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A reprieve for Pawar
Goa to Gummidipoondi
Benazir returns
A manhunt ends
Escobar's end
Guns and Roses
Banking on Dini
Rwanda's death camps

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Frontline

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Guns and Roses

By V. Venkatesan

SIBLING squabbling is hardly a cognisable offence. But when overly liberal laws put deadly arms within easy reach of children, the situation is fraught with criminal possibilities--as the case of Brandon Roses, a 10-year-old from Oregon City, Oregon, U.S., will testify.

A year ago, Brandon, then 9, had been left in charge of his five- year-old sister Charolette and a six-year-old brother; their mother, Lurel Roses, had taken their three older siblings to a dance rehearsal. Brandon, annoyed with Charolette, told her to go to her room, but she refused. Whereupon, Brandon simply reached for his father's hunting rifle from a cupboard, loaded it, and shot her dead.

Last fortnight, prosecutors charged Brandon with the juvenile equivalent of murder, despite objections from his parents, who insist he did not mean to kill. Said Ramon House, Brandon's grandfather: "This is a real sensitive little boy, and they're just destroying his life. He knows he disobeyed his parents and feels real bad about it."

But to prosecutors, who contend that Brandon killed Charolette in a fit of anger, his expression of contrition may mean little.

The shocking incident raised inevitable questions about the culture of violence permeated by the constitutional right to bear arms, so strongly defended by right-wing Americans. President Bill Clinton has said that gun control is a top priority of his administration. But Republican-controlled Congress is sure to shoot down any extreme proposal in that direction. n

(Published in Frontline, September 22, 1995)

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