Our Cancerous American Gun Culture Strikes Again

An Evansville, Indiana, couple was arrested and charged with child neglect shortly after a cell phone video surfaced showing their one-year-old daughter placing a .40 caliber handgun in her mouth. As she did so, one of the parents can be heard in the background encouraging the toddler to make sounds simulating the weapon being fired.

Michael Barnes, the father of the child in the disturbing video, was already under investigation by local police for attempting to sell a handgun to an undercover officer via social media. As part of the follow-up on that case, the video was discovered on a cell phone in Barnes’ home. Barnes and the mother of the child, Toni Wilson, were taken into custody and charged with child neglect.

A statement released by the Evansville Police Department also says:

“Barnes can be heard telling the child to say ‘pow’ on multiple occasions while the child plays with the gun. The video also shows the child placing the muzzle of the gun in her mouth. At no point does Barnes try to stop the child from playing with the gun.”

The child’s mother originally told police the weapon seen in the video was merely a pellet gun. But police officials said the handgun was, in fact, a semiautomatic .40 caliber pistol. It is not known if the gun was loaded when the child placed it into her mouth.

Barnes and Wilson face multiple charges in light of the video. Those charges include child neglect and criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon. Barnes will also be charged with the illegal sale of a gun.

The child from the video has been placed into emergency foster care, as have one-month-old twins who were living at the Barnes/Wilson residence in Evansville.

This is just the latest case of guns and children in potentially fatal combinations.

On December 30 of last year, a woman in Idaho was shot dead when her two-year-old-son pulled a handgun from her purse and fired it at her. And in April of 2014 another two-year old child accidentally pulled the trigger on a revolver he found under his mother’s bed, killing his 11-year-old sister, who was shot in the chest.


This article was originally published by the same author at

By Andrew Bradford

Proud progressive journalist and political adviser living behind enemy lines in Red America.

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