The Snohomish County Prosecutor’s willingness to prosecute Derek Carlile demonstrates seriousness about community protection. Mr. Carlile’s daughter suffered a violent gun death and the prosecutor represents her and the community in court. If we want to see a reduction in these types of negligent child gun deaths, we have to enforce consequences. Legal consequences are designed to protect the community, but they also provide traction for broader societal changes.
Thanks to stricter drunken driving laws, Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and other public health campaigns, drunken driving deaths have been cut in half in this country. The culture of drinking and driving is forever changed. We need a cultural shift of this magnitude in the way we address gun violence as a community. Greater accountability and putting a face on victims of gun violence are important parts of addressing this critical public health issue.
While we wait for the prosecutor’s decision about retrial, let us reflect that there are certain behaviors we should strongly condemn for the good of the community and welfare of our children. These behaviors include drunk driving and leaving a loaded gun within a child’s reach.