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Boy may lose eye after 'assault' at Mitchell Park

Original post made on Oct 9, 2009

A young boy may lose sight in his left eye after he was chased by at least three other boys and shot with a plastic pellet gun at Mitchell Park Monday afternoon, according to Palo Alto police Sgt. Dan Ryan.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 9, 2009, 5:08 PM

Comments (61)

Posted by not Ralphie
a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 9, 2009 at 6:02 pm

The Palo Alto Municipal Code, 9.08.010, prohibits adults as well as minors to possess, discharge or fire an air rifle, air-gun, BB gun or pellet gun by means of elastic force, such as sling shots, by air, gas or any explosive substance. These weapon replicas are all referred to as "firearms."

Web Link

They should rename them "you'll shoot your eye out" guns.

Posted by qq
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 9, 2009 at 7:24 pm

California law preempts these kinds of nanny gun laws by municipalities. Look what happened to SF and their handgun ban. The SCOTUS is about to put the smack down on Chicago as well. See McDonald vs The City of Chicago.

Web Link

State law already regulates these types of weapons. Almost every Airsoft gun is also available in a clear plastic version that exempts it from from public possession under state law. Go to a sporting goods store and take a look. See California Penal Code 12550-12556, 417.4

It's strange, in California, you can openly carry a real firearm, but not a replica, bb-gun, or airsoft gun. See California Penal Code 12025.


Posted by qq
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 9, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Also, it is worth mentioning that airsoft guns require the purchaser to be 18. Who purchased these airsoft guns? Where were the parents?

It is very clear on the packaging, that they are not toys. Even Fry's sells them, as is very clear about it.

Look at the case in EPA, the 12yo child that shot the toddler was not punished, the owner of the firearm was.

Web Link


Posted by DK
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 9, 2009 at 11:29 pm

Did you really just reference a Muni-code that not only is preempted by state law, but also has an exeption for killing animals, birds and rodents in self defense?

Web Link

your reference is pretty invalid for a few reasons; the law is preempted by state law in several ways, ( Web Link ) you dont know what you are talking about (I would site this but i think we both know this is true), your reference was a statement from an untrustworthy PAPD Sgt who charges people with fabricated and/or irrelevant laws. (see: public information at the Palo Alto Court House)

Posted by MidtownMom
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 10, 2009 at 9:10 am

Where were the parents of the boys with the toy guns?

Posted by Concerned resident
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 10, 2009 at 11:59 am

Rather than an accident during "play" that may have been prevented with adult supervision this was an intentional assault. Given the recent arson at Fairmeadow the amount of violent crime occuring near Mitchell park is alarming.

Posted by Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 10, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Concerned Resident,

Two issues near Mitchell Park and you call it "alarming"? And you were not present to know if it was an intentional assault or the kids were horsing around. Some irresponsible parent must have purchased the gun for them though. The book should be thrown at the parents. What a tragedy.

Posted by Concerned resident
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 10, 2009 at 3:41 pm

I have inside information that leads me to believe the police were right to arrest the assailants.

Posted by Concerned parent
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 10, 2009 at 3:57 pm

Since the incident happened afterschool, am i right in assuming that there's a strong possibility that the child brought the "toy" gun to school? That's pretty frightening.

Posted by JLS Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm

These kids were assaulting other kids at JLS earlier in the day. The police need to do some follow-up.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Rumor mongering is going on here.

8 year olds go to elementary school. 14 year olds are in high school.
JLS is a middle school. Whatever may or may not have been happening at JLS earlier in the day, 8 year olds and/or 14 year olds were not at JLS.

We do not have enough facts so anything someone has inside information about should be given to the police, not adding to speculation here.

Posted by Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 10, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Correction, Resident. Many 14-year olds are in in 8th grade.

Posted by resident
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Oct 10, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Be it an 8-years-old or a 14-years-old, they can walk. They may be students at an elementary school or a high school. If they can walk to Mitchell Park, why can’t they be at JLS?

Posted by ring leader
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 11, 2009 at 1:08 am

the 8 yr old seems to be the ring leader....punish him...we should have a law like in some asian countries we should "Kane" our youth..

So, 10 lashes to the 8yr old

Posted by Carlos
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 11, 2009 at 7:06 am

Guns, whether real or of the toy variety are evil and no one should be allowed to own them, have possession or get anywhere near them, least of all Americans. Most civilized nations have come to realize this a long time ago but we, as usual, are way behind.

Posted by Joe C
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 11, 2009 at 12:53 pm


You present a fairly illogical point, and I'm going to try to refrain from using Ad Hominem, regardless of how put off I am.

The aforementioned incident is one caused by a gross negligence on behalf of the children, their parents, whoever purchased the gun (assuming it wasn't the parents, and this isn't to say that it's any better that the parents purchased it, I'm merely distinguishing the parties in case it wasn't the parents), and the store, if the store sold it to underage consumers. </run on>
Therefore, the responsible parties should be punished. Yes, including the children. The law exists for a reason, and should be enforced. The key word here is enforced; if the consequence of the crime is grave enough (and it's probably not, seeing how this incident actually occurred), it (in theory) should deter straw purchasers/ parents/ stores from providing children with air/toy guns.

Finally, Carlos, it's called the Second Amendment. It's in the Bill O' Rights for a reason! Oh, and did I forget to mention Heller vs. DC?

PS: Most "civilized" nations w/o a 2nd Amendment equivalent allow the purchase of said BB/ Air Guns, not just the United States. So in the case that your final sentence was in response to the article, its point is pretty moot.

-Joe C

Posted by Correction for Mom
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 11, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Very few 8th graders are 14 at this time in the school year. Perhaps a handful. My daughter knows the kids involved. The 14 year olds are not middle school students. I think the parents are just as guilty as the kids.

Posted by Safetyfirst
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 11, 2009 at 1:37 pm

A bunch of kids horsing around in a park with dangerous weapons. I not only blame their parents but any adult who was there, witnessed these kids, and did not immediately pick up a phone to call 911. Any community that values safety cannot tolerate a situation like this, not even for a second.

Posted by so
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 11, 2009 at 1:52 pm

so were relying on ''call 911'' to run ''society''. what happened to reproductive res[ponsibility? there is no alternative to personal responsibility, not police addiction.

Posted by qq
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 11, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Joe C has some great points. These Airsofts guns wouldn't even exist if it were not for foreign firearm limitations. They originally come from Japan, where the people were not allowed to own real firearms. So they produce sophisticated reproductions that shoot plastic pellets at high velocities.

Web Link

It is also worth noting California Penal code 12551, 12552, 12001(g). In summary they state:

"A minor can possess a 'BB device' only with permission of his or her parent. A BB device is any instrument which expels a projectile such as a BB, or a pellet of up to 6mm, through air pressure, gas pressure, or sprint action; it also includes paint guns. Any person who sells a BB device to a minor, or who furnishes a BB device to a minor without the express or implied permission of the minor's parent or legal guardian, is guilty of a misdemeanor."

Again, to reiterate, Airsoft guns are not toys. If parents are purchasing them for their kids and not treating them as firearms, they are in for a rude awakening when something happens.

In "How to Own a Gun & Stay Out of Jail - California 2009" by John Machtinger, he goes on to say:

"Your child should be trained in gun safety and handling by a competent instructor. Before you give your child a gun to use without your direct supervision, carefully consider your decision. If your child is using the gun without you around and kills or injures someone, you will almost certainly be sued by the victim's family (even if you are present, you could still be sued)."

Posted by Gun Rights
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 11, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Airsoft Guns are more dangerous and promote more violence then real firearms. As A firearm collector and supporter of my and "YOUR" second amendment rights, I do not have a problem with me or "YOU" owning a firearm. While I do collect and shoot what one would perceive as military grade hardware, A rifle is a rifle. I see it no different then an electric power tool in the minds of a child. It has a purpose as a tool and is dangerous if used inappropriately. It also is a form of entertainment and has family value, through target shooting, 3 gun competitions, and hunting. Airsoft on the other hand is make believe, and is meant to be shot at each other. I'd rather give my child an AR-15 (M16 variant) military grade rifle and teach him how to use it, clean it, safety, and what will happen if he misuses it, instead of giving my kid an airsoft gun and let him shoot at his friends.

The problem isn't guns, its todays society, culture, and the lack of responsibility. For all you anti-gun individuals, did you know that Paly used to have a .22 range? and a Team? way back in the day? Did you know that the Boy Scouts of America, an organization producing some of America's greatest leaders and citizens has both rifle and shotgun, and in some areas venture crews that do competition or hunt? 99% of Gun owners and users are safe law abiding citizens.

Don't bring real guns into the argument, its about these toys, and what parents let their kids do with them.

Posted by Yep, arrest 'em
a resident of another community
on Oct 11, 2009 at 9:16 pm

If the kids thought what they were doing was acceptable, then they need to be punished. If they didn't think it was acceptable, but did it anyway, they need to be punished. The parents need to be called on the carpet. Possible loss of an eye? Good thing the Old Testament punishment of reciprocal loss isn't legal.

Posted by Joe C
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 11, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Roger that Gun Rights-- I was addressing Carlos's point(s) regarding the 2nd Amendment. Agreed- the debate should be centered around said "toy guns". Although your opinion

"I'd rather give my child an AR-15 (M16 variant) military grade rifle and teach him how to use it, clean it, safety, and what will happen if he misuses it, instead of giving my kid an airsoft gun and let him shoot at his friends."

will/would receive a lot of flak, your point holds merit. If/when I become a parent, I believe that it would be a rational move to teach my child about gun safety and about guns in general, to avoid any accidents. And no air-soft guns period. (A .177 air gun for target practice is ok, though. :-) ) Just nothing to shoot at friends with.

I am glad that there are other reasonable members of the Palo Alto community, as many that I have met are "anti". Although I didn't grow up shooting .22's (and not many children in our current society, that being Palo Alto do), I've recently come around to matters (and hence have learned safety/ gone shooting a number of times) such as these. We do indeed live in a different time from even 20 years ago, as far as matters like personal responsibility etc. are concerned.

All in all, I deeply appreciate your voice on the matter.

Finally, to make an adjustment my previous post; "The law exists for a reason" should be "This law", referring to the ones surrounding BB guns and what not. Because not all laws are just. :-)

[I think I covered everything.]

-Joe C.

Posted by nope
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 11, 2009 at 10:45 pm

seriously? parents out there. who CARES what age they are? the kid may lose his eye. thats all that matters. and its different if the parents put the gun on a showcase and handed it to the kids than if the parents put the gun in a safe and the kids deliberately stole it and had to crack the fricken combo to use on that one kid.

Posted by bull crap
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 11, 2009 at 10:53 pm

ok thats just bull crap. would you rather these were real guns? either way. kids are going to get their hands on drugs, alcohol, and guns. its going to happen. and its so unfortunate, but atleast these werent real guns.

Posted by Joe C
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 11, 2009 at 11:48 pm


You're missing the point, mon ami...(please read carefully)
...Which was that if children were *properly* trained in gun safety, they wouldn't be playing with guns. Plain and simple. No statement was made about giving kids guns to *play* with. Playing implies horsing around, and that's a definite no-no with firearms.

-Joe C.

Posted by Gun Rights
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 12, 2009 at 12:48 am

But just like all freedoms we used to have, and some we still have, they will all be gone in the near future. It all comes down to parenting and their responsibility. If you can't keep an eye on your kids, and raise them right, not only will our second amendment be at stake, but all that we stand for as far as our constitution is concerned will also be at stake.

If you want to live in a nanny state, where the government takes care of your kids, the school teaches them the birds and the bees and the meaning of life, everything is banned, and you don't have to lift a finger, leave... there are tons of places that are far more suitable.

Posted by Carlos
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 12, 2009 at 7:19 am

The problem is that a society in which about one third of the population is seriously crazy and the vast majority of the rest is seriously dumb, toy or real guns should not be an option anymore than car keys for a drunk who just consumed a couple of Vodka bottles. The US claims that Iran should not be allowed nuclear weapons, although the US possess them, as do a number of other nations (here's the equivalent of the 2nd amendment)because Iran is too dangerous to be allowed to have nuclear weapons. Extrapolate it to the American people who never showed any indication they are remotely mature, sane or smart enough to be allowed to posses any kind of weapon, real or of the toy variety.

Posted by Freeman
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 12, 2009 at 10:20 am

Toy guns set a bad precedence, period.
What are we teaching our kids allowing them to play with them anyway?

If you want to properly expose your kids to a gun, take them shooting at a range or in the woods and teach them to respect it. It is not a toy - it can kill.

You wouldn't give your 10 year old the keys to your car and let them go for a spin, would you?

Posted by cleanup
a resident of The Greenhouse
on Oct 12, 2009 at 10:35 am

No one has even mentioned that those airsoft guns are an environmental disaster, in that they spray hundreds of brightly colored plastic pellets, which immediately become litter. I have never seen these shooters clean up any of their mess. It seems like anyone using them could be cited for littering even without invoking any gun laws.

Posted by Worried Dad
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 12, 2009 at 11:09 am

My daughter and I found huge number of those BBs in the schoolyard at Palo Verde over the weekend. The city should ban the use of these BB guns before more kids get hurt.

Posted by worried mom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 12, 2009 at 11:23 am

My daughter has been colleting BB's at Palo Verde for sometime now. I agree with WORRIED DAD...the city should ban the use of BB guns.

Posted by Accountability
a resident of University South
on Oct 12, 2009 at 11:32 am

The parents should be held responsible and accountable as well for these types of incidents. That might cause parents to pay more attention to what their kids are doing.

Posted by Another parent
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 12, 2009 at 11:46 am

I find this appalling. I wish a speedy recovery to the victim and I hope his family sues the family of the perpetrator for everything they've got. The parents behind this are responsible for having raised their children to; a-have nothing better to do with their time, b-enjoy violent activities, c-expect no consequences for attacking another human being in a park, d-point a gun at a human being and shoot it. My son, who rides his bike through Mitchell Park every day could have been the victim. Human life is precious and these people have no concept of it. Take their kids away. They'd be better off in foster care.

Posted by ralphc66
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 12, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Judging from the many comments, it's obvious there are a lot of angry people anxious to point out one another's faulty ideas.

Posted by I was shot at in the 50's!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2009 at 6:21 am

This doesn't surprise me in the least. There are tons of angry and mean kids hurting others (bullying?) and I was personally assaulted with a BB gun while I was the same age in Palo Alto in the 50's while walking to Edgewood Plaza. By the way, the boy who shot me (he hit my body at least once but I pretended not to be hit) was one of the "popular" boys and I was a loser. I never reported it to my parents and there was never a consequence for this boy. I was afraid that if I told on him I would suffer even more. There needs to be more parents tuned into kids that are being bullied and assaulted on a daily basis (this includes emotional assault). By the way,I am female.

Posted by Verde Resident
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 13, 2009 at 8:46 am

I've also heard about BB's at Palo Verde. Unfortunately, the principle has locked up the gates so residents can't get in after hours or during the weekend, except through the main entrance. Thus, people casually walking through or simply enjoying the grounds to play frisbee are discouraged, leaving the campus quiet and unpopulated after school, just the right conditions for miscreants to wreak havoc unnoticed.

Posted by susie
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 13, 2009 at 8:50 am

I think it was a NERF gun, not an air rifle!!!!

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Is it true that schools are being locked up after hours so that locals cannot use the playgrounds, play fields at weekends? Is this really the type of community that we live in? Do we have to put padlocks on school gates so that our kids cannot take the training wheels off their bikes or learn to roller blade in the comforting surroundings of their own schools? Cannot our older kids go back to their elementary schools for weekend pickup basketball games, or families enjoy a Thanksgiving frisbee game?

Is this something we want in Palo Alto?

Posted by teenager
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I would like to point out that that it is the negligence of the parents that should be looked at as well as the kids, these guns which are of a great variety are not evil in any way and that the kids involved in this incident,give this sport a bad name. i myself am a young juvenile and happen to play the sport professionally myself and it is a fun sport IF THE EQUIPMENT IS USED PROPERLY! I dont look at it as the "Toys" fault the seller or really the parents (even though some of the blame is theirs, it is the kids who should be looked at for this because they could be expressed as bullies. Their is no way they could pass this off as an accident of "Horseplay" because the majority of kids in palo alto have a single action(takes about three seconds between shots to reload to fire again) airsoft gun which can be bought in a variety of places from walmart,sports authority,or a 99 cent store so it would take the knowledge of the pain the other kid went through as he was being shot at and the fact that he probably said stop while the kids continously reloaded. I strongly support the sport of airsoft but its people like this who give it a bad name.

Posted by teenager
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2009 at 4:54 pm

and if it was a nerf gun than thats pathetic that were argueing about this because a six year old is able to buy one legally and it would be an unlikely incedent for him to be losing an eye form one

Posted by Writer/parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 13, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Dear Editor for Palo Alto Online:
Why does your headline include the quotation marks around the word "assault"? Do you mean to say the incident was not malicious and was simply child's play? I wonder what the family of the injured boy has to say about that?

Posted by teenager
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm

exactly i agree with writer/parent these are the kid of things that make people over react

Posted by resident
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 13, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Palo Verde is ONLY locked during school hours for safety reasons.

Posted by person
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 13, 2009 at 5:52 pm

OKAY, air soft guns must be treated with safety, but older kids like me and my friends, use eye protection all the time no matter what the situation, so everyone here is basically freaking out over a minor problem, you think this is a big deal be glad for the kid that it wasn't a real gun, and also this happens in other cities.

Posted by COncerned Airsofter
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 13, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Hello, i just wanted to contribute my views. Whenever airsoft is played eye protection is a must. IN profession airsoft all player ALWAYS wear eye protection and under no circumstances take it off. This is an isolated incident of idiots playing without proper protection. Its the parent fault that they were playing with them without protection. Dont blame the sport blame the ignorant parents.

Posted by Gun Rights
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 13, 2009 at 10:25 pm

There is a professional ring of these players? Are people serious? That makes civil war reenacts and those that participate, climb the latter in the sanity department. Can someone honestly call it a sport? Its horseplay and its psychologically dangerous. Why are we promoting these activities, why not hunting, hiking, backpacking. When I was in school the big thing was paintball, and it was all the low lives that couldn't feel accomplished or achieved in any other form, so for the feeling of power they picked up a gas operated paintball gun. If this same population of kids is now picking up Airsoft weapons that look like real weapons, I can only say this explains it all. The school shootings, the violence and demented behavior. I beg of parents to not allow their kids to play soldier, especially teenagers. Its one thing for a 5 year old, but teenagers? Get a life.

Posted by teenager
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2009 at 7:21 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by angry airsofter
a resident of another community
on Oct 14, 2009 at 2:59 pm

you people need to get a life u worried parents who have nothing else to do but worry jeeze its a fun sport and some kids miss used it. Teenager you are completely right and to the rest of you you should really research airsoft more

Posted by robert
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 14, 2009 at 3:06 pm

most of the people here are confusing these airsoft guns with bb guns theres a difference the boy next door to me had one the bbs it shot were biodgradable some of these residents are taking this a little too far

Posted by Another Concerned Airsofter.
a resident of another community
on Oct 14, 2009 at 3:14 pm

To Gun Rights-
It is not only teenagers that airsoft but middle-aged men. Many were former soldiers. Airsoft is less psychologically dangerous as video games, which usually promote far more graphic levels of violence, and yet receives far less negative attention? However, I agree on one point- many paintballers are losers.

Posted by Fun lover
a resident of another community
on Oct 14, 2009 at 3:18 pm

airsoft is fun and you people should stop judging it so harshly , and this is like being posted on tons of airsoft sights but i support the fact that this is a fun sport

Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 14, 2009 at 5:02 pm

What ever type of "gun" these kids used is not the point - they deliberately shot another child who was not playing with them and he may loose his sight in one eye.

Airsoft and paintball are both fun - when you plan to play and are appropriately dressed including protective safety glasses.

Posted by One More Concerned Airsofter
a resident of another community
on Oct 14, 2009 at 5:24 pm

I feel I must ask BOTH sides of this debate to calm down and think about the actual situation at hand.

The way I read this, the four kids in question are not your run-of-the-mill airsofters. They are kids just getting into the sport like most do: buying a couple cheap guns at walmart and stupidly deciding to play in a public area. That was their first mistake. Their second was shooting at a kid WITH NO EYE PROTECTION. Right there they violated the Cardinal Rule of Airsoft: NEVER FIRE YOUR WEAPON WHEN SOMEONE WITHOUT EYE PROTECTION ON IS PRESENT! In most organizations when someone loses their eye protection or some random person walks into the area, everyone stops shooting and puts their weapons on safe until the field is safe again.

Please don't this one incident of four very young kids making a horrible, stupid mistake ruin the sport for everyone.

@Gun Rights: The airsoft community is actually quite large, in fact there are even several international events held every year. Airsoft is currently an underground sport, it has a huge following but not much media attention. That right there I think is the sport's major downfall. Kids like the ones mentioned here often get in trouble because they don't really know about the real airsoft world. Most of the players are between the ages of 15-55, many are current or former military. heck, even the US military has started using airsoft as a training tool because so far it is the most realistic training tool in the world short of live ammunition. Many law enforcement organizations also use it for exactly that same reason.

At everyone: Please do the world a favor and do a little research before jumping to conclusions.

Posted by UK
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2009 at 8:01 am

"Three juveniles between 8 and 14" The parents should be held responsible for this, they obviously can not control there children and giving them Airsoft guns at this age is just irresponsible.

Posted by Fracsid
a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2009 at 12:32 pm

At the very highest level, I think this is the fault of some certain large retailers; they sell airsoft guns without much in the way of a warning, allowing parents to see them as something they're not: toys.

I'm not saying the parents aren't at all responsible, they did after all leave their children to play in a public place with something that is mistakable for a real gun, but saying that it's solely the parents' responsibility to do hours of research on a relatively obscure subject before buying something marketed by large retailers cheaply and as a toy is unreasonable.

Basically, this is all the fault of a lack of education on airsoft when it comes to the general masses. Airsoft is a great sport when it's played with proper eye (and most often full face) protection and in a proper location; it can teach teamwork, communication skills, and sportsmanship, and helps people get active. Personally, working on airsoft guns gave me an incentive to learn practical skills like soldering and wiring, and how to do things like calculate a projectile's energy based on it's mass and speed.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2009 at 1:09 pm

Fracsid raises a good point.

My own son was "given" or exchanged, or bought,from a buddy, something which I thought was a toy when I found it in his room until I lifted it up and felt its weight. Only then did I look at it more closely and decided that this was something I needed to talk to him about. He was 16 or so at the time and he had been given good instructions as to its use but he had left it hanging around in his room where a younger sibling or visitor to our home could easily have found it. We had a good conversation as a result and I am satisfied that he is being responsible now as he keeps it locked in his desk and he only uses it with a couple of people who also know how to use it properly, on private property up in the woods away from houses.

But, I did not and would not have bought this for him.I have no idea if it is a bb gun, airsoft gun, or whatever because I have seen no packaging and don't know much about them. He acquired it on his own from someone who had acquired it from ... you get the picture. My son and his friends are probably nothing like the kids who played with these guns in the park, but it is quite possible that they also acquired the guns from a friend, who acquired it from a friend's older brother who got it from ... Get the picture?

Posted by dude
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 15, 2009 at 7:40 pm

I'm a teenager and i've been using airsoft guns since 5th grade and haven't had any problems. I happen to know one of the older kids involved in the accident, and i knew he was going to do something stupid. They are dangerous, but just use common sense people don't shoot them at people, unless they are wearing proper eye protection and make sure you're in your yard or a place designed to host airsoft/paintball wars.

Posted by Cynthia Davis
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 19, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Glad it wasn't "us" this time. If it were, the comments would be so much more harsh and less sympathy for the kids. These comments are phony and boring as usual, because of the area. If it were my kids, I'd see "throw the book at these thugs". Bringing even a "toy" gun to a school or a park, would have them in jail before they could even raise it to "play" with it! Wow! Thanks for keeping it real!

I'm sure everyone involved is right back to their regular privileged lives, with the parents holding their heads in shame for about 5 minutes. That's the usual punishement in these areas!

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Oct 19, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Cynthia Davis,

I agree with you about "throwing the book at these thugs." The parents should be held responsible for their kids' actions and the kids should be severely punished as well. It is shocking that parents allow kids to own such weapons. To use these guns in a public place should be against the law.

How is the boy? I pray he will be okay. What a horribly traumatic thing for a child to endure.

Posted by Cynthia Davis
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2009 at 1:29 am

Wow! What ended this discussion abruptly? (laugh)

I sometimes share these discussions with my friends that don't live in the bay area. We have a good laugh sometimes.

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Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 30 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away almost $10 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.