Girl aged 9 accidentally shoots her gun instructor in the head

girl and gun

Guess where? Yep, you’ve guessed it, America.

I’m so flabbergasted by this; I’m almost unable to write about it. I could join dots; piece things together, quote facts and figures, but really are they necessary?

All you need really do is read this heading over and over again, and tell me whether you think it is perfectly natural to bear arms and show a girl how to fire a gun when she is 9, never mind at all?

The facts are it was an Uzi, an Uzi for god sake. Not just a gun, not a little gun but a sub-machine gun. It is favoured for short bursts of blanket automatic fire. In this tragic accident, I initially thought the gun was in ‘Single Shot’ mode and slipped somehow into ‘fully automatic’ mode but it didn’t. The instructor, called Charles Vacca, switched it into automatic mode and handed it back to her after she had already fired it in ‘Single Shot’ mode.

I’m sorry but……Jesus Christ, really? The gun weighs 3.2kg or 7.72 lbs. That is quite heavy and it is quite a large weapon too, not slight. Have you ever held a gun? Ever felt the kick from one when it is fired?

I’ve held a gun, but never fired one, and I’ve been assured the kick from even a small gun is quite substantial. Even a small gun has a substantial weight to it. And you’ll often see actors who aren’t even firing live rounds blink as they fire even when used to it because it is still quite a shock to the system.

I’m going to say this one fact again whilst I write this…. She was 9. Nine…… 9??????

Bullets and Burgers, yes, that’s the name of the place in Arizona where this happened has an age restriction of 8. Yes, 8. An eight year old accompanied can fire a gun. Her parents were filming the event.

I bet some eight year old can’t even get on amusement rides at that age……

A mid size saucepan full of water weighs about 5 lbs.  Two pounds lighter than this gun does. Hold that in one hand. It is quite heavy even for me and I’m 6 foot and weigh 14 stone. Do you think your 9 year old son or daughter would be strong enough to lift it in one hand? If so, would you ask them to walk around the house with this saucepan if the water in it was boiling? Would you feel they were safe?

Now imagine it was a sub-machine gun instead, and she wasn’t trained to hold it properly. As the gun was fired, it will lift up, and even if she was holding it correctly and supporting herself I doubt she would have the strength to hold it. And the initial momentum would have been one hell of a shock to control.

I’m not even going to write any more on this subject. Except to say my thoughts go out to the family of the instructor who died, who was an ex soldier. And my thoughts also go out to the little girl, who while following her parent’s guidance, has now killed someone. Even though she can’t legally drive, smoke, drink, or fornicate.

To think anymore about this is upsetting and actually makes me angry. Mr Obama, I know your tenure is tough and I know even if you change gun laws once you’re out of office they will probably be changed right back again, but…..

If America was ever waiting for a reason to change their gun law, not that there hasn’t been enough already, now…..right now would be a very good time.

Who agrees?

Mark Scotchford © 27/08/2014

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Hurry up now
Are you sure you have the time?
To read this poem
To read every line

Your texts are short
Abbreviate every word
Don’t you think it’s strange?
A little absurd

Everything so quick
Not a moment to waste
Nothing hand written
Just cut and paste

You save your effort
For the things that don’t matter
Every movement has motive
You network not natter

What could you have done?
Instead of reading this
Arranged another meeting
Or had a passionate kiss?

First written 28th August 2008 © Mark Scotchford

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The Samaritans Recorded Helpline

Thank you for calling the Samaritans
To talk about killing yourself press 1
Press 2 if you have already begun

To talk about depression press 3
And remind yourself
This service is free

If you feel angry
Please press 4
Or alternatively
Sign up for war

Press 5 if you want to stay alive
Press 6 if you don’t care
Don’t press 7
No one is there

Press 8 if it’s too late
Press 9 if there’s time

If you just want to hear someone’s voice
Please press 10
This recorded message will begin again

First written 23/04/2004 © Mark Scotchford

Please note, this poem is in no way meant to undervalue or undermine the work the Samaritans do or the people who are left with nowhere to turn but call them. It is a mere tongue in cheek look at how their recorded voice greeting would be if they had one. As everything else now does.

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What is success? What makes you happy? Are they the same thing?

C’mon, let’s get some feedback on this, post some comments, and let’s engage. What is important to you? What do you call success?

Are you on a 6 figure salary?
Are you overdrawn?
Do you have a nice car and house?
A job you like or hate?
Do you have a good life with your family, partner or children?
Do you laugh a lot?
Are you single?
Are you lonely?

To you, how many of these questions and their answers best describes to you what success means? And what about being happy? Do you become happy after success or does being successful make you happy?

For me, they are kind of tenuously linked. Generally I’d consider myself to be a happy person. Of late, that has changed. I’m a bit subdued, a bit peeved off. Yes, I am overdrawn, yes I don’t earn enough, and these are all contributing factors.

They are not the main reasons I don’t deem myself to be happy or successful though, or whatever order of preference you wish to put them in. The main reasons for my subdued nature are my lack of fulfilment, achievement, and generally, reaching my potential, in anything I wish to do.

Now you may shout from the rooftops of your gated private road residence that the only person I can hold responsible for all this is myself. And, I hear you, loud and clear. Am I allowed to disagree though, just slightly?

Our lives are a mixture of luck, chance, childhood, ruthlessness, sheer determination, hard work, toil, being in the right place at the right time, and knowing the right people. Also having good contacts, colleagues, and friends all play their part.

Indeed, studies have shown that your chance of success can be linked to whether you smile a lot, have many friends, are attractive, and wear bright clothes. Research show that those that keep friends from school and add to that circle of friends rather than deplete it, go on to achieve more than those who don’t.

Now, which of any of the above applies to you? Which one of these would you say is your forte? I reckon if you are successful, depending on how you define it, then I’m going to guess that most of these things can be applied to you. Am I right?

That’s good, I am genuinely pleased for you and I know I could learn a lot from you, but you must understand, it is difficult for me. Why?

Well, principally and fundamentally, it is because I’m a bit of an ar*e. They say you can make your own luck, which I do agree with. I guess, and I’m going out on a limb here, being an ar*e i generally a drawback. Not finishing things I start, not having the conviction to see anything through, not having confidence, being quite lazy, and scorning any outstretched arm of assistance from anyone probably hasn’t helped in my quest? Could I be right? Well thanks, you’ve helped a lot.

I have many problems with how others achieve success, what it is, and my own frugal attempts at it. As an example, take a professional footballer. 140 thousand pounds a week, an incredible lifestyle and doing what they enjoy for a living. Is this successful? Ummmmm, I guess so. Kind of a no brainer really isn’t it? But are they happy? Haha. As somebody famous once said, ‘It is easier being sad with lots of money around.’

I do agree with this, but there are numerous other factors to consider. Being lonely makes a huge difference to being happy. Lots of money can make you happy but if there is no one to share it with, is there a point to having it? And, furthermore, you can be happy sharing a sunset with someone you are totally in love with, and that is free, so how does money assist success there?

Another very important thing that is overlooked is health. You can have all the money in the world, and you can be successful, but once your health deteriorates it doesn’t mean much at all. Sure, wealth can prolong your health and even contribute to retrieving it should it start to go, but it can only go so far. The rest is nature and god’s will, whatever that may be.

Humour, making others laugh, others laughing with you, and occasionally at you, may not be defined as success but this can certainly make you happy. So is there a clear definition?

I guess I should just look in a dictionary.

The thing is though; I’m fussy about how I would be successful. I wouldn’t like to be dishonest.

And whilst I’m going off no clear discernible tangent, may I throw in the Lottery or Euro Millions? A win here would be great wouldn’t it? Would it make you happy or successful, both or neither? I know there are plenty in business who succeed by ruthless, unscrupulous means, but nonetheless, I wouldn’t like to cheat at obtaining success. I’d much rather something I did made me successful rather than it just landed in my lap.

Success though, can be transparent and fickle, however tangible.

Take our friend the footballer, can his salary be justified? Damien Hirst is worth over 200 million. Is he an artist? I don’t think so. I think he is just a very clever businessman. He has property and all sorts, a multitude of investments. He is no doubt successful. To me though, he is very very lucky. And so are the Cheeky Girls. Haha.

Am I blurring fame with success? I guess I could be. Come on everyone, think big. Actually, I think I am trying to gauge success in terms you might agree with and understand.

Really though, I reckon if you are earning just enough, if you live in a property you own, or are trying to, if you have a wife or husband or boy or girlfriend that you love and who loves you. If you have children that love, adore and respect you, which more often than not have smiles on their faces. If you generally have a smile on your face, have a good trustworthy circle of friends. And if you have a job you like, and are good at, then I think you are doing pretty darn well. So well done, good for you, give yourself a pat on the back. And tell me, what your secret is. Oh no, have I already mentioned it?

Mark Scotchford © 25/08/2014

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To Myself At 16

Does she know you fancy her?
What about the one from last week?
And your mate tried it on too
Oh what a sneak

Those exams
They really are a bitch
Whatever your plans
Won’t go without a hitch

You’ll have to try
Even just a little bit
Not important why
And don’t give a shit

So while you’re out there in the sea
And those waves are breaking
Remember you’re a lucky bugger
Life’s yours for the taking

Mark Scotchford © 07/08/2014

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Dream Or Real?

The sunset in one direction
The sea in the other
Neither as beautiful
As my lover

Your smile is warming
Like the sea
Your touch is calming
Where I want to be

I feel your breath as you sleep
My hand lightly holding your wrist
Remembering how you make me laugh
And when we first kissed

Mark Scotchford © Just found this in a pad, written 24/05/2008

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You hardly notice me
I always see you
In amongst the traffic and noise
You’re a magnificent view

Always smart and salacious
Stand out in a crowd
As we both make our way
You walk tall and proud

I don’t have a yacht
Or a penthouse suite
There’s no private jet
I’d still like to meet

Mark Scotchford © Just found this written in a pad. Dated 17/10/2008

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