play” is enough to upset the perfect balance and send the top pencil moving, with the hexagon or round shape of the two, it only makes sense that it spins on an angle and then ends up in one of the “yes” or “no” quadrants.

pencil cross pencils

Let’s talk about the yes or no answers.  Since you are asking a DEMON life questions, do you expect him to answer you in a manner that is benefiting to you or to him?  Wouldn’t he give you bad advice, being a demon and all? I’m not sure I would want to trust his answers.

Now the question of why strange or bad things happen if you forget to ask Charlie if you can stop playing?  This is pretty simple.  If you have an open enough mind to believe you could actually talk to a demon to answer your questions, then it makes sense that you will be more sensitive to things happening.  In any day to day, things happen.  If your senses are already heightened to expect something bad or strange, you will accept it as such when things happen.

In the end, you can choose to believe it or be afraid of it.  Teenagers are going to do it.  If it really bothers you to the point you feel it is dangerous, talk to your child about it, but in reality, it’s a fad, and like most fads, it will go away in time.

A little tidbit about this post….as I was doing the research on it, many of the pages I kept trying to open or opened, would either not open or would just keep resetting…..could it be Charlie having a problem with me typing this??? Hmm

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

Protect the SHARE button; keep the hate bandwagon in the station-HaliPawz

I should be asleep right now. I fell asleep downstairs watching tv, woke up around 2:30am, headed up to bed with the thought I would listen to the latest Randomocity podcast and then go to bed. These guys crack me up and I am so excited about getting the opportunity to work with them. That’s a story for later!

I couldn’t sleep. My brain is racing. So many things happening right now. I go where everyone who can’t sleep goes; social media. Amongst the latest YouTube mash-ups, the puppy memes, and friend updates, I come across the following picture

IMG_1921

with the poster encouraging others to stop supporting the brand.

My first thought was something doesn’t seem right about it. The wording in the article was off. Michael Kors is a business man. I am in no way saying a business man cannot be racist, but the actual wording did not seem legit. I am not naive to the fact racism exists. I’m not a Michael Kors fan per se but if he was truly, openly, racist, I would be an advocate of sharing the information with everyone I know so they had the knowledge to do with it what they chose. On the flip side, I hate a business being boycotted or deemed racist due to the rapid “social media hate spread” that exists in our world today.

My investigative mind wasn’t going to stop until I dug into this. So much for my light, happy, puppy pic sharing mood…I needed to know. Within 30 seconds, I had my confirmation. It was fake. In my defense, if it had been a link on the post I saw, I would have known quicker, but since it was just a picture, I had to dig further. The article was written on a site where they have the disclaimer “all of the articles published on the site are “complete fiction.” Question answered. I felt obliged to go and post in the comments, knowing it doesn’t always change opinions. Once it’s out there and spread throughout social media, it will be believed by many as fact. The damage is done. Will it affect Michael Kors business? Maybe, maybe not. I won’t speculate.

This leads me to a few other concerns. The first is WHY these sites can continue to post very untrue statements about people, make them appear legit, and because of a hidden disclaimer, they can not be held responsible for any damage to a reputation or business?

Why do people continue to SHARE & COMMENT on things without either viewing the source (I try to make a mental note of the fictional sites so when I see a link back to them, I know it isn’t true) or taking the minute to just look into it further if the information you’re seeing / reading sounds a little far-fetched. Why have we reached the point in our society where we are so quick to accept a person is bad, a person is secretly racist, the person(s) involved did a bad thing. We assume the worst a lot quicker than assuming the best anymore. I admit I am guilty of it sometimes. Is there so much wrong today it is easy to accept it? That saddens me a little.

My last thought….and this is probably the one troubling me even more; is SOMEONE wrote the words Michael Kors assumably said. The article stated:

“Just for the sake of a sale I have to deal with women like Nicki Minaj? I’d rather not. After all my fans made me money, It’s only fair I be honest and let them know how I really feel,” said [the] CEO of Michael Kors on his twitter account.

The fashion industry is shocked from Michael Kor’s Ceo offensive statement when he said “I’m tired of pretending to like blacks.”

Early Tuesday morning Michael Kors took to his twitter page to express his true feelings about blacks. Considering every black person either has or knows someone with a MK watch, MK Purse or MK key chain this might affect Michael Kors sales.

“I can’t stomach the thought of my Michael Kors purses being stuffed with synthetic hair, weave or what ever else my fans are into.” Said Michael Kors.

Is it just me or is there a lot of HATE in those words? It made me wonder just how full of racism is the person who wrote it? Someone used the power of a fictional accusation to write how they felt. The last part about synthetic hair, weaves, etc really hit me. It just seemed to ooze with hatred.

Someone who hides their racism behind fictional writing to the extent this writer did is someone I would be more concerned about than the person who shows their ignorance or racism openly.

I have said it so many times and I will continue to say it. If our country would just learn to RESPECT other people, we wouldn’t have so many issues. You don’t have to like everyone if you don’t want to, but be respectful of one another. Have a respect for self. Have a respect for life. So many problems would be solved with respect.

Be mindful of what you share on social media. Take a minute to verify. Look to see where the source is. Here is a good article with the list of fake news websites.

Remember, just because it looks legit, doesn’t always MEAN it is legit. Use caution. Use thought. Most of all, protect the share button like you would want someone to do for you.

When a gun kills, the blame game starts but it stops too early

I was reading / watching an article on NBC today about a young child who killed his younger brother with a gun in his grandfather’s home.

NBC News; Child kills 9 month old brother

This is a HORRIBLE story, one no parent should ever have to experience.  My heart goes out to them.  This blog isn’t about this family in particular but about all of the blame going to the gun.  Let’s get one thing straight, a gun, by itself, cannot kill someone.  You need a bullet in the chamber.  You need a way for the trigger to be pulled, usually a human but I have heard stories where an animal was too close and played with the trigger.

This story shared a lot of problems that exist in today’s world and I want to break them down a little more.

*The gun was loaded.  WHY was the gun loaded?  Even when used for protection, if the gun is not within your control, it should NOT be loaded.  You can have a bullets in the magazine and have the magazine located within a close proximity so you can grab them quickly if needed, but they should never be put together when you are not handling it, especially when there are children around.

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*The parents said they did not know a gun was in the house but also said they grew up with guns.  If you grew up with one or both parents owning guns, why would there be an assumption guns weren’t still in the home.  Unless your parent has changed DRASTICALLY, it is probably understood there are guns in the home.  I think the blame is on all adults for not asking / communicating correctly about weapons.

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*You could open the safe easily.  Umm, then it isn’t a safe!  Don’t get me wrong, I grew up with rifles available in the home and they were not in a safe.  We knew not to touch them.  If we DID touch them, it was with permission and we were well aware it had the capabilities of taking a life, be it animal or human.  We were raised to not point the barrel at anything we were not prepared to shoot and kill.  My issue is having the false sense of security keeping a gun in a safe that is a safe in appearance only.  If you are going to use a gun safe, it better be a SAFE!

*The boys were told to not go in the room, but boys will be boys.  REALLY?!?!?  Are you kidding me?  Shame on any adult with that mentality.  How about raising your children to RESPECT boundaries and rules.  How about teaching young children about the firearm in the room.  If you aren’t willing to teach the child about the firearm and about the danger of the firearm, then PUT IT SOMEPLACE HIGH, HIDDEN, AND SAFE!!!  Better yet, if you aren’t willing to teach the child about the firearm, take it out of the house while they are in your home.  If we take the mentality, boys will be boys, then we are saying we have an expectation of boys doing just about anything.  I am willing to bet a boy can understand the concept of touching a stove means you will get burned, so they could understand the concept of a gun having the ability to harm or kill someone or something.  I don’t believe boys are the only ones capable of having an accident like this, I was focused on the “boys will be boys” comment.  It is just as easy for it to happen to a little girl as it is a boy if she is not taught about safely handling a gun.  I am a woman, I enjoy shooting.  I was a girl and I handled bb guns / rifles.

*Maybe he learned to shoot a gun from television.  You know, we have a crazy idea of wanting our television shows to be as realistic as possible.  We want the gun fight to look like a real gunfight.  We want death to look like a person really dead.  How can we expect a young child to truly understand a gun kills if they are allowed to watch these realistic shows and they see the person later on another show.  What discussions are taking place to explain television isn’t the same as real life.  It is pretend, even when it looks so real.

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I don’t necessarily agree with the “rapper” comment, but the concept speaks volumes.  We have to educate instead of television being the educator.

Having discussions with children, teaching them to be respectful of adults and rules, explaining the power and danger of any type of weapon, it doesn’t have to just be a gun; it can be a knife, an ax, any weapon, are all ways to stop these situations from happening.  We started with BB Guns, we had the SAME rules for the BB Gun as we had for the other rifles.  We were never allowed to shoot at birds, animals of any kind.  The rule in our home was, “If you aim at it, be prepared to kill it, if you kill it, be prepared to eat it”  The idea was teaching us you didn’t kill just for a sport, you could shoot for sport; we shot at soup cans, blown up balloons, anything that did not have life attached to it.  We were also taught to respect hunting seasons, if you wanted to hunt, you hunted for the meat, not for the sport of hunting.  Handguns aren’t used for hunting usually, but if you instilled the same set of rules with the handguns, the number of accidental shootings would decrease drastically.

Guns, when handled responsibly and RESPECTED BY ALL, can be safe around children and adults.

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