There’s no shortage of grim gun news in the United States, including numerous killings involving children, but there was something particularly disturbing about an incident on Monday in which a 9-year-old girl accidentally shot her instructor to death with an Uzi. The tragedy unfolded at an Arizona gun range near Las Vegas that draws visitors through a tour company called Bullets and Burgers. How on earth was such a child allowed to fire such a powerful weapon on fully automatic, by a person who knows enough about firearms to have served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan? See video of the incident below via the New York Times; the clip doesn’t show the actual moment of tragedy, but it’s plenty chilling nonetheless.
Reactions to the news, as you might expect, have ranged from somber to mystified to angry. But with the story making the rounds on social media, only those latter two applied to a tweet posted on Wednesday afternoon by NRA Women, which is part of the National Rifle Association’s Women’s Programs and is sponsored by gun manufacturing giant Smith & Wesson. “7 Ways Children Can Have Fun at the Shooting Range” the tweet announced, linking to a recent story that details how kids can get bored with target practice if not properly entertained. NRA Women posted the tweet at 1:51 p.m. Pacific on Wednesday; by about 3 p.m. it had been removed, but not before I and others took a screenshot of it:
The list of options in the article included firing at animal, zombie, and even exploding targets, but surely there was a better time for NRA Women to promote them. Historically the NRA is known for its disciplined and effective messaging. But more recently, as it has branched out to cater to children and women and minorities, America’s top gun lobbying group seems to be misfiring, again and again.