Cross Post: Guns Don’t Kill People, Toddlers Kill People

Editor’s note:  This cross post from Grounded Parents was written by Erich Bacher two weeks after Veronica Rutledge was shot in the head by her 2-year-old son. Click through the link at the bottom to read the full post and make comments. 


I feel sick, sitting down to write this.

It’s been over two weeks since Veronica Rutledge, Nuclear Research Scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory, was shot in the head by her two-year-old son at a Walmart in Hayden, Idaho. I’ve waited until now to write this out of deference to the immense heart break that her family must feel. Her father-in-law, Terry, is angry that her story has become another didactic anecdote in the gun rights debate.

“They are painting Veronica as irresponsible, and that is not the case… I brought my son up around guns, and he has extensive experience shooting it. And Veronica had had hand gun classes; they’re both licensed to carry, and this wasn’t just some purse she had thrown her gun


No, the purse that held the gun was specially made, with a zippered pocket inside specifically for carrying a concealed weapon. She had just received it for Christmas.

“An inquisitive 2-year-old boy reached into the purse, unzipped the compartment, found the gun and shot his mother in the head. It’s a terrible, terrible incident.”

Handbag with zipper handgun compartment
Handbag from same line

Veronica died on the scene. A store manager, who was nearby when it happened, found the boy and secured the 9mm handgun. Police later confirmed the events with security video.

Terry’s next statement is the reason I can’t leave this story alone.

“My son is terrible. He has a 2-year-old boy right now who doesn’t know where his mom is and he’ll have to explain why his mom isn’t coming home. And then, later on his life, as he questions it more, he’ll again have to explain what happened, so we’ll have to relive this several times over.”

I also have a two-year-old boy. Imagining such a grief, so terrible and so manifest, brings me to tears, even now. It makes me feel sick.

By all accounts, Veronica was a talented, intelligent woman who had a great life ahead of her. We needed Veronica. The world needed her. Her son still needs her…

Read the rest of the post at Grounded Parents, where you can also make comments.

Handbag image

Kavin Senapathy

Kavin Senapathy is a mom of two, co-Executive Director of March Against Myths, public speaker, Forbes contributor and author in Madison, WI. She is also co-author of "The Fear Babe: Shattering Vani Hari's Glass House". Follow her on Facebook and twitter @ksenapathy

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