In Festus, Missouri, 17-year-old Zackary Depung was accidentally shot while he and another 17-year-old found the weapon in a park. The two were playing with the gun, they believed was unloaded, outside Dupung’s house.
Depung had been “shot near the neck” U.S. News says. The teenager was flown to the hospital where he later passed away early August 13th.
The first problem in this tragic situation was where the teenagers found the firearm. In a park! Why? I have no idea. If I were to assume why this firearm was left in a park, it might be accidental—a bought of dangerous forgetfulness. Or, perhaps, it was dumped there by a careless individual. Leaving the gun in any insecure place is irresponsible and leads to senseless deaths that could otherwise have been avoided.
Honestly, if you want to get rid of a firearm that badly, take it to a pawn shop and sell it. Don’t leave it laying around. I mean, there are plenty of other options than just leaving it in a park. I can’t even make up a reason to leave a firearm in a park.
Regardless of why or how this weapon ended up in the hands of Zackary Depung and his friend, the other issue here is improper gun safety.
The main two in this case:
1) always assume the weapon is loaded and 2) don’t point it at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
I cannot stress enough the importance of teaching your kids gun safety. I keep seeing all these tragic stories about teenagers, in particular, accidentally shooting their friends. Unfortunately, this is a prime example of why we have dark phrases like “Curiosity killed the cat.” When shooting firearms is commonplace—there are less accidents. Gun culture is not a “crazy fad”. It keeps people safe and informed.
I’m not saying to just hand your pistol over to your 3-year-old. You can read more about teaching your kids gun safety in my other post here. But responsible, educated teenagers should be taught about firearms. They are becoming adults, if they aren’t already taking on the responsibilities of one. And we live in a world that grows darker and scarier every day. I want our youth to be prepared, not just through education and information, but also equipped with tools that will keep them safe.
When would you start teaching your kids about guns?
Photo: Victim, Zackary Depung, member of Festus High School freshman football team in 2014