MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN
(NNPA)—“I’m learning that milestones are a very difficult thing to get through in this first year . . . Everything has become ‘after Noah’s death,’” said Jodi Sandoval through a stream of tears. Jodi lost her 14-year-old son, Noah McGuire, to gun violence in Clintonville, Ohio last July 5
Jodi had made the deliberate decision to keep guns out of her own home in an effort to protect her five children: “I thought that by making a mindful choice not to have guns in my home or to allow guns in my home, to explain to my kids, explain to Noah, my feelings on the violent video games, the gun culture, the violence culture—I thought that if I said the right things and did the right things that somehow that would protect him from what happened to him.” But she couldn’t keep Noah safe when he went on a sleepover at his friend Levi Reed’s grandparents’ home. Levi, was also 14 years old, found and started fooling around with his grandfather’s loaded and unlocked gun.
“Children are curious . . . With guns it just seems common sense is the best measure to take against accidents like Noah’s death. Totally accidental: his friend pulled the trigger, the magazine wasn’t in the gun, [but] he didn’t know there was a bullet in the chamber.”
Now Jodi is wracked with grief and guilt. “I feel horrible that I had no idea that Noah was playing in a house where . . . there were guns.” Noah and his family aren’t the only victims of this tragic accident. Levi Reed was charged with delinquency and reckless homicide after accidentally killing his friend, and his life will be forever altered and burdened by this tragedy.