"My First Rifle": juguete que mata
A two-year-old girl in Kentucky is dead after an accidental shooting by her five-year-old brother. The brother of Caroline Starks was playing with a .22 caliber single-shot Crickett rifle he had been given as a gift.
Niño de 5 mata a su hermana de 2 en Kentucky con rifle "de juguete"
El incidente ha sido un accidente y se ha producido mientras la madre estaba en el porche
Jueves, 2 de mayo del 2013
RICARDO MIR DE FRANCIA / Washington
Puede que los intentos de la Casa Blanca para endurecer las leyes que regulan el comercio de armas hayan muerto en el Senado a las primeras de cambio, pero la cultura estadounidense de las armas sigue cobrándose sus víctimas inocentes. La última es una niña de dos años de Kentucky, abatida el martes accidentalmente por su hermano de cinco. El niño le disparó con un rifle del calibre 22 que había recibido como regalo de cumpleaños. El rifle lo fabrica una empresa de pistolas y rifles para niños con sede en Pensilvania que tiene como eslogan 'Mi primer rifle'.
La madre estaba en casa cuando se produjo el incidente, pero había salido unos minutos al porche cuando escuchó el disparo. Según el forense Gary Cumberland que ha examinado el caso, el rifle estaba en un rincón y la familia no sabía que estaba cargado. "Los accidentes ocurren con las armas. Pensaban que estaba descargado, pero se equivocaron", ha señalado Cumberland. "Es una de esas pesadillas recurrentes, algo que ocurre en un instante cuando te das la vuelta", ha apuntado el portavoz de la policía estatal de Kentucky, Bill Gregory.
En muchas zonas rurales del país es relativamente habitual que los niños tengan sus primeras armas cuando ni siquiera saben bien las tablas de multiplicar. "En esta parte del país no es extraño que un niño de 5 años tenga una pistola o que los padres se la dejen", ha explicado Gregory. El arma utilizada era una Crickett, fabricada por Keystone Sportin Arms, una empresa de Pensilvania que produjo 60.000 rifles Crickett y Chipmunk en el 2008, según puede leerse en su web.
Auque también fabrica armas para adultos, la mayoría de sus productos están dirigidos al mercado infantil. Algunos de los rifles tienen la culata o el guardamanos decorados con colores chillones. Y no hace falta comprarlos por correo o en una armería. Los supermercados Walmart venden varios modelos de carabinas sintéticas rosas, aunque su precio no aparecía el martes en la web de la compañía.
"El propósito de KSA es promover el uso seguro de las armas en las mentes de los jóvenes y ayudarles a obtener el conocimiento y el respeto que la caza y las actividades de tiro requieren y merecen", puede leerse en la web del fabricante.
Brother, 5, Kills Infant Sister With Children’s Rifle
A two-year-old girl in Kentucky is dead after an accidental shooting by her five-year-old brother. The brother of Caroline Starks was playing with a .22 caliber single-shot Crickett rifle he had been given as a gift. The childrens’ mother was outside at the time and said she did not realize the gun still had a shell inside the chamber. The rifle is specifically made for and marketed to kids under the brand name of "My First Rifle." The website of its manufacturer, Pennsylvania-based Keystone Sporting Arms, shows photos of scores of children posing with the guns and says the weapon is meant to "instill safety in the minds of youth shooters."
Caroline Sparks was playing with her brother, Kristian, when he accidentally fired his Crickett rifle at his sister in their Cumberland County home, police said. Charges have not been ruled out in the case.
BY ERIK ORTIZ / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
THURSDAY, MAY 2, 2013, 12:00 PM
Caroline Sparks, 2, with her brother, Kristian. The boy shot his sister by accident Tuesday. Officials have not ruled out filing charges.
A single bullet to the chest killed the 2-year-old Kentucky girl shot by her 5-year-old brother clutching a “My First Rifle” — a tragic accident that could lead to charges.
Kristian Sparks shot his sister, Caroline, with a .22-caliber rifle around 1 p.m. Tuesday inside the family’s mobile home in rural Burkesville, Cumberland County. Their mother, Stephanie Sparks, was outside on the porch pouring grease out of a frying pan when she heard the gun go off, Kentucky State Police said.
A trooper didn’t initially anticipate charges being filed in the case, but said Wednesday that could change, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
“I think there is still some information that we don’t fully understand,” said Trooper Billy Gregory, adding that a grand jury could have the final say.
An autopsy on the tiny toddler was scheduled for Wednesday, with a memorial visitation set for Friday and a funeral service to be held Saturday.
Cumberland County resident Jeff Booher, 53, said learning how to use a gun is a rite of passage for many children who live in this area of southern Kentucky near the Tennessee border.
DYLAN LOVAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The mobile home in Cumberland County, Ky., where 2-year-old girl Caroline Sparks was shot by her 5-year-old brother, Kristian, with a gun designed for children.
He taught his three children — ages 9, 12 and 22 — how to handle a gun when they were 4 or 5.
“People learn how to shoot before they learn how to read,” he told the Daily News.
Booher, who runs a tire shop, said he knows the Sparks family and described Caroline as a “little angel.”
Since guns are such a major part of life in the area, it’s rare that someone would be accidentally killed by a firearm.
“I think people will be a lot more careful after what happened,” Booher said.
Burkesville, Ky., near the Tennessee border, is a rural area where residents say it’s not unusual for a child to learn how to shoot when they’re 4 or 5 years old.
Officials identified the single-shot rifle as a Cricket, which is produced by Keystone Sporting Arms in Pennsylvania. It sells the weapons in a variety of colors, from hot pink to brown to a swirl of red, white and blue.
Its website has a long list of testimonials from parents who talk about how grateful they are to be able to go shooting with their children. All of the guns have safety locks, and some even have ones that require a key.
The company’s phone went unanswered Thursday.
Officials said Kristian’s rifle — given as a birthday present last year — is normally kept in a corner of the Sparks' home. Although the safety lock was on, the family says they didn’t realize a shell was still inside the firearm.
In Cumberland County, as elsewhere in Kentucky, local newspapers feature photos of children proudly displaying their kills, including turkey and deer. Even one of the latest reality shows on CMT, “Guntucky,” features a family-owned gun range in Kentucky.
Crickett rifles are sold in an assortment of styles and colors. They’re designed for children and called, ‘My First Rifle.’
Ruby Wright, who teaches hunter safety classes in Cumberland County, said children younger than 9 can sit in, but they can’t get certification. She also coaches 4-H shooting sports, requiring those children to be 9 as well.
Cumberland County Judge Executive John Phelps said he knew the family well. He said the father, Chris Sparks, works as a logger at a mill and also shoes horses.
The family lives in a gray mobile home on a long, winding road, surrounded by rolling hills and farmland that’s been in the family since the 1930s. Toys, including a small truck and a basketball goal, were on the front porch, but no one was home Wednesday.
There’s a house across the street, but the next-closest neighbor lives over a hill.
Family friend Logan Wells said he received a frantic call telling him that the little girl was in an accident and to come quickly.
Caroline Sparks, 2, was killed on Tuesday when her 5-year-old brother, Kristian, accidentally shot her in the chest with his rifle, police said.
When he got to the hospital, Caroline was already dead. “She passed just when I got there,” Wells said.
Sharon Rengers, a longtime child advocate at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, said making and marketing weapons specifically for children was “mind-boggling.”
“It’s like, oh, my God,” she said, “we’re having a big national debate whether we want to check somebody’s background, but we’re going to offer a 4-year-old a gun and expect something good from that?”
State Rep. Robert R. Damron, a Democrat and an outspoken gun rights advocate in Kentucky, said the problem is not guns, but the parents who do not teach gun safety and responsibility.
“Why single out firearms? Why not talk about all the other things that endanger children, too?” he said. “The Second Amendment doesn’t give anybody carte blanche freedom to put children and juveniles at risk.”
With News Wire Services