Monday, May 06, 2013

Stupidest Shithole in America: Burkesville, Kentucky

By Michael J.W. Stickings

(It's our fourth entry in this new series. The first three were Nelson, Georgia; Mississippi; and Dietrich, Idaho.)

No, I'm not making light of the tragedy. Seriously, this is the sort of insanity we're dealing with:

Last Monday, Kristian Sparks and his sister, Caroline, visited a Fred's Super Dollar store here. A store manager recalled that it was an ordinary shopping trip, saying that the boy was outgoing and energetic, his little sister was cute and their grandmother was "like any grandmother — she bought them anything they wanted."

The next day Kristian, 5, shot and killed his 2-year-old sister with a gun marketed for children as "My First Rifle" in what the authorities said was an accident.

The death has convulsed this rural community of 1,800 in south-central Kentucky, where everyone seems to know the extended Sparks family, which is now riven by grief. But as mourners gathered for Caroline's funeral on Saturday, there were equally strong emotions directed at the outside world, which has been quick to pass judgment on the parents and a way of life in which many see nothing unusual about introducing children to firearms while they are still in kindergarten.

If you live in a place where it's a way of life for children to have their own guns, and if in that place the general response to a tragedy like this is to circle the wagons and emphasize that there's nothing wrong with children having their own guns, that there's nothing wrong with your way of life, then, let's be clear, you live in a shithole.

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