It is every parent's nightmare to lose a child, especially at the hands of a tragic accident. That's what happened to Michigan father Brian Holbrook when his 3-year-old son shot himself in the head with a gun that was not properly stored away. However, when Holbrook turned to Facebook to proclaim his continued support for the Second Amendment in the wake of his devastation, it caused many to question where we draw the line at our devotion to our beliefs?
For Holbrook, his point was that though his family is going through this incredibly difficult time, it was a lack of caution in securing the weapon that was responsible for his son's death, not the right to own a gun itself. If he really wants to hold on to his beliefs about the Second Amendment even though a gun killed his child, that's one thing. But the problem here is that he took the incident as an opportunity to do so.
Holbrook wrote, "I have nothing wrong with guns it's with this country was built on. I will still support the Second Amendment. All I ask is that everyone please, please safety first lock it up and put it out of reach of anyone that has no business being around a gun especially kids. Gun safety people! My boy would still b here if it was put away like it should have been."
The implications of this case stem far beyond this one isolated incident and call into question the larger debate on gun control. According to Holbrook, the blame is to be put on gun safety.
His argument is that if the gun had been properly stowed, Damon would have never shot himself. Accordingly, the accident alone does not warrant stripping Holbrook's or his friend's right to own a firearm. A child can hurt or even kill itself on a knife or walk into a pool and drown. Legislation cannot be a replacement for proper safety and diligent parenting.
The incident facing the Hollbrooks is not an isolated one. Children are far more likely to be killed by a gun accident than they are in a mass shooting. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, gun accidents in the home are 15 times more deadly to children as infections, and twice as deadly as cancer. If the ultimate goal for gun owners is to have autonomy over their own safety, perhaps eliminating guns in the home altogether could be a more logical answer.
Debates over proper gun safety vs. gun control aside, it is Holbrook's timing and use of social media that is the most questionable. Given the rocky political terrain over gun control, especially in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, perhaps Holbrook foresaw how his child's death could provide fuel for the anti-gun constituency. But in reaffirming his belief in his rights, he inherently made his son's death a more politicized, more public story. Times of grief are not a place for a soapbox.