Nothing beats a trashy TV marathon on a cold winter’s day in Sydney. Snuggled on the sofa with a blanket and hot cup of tea, I flicked through the options looking for a reality-tv hit, and settled in to watch the latest from the Kardashian-Jenner family in ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ (my fav). As a self-confessed Kardash fan, I am just one of the millions of viewers who have helped sky-rocket this family to superstardom. And while it may seem like yet another reality-tv show with no other purpose than to provoke envy in all of us mere mortals through their insights into the high life, there is the added entertainment of the rather sweet family-orientated values that the Kardashian-Jenner’s live by, which remains a focus point of the show.
So due to the generally mild calamities of this tight-knit family, I was definitely not mentally prepared for this particular episode as it unfurled before me. The storyline (Season 8, Episode 3) followed Bruce Jenner’s mission to not only purchase a gun to keep in the house, but to have his youngest kids, Kendall (17) and Kylie (15) learn how to fire it, much to his wife’s despair. The episode, entitled “Agree to Disagree” shows the disgust of Kris Jenner and daughters Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian at the concept of keeping a gun in the house, while Bruce Jenner (backed by his daughter Kendall) remains hard and firm on his belief that the gun is a necessary step to protect his family.
Could it be that this friendly family tv show decided to take on the big gun debate?
Gun related storylines in US TV are bound to consistently re-ignite this hot topic debate nationwide, and I think they also create a certain sense of unease with the show’s international audiences. Simply based on the fact that the majority of the rest of the western world does not have the same laws on guns as in the United States, there is definitely a lot of us who find the ongoing argument of Constitutional Rights a little incomprehensible as an outsider.
While I am usually Team Bruce when it comes to disagreements with his wife and family brand Momager, Kris Jenner, I was a little unprepared to see Bruce’s unwavering stance on getting a gun and teaching the kids to use it, and for once I had to agree with Mom. As the plot played out to conclusion it was decided – a “compromise” offered by daughter Kendall – that the two in favour of the gun (Bruce & Kendall) were to be the only two in the household to know the code to the safe where the gun would be kept. A strange compromise, my friend was quick to quip about the morbid hilarity that the Jenner’s had pretty much just unanimously decided to give half the family the ability to efficiently murder the other half of the family!
With the amount of human traffic that must pass through their front doors on a daily basis, with hair stylists, make-up artists, housekeepers, chefs, PA’s, and publicists, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jenner kids were blissfully unaware, shut in their bedrooms all day like the teenagers they are, of who their Momager has got coming and going. What if one of Mom’s entourage made a late night unscheduled visit to the house and Kendall was home alone? I can see the headline now; “Jenner kid guns down the make-up artist on the front lawn”. Serious publicity! Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but you get the point.
With Bruce Jenner’s constitutional rights aside, when did it become okay for kids to bear arms?
According to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) who compiled a fact sheet on Youth Gun Violence in the U.S, the risks associated with a gun in the home (e.g increased gun accidents, homicide, intimidation, completed suicide) are greater than their benefits, with no credible evidence showing that having a gun in the home assists in self-defence and reduced injury. The report goes on to state that for every time a home fire-arm is used in self-defence, there are on average, eleven completed and attempted firearm suicides, seven assaults and homicides with a firearm, and four accidental firearm deaths or injuries.
Watching Kendall on the firing range was more uncomfortable than entertaining for me, and while the Jenner’s were precautious and sent Kendall on the necessary safety course, the idea of a teenager having day-to-day access to a deadly weapon that belongs in the military or police force still managed to leave a bitter taste in my mouth.
The U.S-based non-profit group, Common Sense about Kids and Guns, are a group of owners and non-owners of guns committed to working together to protect America’s children from gun deaths and injuries. According to them, as firearms pose such significant risk to children, including adolescents, the American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded that the most effective way to prevent firearm-related deaths and injuries to kids and adolescents is to remove guns from their homes and communities. It makes no sense to keep a gun at home for “protection”, if that same gun puts your family members or visitors at risk.
One of the largest handgun control organisations, the Brady Campaign, was another source of yet more shocking statistics. They state that American children die by guns 11 times as often as children in other high-income countries, and that firearm homicide is the second-leading cause of death (after motor vehicle crashes) for young people aged between 1 and 19 years old in the U.S.
So before Kendall accidentally shoots Kylie during a row over the tv remote, maybe Bruce needs to be a good role model for the fans and think about changing the access code to the safe, or perhaps re-think having a gun in the house altogether.
I say leave it to the professionals Bruce, you can afford a security guard or two!
written by Victoria Garside