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Armed to the milk teeth: USA's gun-toting kids

 
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CherryBlossom View Drop Down
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    Posted: Apr 30 2014 at 12:50pm
http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/apr/29/armed-to-the-milk-teeth-america-gun-toting-kids?view=mobile#

Armed to the milk teeth: America's gun-toting kids

Available in bright blues and hot pinks, rifles for kids sell in their thousands in America. They look like toys – but they're lethal. An-Sofie Kesteleyn travelled to photograph this juvenile army
Abby, aged 8, from Louisiana, photographed by    An-Sofie Kesteleyn for her series My Little RifleView larger picture
Abby, aged 8, from Louisiana, in a detail from a photograph by An-Sofie Kesteleyn, from the series My Little Rifle. Click to enlarge

In May last year, a two-year-old girl was shot dead by her five-year-old brother with a small rifle made specifically for children. The accidental shooting happened in Cumberland County, Kentucky, when the boy was playing with a gun purchased from a company in Pennsylvania calledKeystone Sporting Arms, which, in 2008, produced around 80,000 rifles for children. The guns, which sell under the model names Cricket andChipmunk, were originally advertised on a "Kid's Corner" on the company's website (it has since been removed), which showed children firing them at rifle ranges and on hunting trips. The guns are produced in bright blue, pink and rainbow colours and marketed like toys, under the tag line "My First Rifle".

Benjamin, aged 7, from Louisiana, with his rifle, photo by An-Sofie KesteleynBenjamin, aged 7, from Louisiana

When the photographer An-Sofie Kesteleyn read about the story in De Volkskrant, the Dutch newspaper she works for, she began making plans for a trip to the American south. "I wanted to go and search for these families who bought guns as presents for their young children," she says. "I began by visiting a rifle range in Ohio, where children are taught to shoot, then travelled down through Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas and Louisiana. What I found was that there are loads of children out there in America with their own guns, but not that many parents who are happy to have their kids' portraits taken with those guns."

Kesteleyn's series, My Little Rifle, consists of only 15 portraits, but they provide a powerful and disturbing glimpse of a much bigger gun culture. Last year, the series was chosen for the World Press Photo's prestigious Joop Swart Masterclass.

Hayley, aged 6, from Louisiana. My Little Rifle by An-Sofie KesteleynHayley, aged 6, from Louisiana

"I went to gun shops and shooting ranges just talking to people," Kesteleyn explains. "What I came away with was the sense that there was a lot of fear and paranoia among the adults, and that fear was handed down to the children along with the guns. The children have childlike imaginations and the usual childhood fears – zombies, monsters and wild beasts. They are not born with these adult fears; they are infected with them."

Kesteleyn photographed the children in their bedrooms, amid dolls' houses and soft toys. Most of them hold the guns casually, but some strike a tough-looking adult pose. Alongside the portraits, Kesteleyn has included drawings the children made of the things they most feared: spidery outlines of werewolves and wild animals. "My biggest fear is a bear," wrote Benjamin, aged seven, "because if you get in their territory, they will chase you for a long time." Eight-year-old Abby wrote: "What I am freaked out by is seeing a dinosaur."

Tatum, aged 6, from Louisiana. My Little Rifle by An-Sofie Kesteleyn.Tatum, aged 6, from Louisiana

On her journey, Kesteleyn encountered "mostly ordinary families who loved their kids and trained them to use the guns safely and responsibly". Nevertheless, she remained bemused and disturbed. "The adults talked about protection all the time. They believe that you have to have guns to protect yourself from the other bad people out there with guns who want to do you harm."

Some encounters have lingered in her head. "I remember this very young girl who was really tired and worn out after her shooting practice, and that just seemed very sad somehow." At another girl's eighth birthday party, which was held at the local shooting range, Kesteleyn even tried out the child's new pink rifle. "They do feel like toys," she says, "and the bullets are really small – but they can kill another child."

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mizzsandra00 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (5) Thanks(5)   Quote mizzsandra00 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 30 2014 at 12:56pm
I aint mad......notice none of the kids are black......
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote bunzaveli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 30 2014 at 12:58pm
look at them future crackas and white devils
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote CherryBlossom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 30 2014 at 1:00pm
yeah I noticed that sandy

...honeyboo and nem got rifles but black kids are demonised and portrayed as violent from the day they're born?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote Alias_Avi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 30 2014 at 1:02pm
I can almost hear them shout... "Get that Nahgger" Stern Smile
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Lady ICE View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lady ICE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 30 2014 at 1:04pm
nevermind i may be thinkin of something else.

Edited by Lady ICE - Apr 30 2014 at 1:05pm
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mizzsandra00 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote mizzsandra00 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 30 2014 at 1:07pm
I always find it funny (not really) when black people say they hate guns....meanwhile some white 12 yo is doing gun comps.......yall better wake up......
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Benni Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 30 2014 at 1:13pm
If I went to purchase a Gun, don't I have a waiting period for background checks and so on. Doesn't this apply to kids also ??

These parents better watch out, because these kids are armed, and can come into their rooms at night.
They can take these guns to the darn playground. If they have a disagreement with someone, they don't have the mental maturity to talk things out...Yeah they're armed to the milk teeth.

Again....DUMB ARSES
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote bg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 30 2014 at 1:14pm
As long as they are taught how to use the weapons properly i don't see a problem with it

in most rural parts of the US children shooting rifles is common, especially for hunting purposes

more blacks need to arm themselves legally and responsibly

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote iliveforbhm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 30 2014 at 1:15pm
Poor whites make up the military and those willingly to doe for this nation. They can't demean those people bad business.
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