A Greenville, South Carolina, family is burying their 3-year-old son today, less than a week after he was killed when a neon pink gun he mistook for a toy discharged.
Temorej Smith died Friday in a bedroom of his family’s apartment as he and his 7-year-old sister were playing with the pink handgun. The children’s parents were out of the house at the time, but their grandparents reportedly were sitting in a nearby living room when the weapon suddenly went off and Temorej sustained a fatal gunshot wound to the head.
Greenville Police ruled the child’s death an accident and declined to press charges, but they are still investigating the incident. Police spokesman Johnathan Bragg said Temorej’s death illustrates the importance of securing weapons.
“If you have guns, if you own guns mostly we would prefer you have them in a lock box,” Bragg told the local NBC news affiliate. “At least have them out of the reach of children.”
Um, you think? Frankly, I’m still stuck on trying to figure out why someone with children—or anyone, for that matter—would buy a hot pink gun, much less have it laying around for the babies to find and use. I mean, I can’t even bring myself to allow my daughters to play with colorful water guns out of fear that someone will get confused and think they’re about to squeeze off a round. This might seem extreme to you, but I’m a New Yorker who worked as a reporter in the 90s, when cops were killing little elementary school-aged black boys, talmbout, “Wait—we thought his red water gun was a Glock.” I don’t want any kind of confusion for anyone involved—my girls, my neighbors, passersby and especially the police.
Apparently, though, buying colorful “girly” guns is a thing, particularly now that the gun industry, ever trying to expand its buying base and line its pockets, is going hard to convince us women that the only way we could possibly be safe is to pack a piece in our purses. Google “pink guns” and you’ll find, literally, screens-full of sites that can custom-craft cutesy weapons—from cheap Saturday Night Specials to AK-47s and everything in between—specifically designed to appeal to the ladies. I even found a site where a gun dealer makes a specific appeal to moms looking to get their Barbie- and Hello Kitty-loving, “girly” daughters interested in the “practical aspects of life, such as weaponry and self-defense.” The site’s offerings? “A collection that will make your child shriek with joy!” including “My Little M4 Carbine” rifles, “Hello Kitty” AK-47s, “Mother Theresa inspired” rocket launchers and Claymore mines in signature Martha Stewart colors. (I’d like to add that all I needed was a credit card and any one of those guns would have been shipped to me with a few strokes of the keyboard.)
Dead Fish Eyes.
Of course, it’s all fun and effin’ games until one of those bedazzled pink guns finds its way into the hands of a beautiful 3-year-old boy, who gets shot dead when he and his big sister mistake it for a toy. Riddle me this: how does a gun owner expect children to understand the power and danger of a firearm if the grown-ups are treating them like toys? Fly with the angels, sweet Temorej. It didn’t have to go down like this. We at MyBrownBaby are incredibly sad that yet another black child has been dragged into the national gun reform debate.
1. If Newtown Shootings Showed Us Anything, It’s That Guns Kill People and It’s Time For Reform
2. Hadiya Pendleton: Chicago Gun Violence Takes Star Teen From Inauguration To the Mortuary
3. Kudos to New York for Putting Safety above Politics with Gun Control Measures
4. Behind Jet Magazine’s Jordan Davis Cover: A Courageous Stand For Justice
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.