What happens when eight children are let into a room where a real gun is partially hidden, lodged between a seat cushion?
A videotaped experiment, conducted by a television news station (KWWL-TV), Waterloo Police Department and with mothers of preschool and kindergarten aged kids, gathered and watched from another room to see how their kids would react when finding an unloaded gun.
After the kids were let into the room, it took just 15 seconds for one of them to find the gun. The gun, once found, was being passed around and pointed at other children. Everyone, especially the moms, were visibly shaken.
“This is typical behavior for young kids. Curiosity. Everything is a toy in their world. Unless we educate them and let them know sometimes it’s not.”
~ Lieutenant Aaron McClelland of the Waterloo Police Department
At the very end of the dramatic 7-minute video, the reporter shared a compelling caveat regarding the two children in the room who didn’t pick up the gun.
“Those two children are the ones who have guns in their homes and their parents have talked extensively about guns so therefore their curiosity is gone,” she said. But the text of the station’s story made no mention of this fact, only noting that the mothers of the two kids who didn’t pick up the gun were “still very much shaken.”
“I was really upset that he didn’t find someone and tell them,” one mother told KWWL, with the other tearfully adding she thought her daughter “would be more proactive. Sorry. And tell somebody. That was scary for mommy to see how quickly that escalated — tell a parent right away.”
McClelland emphasized that parents need to talk to their kids: “Until they know that sometimes it’s not a toy, these accidents will happen.”
“Whatever your position is on gun control, this is an example of why gun safety should be taught and practiced at all levels.”
~ Jack Manza