• Tue
  • Sep 23, 2014
  • Updated: 5:17pm

Lethal right

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 June, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 June, 1999, 12:00am
 

Surprise, surprise! Children know where the trigger is on a gun, how to pull it and are fascinated by this lethal weapon.


These are the findings to be presented tonight on 20/20 (Pearl, 8pm) to convince Americans tighter gun controls are needed. In A World Full Of Guns, Diane Sawyer reports that while nearly half of all American homes with children contain guns, research shows that most of those children know how to find the weapons and have a sophisticated knowledge of how to use them.


In a 'unique' experiment, 20/20 placed real guns (unloaded and disabled) in a playroom at a day-care centre to see what the children would do with them. The children had previously been warned they should not play with such weapons and should inform an adult if they found one.


20/20 seems a little out of touch with the nature of children and the culture they have grown up in to be surprised that many ignored the warnings and instead began to experiment with what was on the table. Children cannot be blamed. After all, they have been given enough practice.


Most boys will have had toy replicas to play with soon after learning to walk. A toy gun in a child's hands asks to be pointed and popped at another child. They know real guns are not made for popping at the air, but for killing people. As for the real McCoy, they have seen adults playing with them on TV screens - so why shouldn't they? No one should be surprised that there is a danger in putting guns and children together. There have been too many cases when children have been involved in accidents with guns, not to mention what happens when firearms are readily accessible to disturbed teenagers.


Those outside the United States find it difficult to understand why in any modern, civilised society the right to bear human-killing machines should be included in basic constitutional freedoms. Until there is greater control, many will shun the invitation to 'Come To Marlboro Country', a land of heroically armed city cowboys with the highest rate of gun-related crimes in the world.


This edition of 20/20 only confirms how sad it is that the latest attempt to tighten gun controls foundered in the House of Representatives.


Miracle Of The Heart (World, 9pm) is very different from most of the natural history programming we see in Hong Kong, because of its approach to nature.


It took on the challenge of telling the story of evolution, and in particular the development of the four-chambered heart, from the Big Bang on. It sounded a bit much for a three-part series. But in fact it has used fascinating footage of surviving species from prehistoric ages to good effect, to develop its argument that all life is connected.


Tonight, the series comes to its climax with the highest stages of evolution. It promises extraordinary footage of the development of a chick, from its first heartbeat to hatching, and, finally, of the human being, from conception to birth.


This sounds like required viewing for any intrigued by the making of a baby.


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