My heart is broken for the family of a nine-year-old girl who was accidentally shot and killed by her three-year-old brother a few weeks ago, just a few cities away from me here in central Alabama.

Chief Ken Atkinson of the Irondale Police Department reported that the shooting occurred in the bedroom of the children’s grandparent’s house. The three-year-old boy found a loaded pistol on a nightstand and shot his sister in the head. (A family member supposedly left the gun there, not knowing that the children were coming over that day.) The little girl initially suffered life-threatening injuries but later passed away after being flown by medical helicopter to Children’s of Alabama.

I simply cannot imagine the pain of losing a child. I cannot imagine the weight of emotion and thought…or the depth of sorrow and grief. We all experience death during our lifetime; no one is spared. But the unimaginable loss of a child is just overwhelming.

Tragedies like this cause us to question, “Why?”…to look for whom or what was to blame, to wonder what could have been done differently. There are many people who will automatically place blame on the gun. They will cling to their belief that the gun caused this tragedy. They will call for more gun control. And they will use this story to try to prove their point that “guns are bad.” Some of the comments regarding this tragedy (posted on news sites and on social media outlets) are declaring that more people have been shot by toddlers than by terrorists in the last few years in our country and that “this is the price our society pays for its obsession with the Second Amendment.”

No. This is the price any society pays. We all know that guns need to be kept in safe places…away from children. We all know that children need to be watched, guided, and protected—from burning themselves on the stove, from falling down stairs, from drowning in the pool. But we also know that we cannot regulate mistakes. There will always be mistakes. There will always be accidents. There will always be tragedies. And there will always be someone else or something else to blame. It’s unavoidable and inevitable. And it’s absolutely heartbreaking, no matter the situation.

I ache for this family. I ache for any family who has suffered the loss of their precious little ones. And I know that my brothers and sisters in the firearms community feel the same way. I’m so sick of people hatefully spewing their lies that gun owners are stepping on the graves of children, that blood is on our hands, that we don’t care. Many people who are against the Second Amendment will claim that gun supporters purposefully ignore these kinds of tragedies. I know for a fact that we don’t. We mourn these tragedies. And we desperately hope and pray that these accidents never occur. That’s why we train. That’s why we teach. That’s why we share our beliefs, our knowledge, and our experiences. That’s why we are broken and why we are shaken to the core when things like this happen.

Chief Atkinson stated, “It’s tragic because this three-year-old has no idea what is going on right now. It is just a horrible situation. The lesson is you have to make sure those weapons are put up, out of sight and out of reach, really of anyone, but especially children.”

I believe that the lesson goes beyond that. I believe that the lesson also comprises the value of love and life…and the importance of consistency and caution. And I believe that the lesson echoes the phrase: Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, and faith looks up. While I pray for strength and healing for this family, my hope is that we make wise decisions, that we act responsibly, that we continue to learn, that we protect ourselves and our families, and that we constantly stay vigilant in our watch.