My First Rifle

2013, Society  -  25 min Leave a Comment
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This is a documentary about the Cumberland County in South Kentucky, deep in the American boonies, far from the metropolitan life. A place where booze is neither sold nor consumed and the Holy Bible reigns supreme. In a village of 1800 people there are 40 churches. It is a religious, closed community, yet guns are a part of everyday life; for self defense and for hunting. Exposed from a very young age, it is common there to own your first gun in pre-school.

Cumberland County hit the front pages of news worldwide, when 5-year-old Christian Sparks shot his 2-year old sister dead with a weapon he received as a gift for his 5th birthday. A real gun, with real bullets, that manufacturers openly advertise for children as "My First Rifle." While their mother was in the kitchen, Christian picked up his gun, and, unaware that it was still loaded, he accidentally shot his sister in the chest. Caroline was rushed to hospital, but tragically she died soon after.

The free possession of arms is hold as sacred in the U.S constitution, and it's deeply entwined with the countryside life. Guns of all shapes and sizes, from handguns to semi-automatics are sold in Cumberland. And, of course, weapons made especially for children. Just around the corner from where Caroline Sparks was shot dead is one of the largest shooting grounds in the United States. At 8000 hectares, this shooting ground is larger than 11,000 football pitches.