S. Texas shooting accident begs the question of whose rights take precedent — shooters or children?

LatinaLista — Two middle school boys in Edinburg, Texas only wanted to try out for the basketball team. They got cut before they even had a chance to try out — cut down, that is, by gunfire.

A woman hugs her daughter after two students were shot Monday, Dec. 12, 2011, outside Harwell Middle School north of Edinburg. (DELCIA LOPEZ/The Monitor)

The boys were wanting to impress the coach when all of a sudden shots rang out.

The boys, ages 13 and 14, were in a parking lot that had been converted into a temporary basketball court behind Harwell (Middle School) when they were shot about 4:45 p.m. Monday. There were about 50 children there trying out for the team. One boy going for a layup was shot just under the right arm, and the other was shot in the back while awaiting his turn.

It seems the school, in rural Hidalgo County, Texas, is next door to land that has been leased for hunting. It was something that the School Superintendent didn’t even know about until the shootings occurred. Law enforcement found three men on the property who had guns. Two men were shooting target practice about a half mile away. A third man was apprehended as he trespassed a nearby property carrying an AR-15 assault rifle.

The two men shooting target practice were let go but are still under investigation. The man with the AR-15 rifle remained in custody because authorities discovered he was in the country illegally.

Chances are it was the men who were having target practice that wounded the boys, according to law enforcement though ballistics will be run to see what guns the bullets match. Because of the incident, the children won’t be allowed to play outside for the rest of the week and school authorities are weighing their option of building a cinder block wall “stretching along the back of Harwell Middle School and a neighboring elementary school and curving around to protect the middle school from the north.”

This is one wall at the border that no one objects to.

It’s well known that Texas is a hunting state and one that prides itself on its gun culture. With such a culture also comes accidents. Jokes still surface about the time former Vice President Dick Chaney shot one of his hunting companions. Though there’s no law in Texas prohibiting shooting on private land next to schools, it’s hardly a laughing matter at what could and did happen.

As Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino (no relation to writer) said:

“…you would seem to think also that there’s some sort of personal responsibility that one has to take as a hunter or as a responsible adult.”

Otherwise, the right to carry firearms becomes a moot argument when the well-being of children are threatened.

(Editor’s note: Latina Lista has accepted participation in the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. This post is written as part of the Media Matters Gun Facts fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to further Media Matters’ mission to comprehensively monitor, analyze, and correct conservative misinformation in the US media. Some of the worst misinformation occurs around the issue of guns, gun violence and extremism, the fellowship program is designed to fight this misinformation with facts.)

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