OPINION: One ironic incident points to greater tragedies
IT'S hard to take someone seriously when their life becomes the definition of irony.
Take Jamie Gilt for example.
One day this 31-year-old mum from Florida was making headlines for her pro gun stance.
The next day the headlines were about her four-year-old son, who shot Gilt in the back while she was driving because apparently she believes it is the right of every toddler to be fully armed at all times.
Gilt now faces jail time after the Putnam County Sheriff's Office asked that she be charged with a second-degree misdemeanour charge of allowing a minor access to a firearm.
Yes it is ironic and amusing on some levels, especially because Gilt had bragged about her son's shooting prowess just a few hours before the incident.
But it is sobering to think that a child will now have to live forever with the fact that he shot his mother.
It's stories like these that make me feel blessed to be living in Australia.
The right to bear arms is something Americans are so proud of, but I can't for the life of me imagine why.
I don't know why letting a four-year-old handle a gun would ever be a source of pride - surely that is just a sign of bad parenting.
If I was Gilt I would be incredibly thankful that it was me who was shot.
That my toddler, who is clearly not fully aware of the consequences of his actions, hadn't pointed the gun at himself while sitting out of my line of vision while in the back of the car.
In 2015, 13,286 people were killed by gun violence in the United State according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Another 26,819 people were injured.
Those figures exclude suicide.
There were 372 mass shootings, which killed 475 people and wounded 1870.
In 2015, there was at least one accidental shooting by a toddler each week in the United States.
An investigation by the Washington Post in October last year found that 13 toddlers had killed themselves with guns in the year to date.
Eighteen others had injured themselves and 10 had injured other people.
Two killed other people.
In a household in Cleveland last year, a three-year-old child picked up an unattended gun.
He shot his one-year-old brother in the head, killing him instantly.
On Christmas Day 2012, in a home in South Carolina, a little boy named Sincere Smith came across his dad's gun, which had been left unattended on a table.
His dad decided to get a gun to protect his family after an intruder tried to break into their home.
Sincere picked up the gun and shot himself.
He died before his distraught father could get him to a hospital.
So much pain and heartache could have been avoided if only gun ownership was either taken more seriously - not as a right, but as a privilege - or, even more sensibly, if guns were not seen as a necessity at all.
We are so lucky to live in Australia with its tight gun laws - where owning a gun is generally related to either sport or farming and the idea of a toddler having access to a gun is abhorrent.
And while it is only natural to think of what happened to Gilt as the definition of karma, we need to remember it is also reminder of greater tragedies.