What’s wrong with this picture? Mackenzie Douthit McKee of Teen Mom 3 recently Instagrammed it — it features her 4-year-old holding a gun, and she’s getting a lot of criticism for that decision.
The one-time reality TV star is making waves on social media again, only this time it isn’t about her diabetes or unfortunate rap “skills.” This time it’s actually about her parenting decisions. Namely, the decision to share photos of her toddler, Gannon, dressed head to toe in camo and wielding a gun.
McKee posted the picture on Instagram, captioning it, “‘Don’t worry momma, I’ll put supper on the table’ #raisingthemright.”
The mother-and-son duo, along with McKee’s husband, Josh McKee, were out on a family hunting trip, which is why the little guy had a gun to begin with.
The criticism started rolling in right away and encompassed a broad range of ire from people who dislike guns, people who dislike hunting and people who, it seems, just dislike McKee.
“A child this young has no reason to learn how to use a gun and cannot fully understand what it’s like to take a life,” one user commented. Another seemed to take issue with the whole “good ol’ boy” vibe in general, simply saying, “For his age this seems really of a redneck think [sic] to push.” Another was just shocked at Gannon’s age: “Can people stop giving there [sic] kids access to guns already!! Let the kid grow up first jesus.”
Of course, that’s not to say McKee doesn’t have her share of supporters too. Plenty of fans on her page rushed to defend her. Like this commenter, who stands in solidarity with McKee: “Keep doing you girl! All of our kids get a gun for their 3rd birthdays to go hunting with. The mistake people make is not teaching their children about gun safety! Anyone ever heard ‘curiousity killed the cat’?! Well curious kids seem to want to explore things they know nothing about. Parenting win for you!”
Of course, the gun is actually just a BB gun, as McKee herself points out, and one “that can barely knock over a pop can” at that. But the fact is, seeing a child with a gun in their hands is going to freak people out.
Love it or hate it, little kids go on hunting trips, and the thing about hunting trips is that there’s usually a gun or two involved in the process. There’s a world of difference between snapping a photo of your 4-year-old with a loaded handgun they’ve never handled before and taking a few pictures on a family trip (with responsible adults standing right there) for posterity.
There’s no indication this kid’s gun was loaded. And regionally speaking, hunting is a relatively normal thing for Oklahomans to do, even with (and sometimes especially with) their children in tow. What seems wildly out of order to someone from a slightly less gun-happy atmosphere can seem totally normal to someone who grows up around hunting and is taught from a very early age to be careful and responsible with guns. McKee likely didn’t even think twice before taking the snap of her child dressed in camo and intent upon finding some woodland creatures for dinner.
Of course, any public figure, no matter how small their circle of influence, is going to draw public criticism for something, particularly if they’re a public figure who got that way through unconventional life choices and questionable decision-making skills.