When was the last time that you were legit anxious? Not “I’m about to give a speech”-anxious or even “I’m about to propose”-anxious, but shivers in the depths of your soul anxious? For me, that happened earlier this morning when I came across a video of young, 4 year-old, yt child named Maverick, handling what looked to be an automatic weapon (excuse me if my gun knowledge isn’t up to par) and received encouragement by a gun enthusiast named Kendall Jones at the 2018 NRA Annual Meeting in Dallas last week.
Maverick is only four years old, yet, already knows how to expertly load a weapon without hesitation. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t caught off guard when I watched the video. Watching this video is troubling because in 2015 alone, there were at least 278 unintentional shootings at the hands of young children and teenagers, according to Everytown for Gun Safety’s (a gun control advocacy group that tracks these shootings, largely through news reports) database. Most of these are accidents, but can you imagine Maverick getting mad and just grabbing the gun to shoot them? Or what if he’s getting picked on in the classroom? Is this what we’ve come to in the world?
Another thing that trips me out about this video is the amount of yt privilege that comes along with it. As I watched this child “adorably” load the gun, I couldn’t help but think how that could never be my son. I’m sure the parents would argue that they’re teaching young Maverick how to protect himself, but the fact of the matter is, I don’t even have this option for my children. I can’t help but think about Jordan Crawford III who was killed in a Wal-Mart while holding a toy gun. Or Tamir Rice who was gunned down after people called the cops on him, thinking that he had a real gun in his hand which turned out to just be an airsoft pistol. I don’t think it would be deemed “cute”, “adorable”, or considered “good parenting”, if the children were Black. Interestingly enough, a couple of years ago, Derrick Grace II was highlighted by multiple media outlets for teaching his children how to shoot guns and other knowledge not found in classrooms. Check out a video here. Look at this lovely pic of Derrick and his daughter Derrica:
They say never look in the comments section, yet one look and Derrick is being chastised for teaching his children how to shoot guns and handle themselves:
Some people feel that his methods are unconventional, however, I wonder if they’d care if he wasn’t Black. I can’t imagine members of the NRA saying that they’re “cute” for knowing how to shoot guns. I didn’t see too many people saying that they thought that Derrick was being a good parent in the comments section. I applaud this father for taking matters into his own hands and educating his children how he feels best serves their needs as a family. I wonder how some of the NRA/gun supporters would respond to this photo and video of Derrick’s family loading and unloading weapons. It seems that they’re usually for gun rights as long as those rights are not in Black hands.
Alas, Maverick will go on being called “adorable” for his weapon prowess, while some of those same people may deem Derrica and her brother heathens or other less than nice names. I wonder if Maverick’s family is teaching him to “retreat at all costs” like Derrick is teaching his children. I wonder if Maverick will be taught how to appropriately address conflict without violence or the meaning behind the #MarchForOurLives protests/walkouts that took place across the nation. Only time will tell…