4-year-old dies from "epidemic"

Well, that's what it says in the paper.

What's the epidemic?

Guns, of course. The 4-year-old found his father's gun, and shot himself with it:

Yesterday afternoon, Nahdirah Jaamar dropped by a rowhouse on Salford Street to pick up her younger brother and ran into her 4-year-old cousin, Dyshon Boyd, a boisterous toddler that family members called "Pooh Bear."

Dyshon gave Jaamar, 15, a big hug and a kiss, and ran off.

Roughly a half-hour later, the 4-year-old lay dying from an apparently self-inflicted bullet wound, another young victim of Philadelphia's gun epidemic.

If you read the story carefully, you will see that the gun is clearly made out to be the culprit. It's, well, it's really as if the gun shot the boy all by itself:
. Police said Dyshon shot himself once in the throat about 4:50 p.m. inside the Southwest Philadelphia rowhouse belonging to a grandmother and great-grandmother.

The toddler was rushed to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia but was pronounced dead about 5:30 p.m., according to police and news accounts.

Last night, one local channel, CBS3, was reporting that the weapon was a 9 mm handgun and that Dyshon's father, Djuan Boyd, was also in the rowhouse - on Salford Street near Chester Avenue - at the time of the shooting incident.

Jaamar said Djuan Boyd was "a great father" to Dyshon.

"Everywhere you saw Dyshon, his father wasn't far behind," she said.

"He gave Dyshon the world."

Yeah, and apparently he gave him access to his gun too. It's all part of the "epidemic."
Jaamar described her little cousin as a playful toddler who loved eating pizza from the nearby deli and watching cartoons on Nickelodeon.

When Jaamar returned to the house after the shooting last night, she screamed and pounded the windows in grief.

Meanwhile, police and fire crews were searching the house and the area outside, even looking on the roof of the rowhouse for the magazine of the weapon that killed Dyshon.

There's more about the boy, and there's no denying the tragedy of what happened here. But I want to stay with "the weapon that killed him."

How did this "epidemic" kill the boy? Presumably, the epidemic is a result of a lack of gun control laws which might have stopped the boy from having access to the gun. You know, a "but for" causation.

Had there been a gun control law in place, this boy might be alive today.

Does that sound like an unreasonable hypothetical? Read on. Because, as it turns out, the Philadelphia Inquirer was responsible enough to report some additional details about the father's possession of the gun.

Amazingly, the gun was seriously illegal! This "great father" was, it seems, a career criminal who had served time on gun and drug offenses, and it was a felony for him to so much as possess the gun which the 4-year-old found:

The District Attorney today approved criminal charges against the father of 4-year-old Dyshon Boyd, who accidentally shot and killed himself Monday in Southwest Philadelphia.

Djuan Boyd, 24, a convicted gun felon with multiple drug-dealing arrests, will be charged with involuntary manslaughter, various counts of illegal gun possession, and endangering the welfare of a child, said Cathie Abookire, spokeswoman for District Attorney Lynne Abraham.

The father, whose birthday was last Wednesday, has a pending drug-dealing case that is listed for trial next month.

In 2004, he pleaded guilty to carrying a gun without a license and drug dealing, and was sentenced to 11-23 months in county prison, court records show.

So, there were laws in place which would have protected this child. His criminal father was not allowed to have guns.

So if is this father's violation of existing laws is part of a gun epidemic, then what exactly is the epidemic? The guns? Or the breaking of the laws against felons possessing guns?

Philadelphia's Police Commissioner seems more concerned with sending a message about guns generally than with sending a message to criminals. In his statement, he does not mention criminal possession of firearms:

Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson said the father apparently tossed the gun from a window.

Johnson said the father reported that the gun had been in his coat and that his son found it there.

"We have to send a message out to Philadelphia that guns are dangerous. If you have firearms, you can't leave them in an unprotected place," Johnson said.

Why is it that no one wants to send the message that guns are dangerous as well as illegal if possessed by felons? Like, "We have to send a message out to Philadelphia that felons with guns are dangerous."? The point here isn't whether they leave them in an unprotected place; they're not allowed to leave them anywhere!

With all this talk of gun "epidemics," and "availability" of firearms, you'd almost think they didn't want Philadelphians to know they already have strict gun control laws in place which apply to criminals. (And which, if they had been obeyed and/or enforced, would have prevented the father from having the gun.)

They might realize that if there is an "epidemic," it involves criminals who don't obey gun laws.

UPDATE: My thanks to Bill Quick for the link!

UPDATE: And my thanks to Emperor Misha for the link!

posted by Eric on 12.20.07 at 11:03 AM


The guy has just turned 24 and has multiple convictions on drug and gun charges and he's still out on the street? We may indeed have serious laws on the books but it seems someone's not enforcing them very well.

joated   ·  December 21, 2007 2:27 PM

this is all to common when the socialist media and politicians make up stories about fire arms.if you listen to these characters it's always the guns falut never the felons or inforcement just the bad old GUN.i wonder are there people out there who belive this big lie?

bruce   ·  December 21, 2007 3:45 PM

There was a much sadder case in Michigan a few years back.

A boy of similar age finds a loaded pistol in his parents' house, takes it to school, and shoots another student fatally with it. (Little indication of malice aforethought, though the reporters/police never mentioned any worries about it.)

Turns out that the "owner" of said gun had a similar criminal record.

It was hard to miss when you read/heard the full report. Somehow, no one went on a crusade to deny firearms to such felons.

karrde   ·  December 21, 2007 5:21 PM

If there were only a law... and one is passed. But it isn't enough - so another law is passed. And another. And another, and another, another, another....

And at some point, eventually, someone's got to realize that passing a law doesn't do one damn bit of good... unless there's enforcement OF that law!

Which seemed to be conspicuiously missing in this case.

But that's okay... just pass another law and things will be fine!


JLawson   ·  December 21, 2007 9:18 PM

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