Shooting by 9-year-old girl stirs gun debate
அமெரிக்காவில் 9 வயது சிறுமி ஒருவருக்கு துப்பாக்கிச் சுடும் பயிற்சி அளித்த போது தவறுதலாக குண்டு பாய்ந்ததில் முன்னாள் ராணுவ வீரர் ஒருவர் பரிதாபமாக உயிரிழந்தார். அமெரிக்காவை சேர்ந்த முன்னாள் ராணுவ வீரர் சார்லஸ் வாகா (39). லேக்கவுசு நகரை சேர்ந்த இவர் அரிசோனாவில் உள்ள ஒயிட் கில்ஸ் பகுதியில் உள்ள திறந்த வெளி துப்பாக்கி சுடும் பயிற்சி மைதானத்தில் பயிற்சியாளராக பணி புரிந்து வந்தார்.
சமீபத்தில் அங்கு நியூ ஜெர்சியை சேர்ந்த தம்பதி ஒன்று தங்களின் 9 வயது மகள் ஒருவரை துப்பாக்கிச் சுடும் பயிற்சி பெறுவதற்காக சேர்த்தனர். அச்சிறுமிக்கு சார்லஸ் தான் துப்பாக்கிச் சுடும் பயிற்சி அளித்து வந்துள்ளார். இந்நிலையில் சம்பவத்தன்று இயந்திரத் துப்பாக்கி ஒன்றின் மூலம் சார்லஸ் பயிற்சி அளித்துக் கொண்டிருந்தார். அப்போது தவறுதலாக துப்பாக்கிக் குண்டு சார்லஸ் மீது பாய்ந்தது.
மற்ற பயிற்சியாளர்கள் உடனடியாக சார்லசை லாஸ் வேகாஸ் பல்கலைக்கழக மருத்துவமனைக்கு கொண்டு சென்றனர். அங்கு அவரைப் பரிசோதித்த மருத்துவர்கள் சார்லஸ் இறந்து விட்டதாக தெரிவித்தனர். இந்தச் சம்பவம் தொடர்பான வீடியோ ஒன்றை தற்போது அமெரிக்க போலீசார் வெளியிட்டுள்ளனர்.
Shooting by 9-year-old girl stirs gun debate
The accidental shooting death of a firing-range instructor by a 9-year-old girl with an Uzi has intensified a debate over youngsters and guns, with many Americans wondering what sort of parents would let a child handle a submachine gun. Instructor Charles Vacca, aged 39, was standing next to the girl on Monday at the Last Stop range in Arizona, south of Las Vegas, when she squeezed the trigger. The recoil wrenched the Uzi upward, and Vacca was shot in the head. Prosecutors say they will not file charges in the case. Many American youth grow up around guns, and taking part in their first hunt with parents is a rite of passage in rural America. But giving a child an automatic Uzi is a different story. Gerry Hills, founder of Arizonans for gun safety, a group seeking to reduce gun violence, said that it was reckless to let the girl handle such a powerful weapon and that tighter regulations regarding children and guns are needed. “We have better safety standards for who gets to ride a roller coaster at an amusement park”, Hills said. Referring to the girl’s parents, Hills said: “I just don’t see any reason in the world why you would allow a 9-year-old to put her hands on an Uzi.” The identities of the girl and her family have not been released. Sam Scarmardo, who operates the outdoor range in the desert, said on Wednesday that the parents had signed waivers saying they understood the rules and were standing nearby, video-recording their daughter, when the accident happened. Parents Investigators released 27 seconds of the footage showing the girl from behind as she fires at a black-silhouette target. The footage, which does not show the instructor actually being shot, helped feed the furore on social media and beyond. “I have regret we let this child shoot, and I have regret that Charlie was killed in the incident”, Scarmardo said. He said he doesn’t know what went wrong, pointing out that Vacca was an Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. Jace Zack, chief deputy for the Mohave County attorney’s office, said the instructor was probably the most criminally negligent person involved in the accident for having allowed the child to hold the gun without enough training. “The parents aren’t culpable”, Zack said. “They trusted the instructor to know what he was doing, and the girl could not possibly have comprehended the potential dangers involved.” In 2008, an 8-year-old boy died after accidentally shooting himself in the head with an Uzi at a gun expo near Springfield, Massachusetts. Christopher Bizilj was firing at pumpkins when the gun kicked back. A former Massachusetts police chief whose company co-sponsored the gun show was later acquitted of involuntary manslaughter. Two gun experts said on Wednesday that what types of firearms a child can handle depend largely on the strength and experience of the child, though the notion of giving a 9-year-old a fully automatic Uzi made some queasy. “So much of it depends on the maturity of the child and the experience of the range officer”, said Joe Waldron, a shooting instructor and legislative director of the Washington State Rifle and Pistol Association. Dave Workman, senior editor at thegunmag.com and a spokesperson for the citizens committee for the right to keep and bear arms, said it can be safe to let children shoot an automatic weapon if a properly trained adult is helping them hold it. After viewing the video of the Arizona shooting, Workman said Vacca appeared to have tried to help the girl maintain control by placing his left hand under the weapon. But automatic weapons tend to recoil upward, he noted. “If it was the first time she’d ever handled a full-auto firearm, it’s a big surprise when that gun continues to go off”, said Workman, a firearms instructor for 30 years. “I’ve even seen adults stunned by it.” Lindsey Zwicker of the San Francisco-based law centre to prevent gun violence said that after the 2008 tragedy in Massachusetts, Connecticut adopted a law banning anyone under 16 from handling machine guns at shooting ranges. “This is an action states can do to prevent something like this from happening again”, she said. Scarmardo said his policy of allowing children 8 and older to fire guns under adult supervision and the watchful eye of an instructor is standard practice in the industry. The range’s policies are under review, he said. Arizona has long had a strong pro-gun culture, including weapon ranges that promote events for children and families. Some of these ranges offer people the thrill of firing weapons such as the Israeli-made Uzi that are heavily restricted and difficult for members of the public to obtain.