Thursday, July 13, 2006

Police Help Teens Love Guns

Maybe I'm overreacting, but the following picture disgusts me. Taken from today's Democrat & Chronicle as part of a story on Webster and Irondequoit teens taking part in Summer Police Academies, it shows a 13-year-old girl learning how to fire a handgun. Isn't this exactly what we don't want for our children? Haven't we glorified guns enough in this country?

The story leads off with an equally disgusting introduction:

"Ian Urriola dreams of becoming a forensic scientist, but should consider sharpshooter as another career option. In his first try with a real gun, the 14-year-old Webster Schroeder High School freshman fired a bull's-eye with a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun from about 25 yards at the Webster Police Department firing range during the agency's Student Police Academy Camp. "It felt good," said Urriola, one of 22 youths in eighth through 12th grade enrolled in the weeklong program."

Should we be happy about 14-year-old boys just entering adolescence who, thanks to this ridiculous program, feel good about firing a semi-automatic handgun? Now that he's had a taste of the false sense of power that a gun provides, what's to stop him from raiding his father's gunsafe and bringing one to school? I imagine people would be more offended by this if it were inner-city kids learning how to fire guns from RPD officers, but because they're sweet little white suburban kids, we don't bat an eyelash at the obvious short-sightedness of this potentially dangerous program. Residents of Irondequoit and Webster should not only be ashamed that their towns are exposing such young minds to this type of activity, they should be outraged that at least some part of their tax dollars are being spent on contributing to our nation's pathetic obsession with guns.

"We want them to at least understand what police work is all about, and it's not just what you see on TV," said (Irondequoit Police Sgt. Larry) Donk. "It's also an opportunity to enforce some rights and wrongs." In an ideal world, sure, but this world is far from ideal. The police of all people should know that. Do they have this program in Littleton, Colorado (home to Columbine) too?