Friday/weekend open line

I live in a household where firearms are handled on a near-daily basis.

This is not a personal choice; it is part of the nature of Mrs. Editor’s work, and therefore impossible to avoid.

From the time our children could walk, we have indoctrinated them with the Eddie Eagle mantra: “Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the room. Tell an adult.” We never miss an opportunity to reinforce the lesson.

(For those of you who don’t currently have school-age children, Eddie Eagle is the cartoon character of a elementary school gun safety program Mrs. Editor and others teach in our schools and schools all over America).

We’ve sweetened the pot by telling the Little Editors about the riches and rewards they will be given if they spot an unattended firearm and tell us about it without touching it. The Littlest Editor has a standing offer of five DVDs or video games (or any combination therein) should the situation arise.

So far, so good. But we would consider it money well spent.

We’ve taken these precautions because we know that all it takes is a single distraction, one mistake, or a solitary thoughtless act to bring on tragedy.

The facts in the case of the accidental firearm death of Timothy Atwater, Jr. are not yet in. However, the calls on Home in Henderson and elsewhere to severely punish those who might be responsible followed closely upon the report of his death. I think those calls are premature.

There is a phrase attributed to the Christian martyr John Bradford of which I am quite fond: “There but for the grace of God, go I.” My heart goes out to those who have been touched by the tragedy because I know that it is only by Providence that a similar event hasn’t occurred in my own house, despite all of the painstaking care we take.

Here is another Christian aphorism that I like a lot: “To err is human; to forgive, Divine.”