Caddo County_The fathers of two Caddo County teenagers, who were accidentally shot and killed, want to make sure the same thing doesn't happen to another family. They're joining forces with the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs to educate kids and adults about the dangers of guns. It's a film project called "Son Safety," inspired by the deaths of 14-year-old Patrick Bowen of Cement and another teenager, Dalton Dorsey. Both boys were accidentally shot and killed by other youths with guns while no adults were in sight. Their fathers wanted to share even more about the loss of their sons than what's in the film.
A game of Cowboys and Indians ended in tragedy during the summer of 2006 in Cement. 14-year-old Patrick Bowen was shot in the head and killed by a 10-year-old boy while at the boy's grandfather's home. "We thought based on the nature of Oklahoma, especially rural Oklahoma, we would probably never be able to do much in gun control," says Gene Christian of the Office of Juvenile Affairs. "What we needed to talk about was more an issue of gun safety and responsibility."
Gun safety is a message Bowen's father feels strongly about. He says he had taught his son firearm safety, but Patrick's friend was another story. "We need to realize these weapons are dangerous if they are in the wrong hands, by somebody that isn't trained and taught from an early age to handle these weapons," says Geoff Bowen. "It can turn into a dangerous situation."
The "Son Safety" program wants to keep guns out of the hands of unsupervised kids. Investigators say there were 24 guns in the home where Patrick Bowen was playing the day he was killed. "Even those very opposed to gun control, very few of those people are opposed to gun responsibility," says Christian.
James Dorsey had to learn the hard way when a friend during a camping trip shot his son with his own rifle. "We need to teach these young people that either in firearm safety, or anything they do, that they need to think through their decisions, because there is a direct result of any decision they made and they can have deadly consequence," he says.
Christian and both of the fathers plan to share this video with groups across the state. "I think it carries much more weight hearing from two Oklahoma fathers who lost their sons, than hearing from someone who says it's going to happen here," says Dorsey. "Two people that say ‘it has happened and it happened to me.'" They say it's not the solution to youth gun safety, but it's the beginning of a very serious discussion.
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