Posted tagged ‘Gun Fail’

How Is This Not Manslaughter?

July 28, 2014

How?

William DeHayes was showing Hoover his gun collection. While he was showing her his .22 caliber revolver, it accidentally fired and shot Hoover in the head, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. [More at the Tampa Bay Times.]

Hoover died in the ER yesterday; the child she was carrying died with her.

This is, of course, merely the ordinary awful that necessarily flows from Second Amendment fundamentalism.  I’ll say one thing:  anyone who chalks an incident like this to the necessary cost of preserving freedom cannot be said to be pro-life.  If abortion by gun is OK by you…

In any event, the blunt fact of unfettered gun ownership and the celebration of a culture of the gun is that those most at risk of gun violence remain those who own them and their friends and family.  Put together the gun-suicides, “accidents” like these,* and shootings of intimate partners and or others known to the shooter, and you have well over half of all gun deaths in the US — a number which in total is essentially the same as those we lose to road accidents.

The fantasy of the gun? It’s all fun and games until the reaper lays hold of its victim’s cloak:

Hans_Baldung_-_The_Knight,_the_Young_Girl,_and_Death_-_WGA01179

There’s more.  Here’s the bit that I just can’t stand:

Police are still investigating the incident, but believe it was an accidental shooting, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

An accident? Not a charge of involuntary manslaughter?

Maybe that’ll come, but sweet FSM! You pick up a gun and shoot someone dead — even if you didn’t mean to — and that’s not a crime?

The NRA, ammosexuals, and all their enablers in politics and the media tell us that the term “responsible gun owners” has actual meaning.  It doesn’t, as this case demonstrates .  I’ll update this post if it turns out that Mr. DeHayes faces actual consequences for taking another person’s life, but until then, I’m going to vent:

Responsible means that whatever happens with your gun is your fault.  Period.  You accidentally discharge it and no-one gets hurt? How’s this:  big fine, confiscate the weapon involved, lose the right to bear arms for a year for the first incident, forever if you repeat.  Someone gets hurt or dies?  Jail. Civil liability.  Loss of gun rights for life.  That’s responsibility.

But of course, I dream.  That’s not how we roll.  Instead, we’ll just  water the tree of liberty with a newlywed, and celebrate life by burying her fetus — and wait (not long) for the next red harvest.

a disregard for human life while engaging in wanton or reckless behavior.  The state may be able to prove involuntary manslaughter by showing the defendant’s recklessness or lack of care when handling a dangerous instrument or weapon, – See more at: http://statelaws.findlaw.com/florida-law/florida-involuntary-manslaughter-laws.html#sthash.4lq9WNmn.dpuf
an unintentional killing that results from recklessness or criminal negligence, or from an unlawful act that is a misdemeanor or low-level felony (such as DUI). – See more at: http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/involuntary-manslaughter-overview.html#sthash.wd8fjq3H.dpuf
an unintentional killing that results from recklessness or criminal negligence, or from an unlawful act that is a misdemeanor or low-level felony (such as DUI). – See more at: http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/involuntary-manslaughter-overview.html#sthash.wd8fjq3H.dpuf
an unintentional killing that results from recklessness or criminal negligence, or from an unlawful act that is a misdemeanor or low-level felony (such as DUI). – See more at: http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/involuntary-manslaughter-overview.html#sthash.wd8fjq3H.dpuf

*Scare quotes because such shootings are not acts of god — the deer that darts across the road just at the moment when you have to swerve into a tree or take a 400 pound antlered rodent through the windshield.  They are the statistically predictable outcomes of handing guns out freely to a population in which only half of the folks are above average.  That is, even though there is no way to predict that Ms. Hoover would fall victim to this awfulness, we knwo we can expect some number per year or month of folks felled by stupidity, carelessness, and general fuck ups with a gun.

Image: Hans Baldung, The Knight, the Young Girl, and Death, c. 1505.

 

Yo! You There! Call Yourself “Pro-Life” Do You…

October 20, 2013

Portrait_of_a_Dead_Child)_by_English_School

…Then what do you have to say about this:

A 2-year-old girl died Saturday afternoon after she found a loaded handgun and accidentally shot herself, Fayetteville police said. [via]

This latest report is not an anomaly.  Leaving aside malice — murder and random mayhem; leaving aside adult folly, when individuals supposedly at or past the age of reason self-nominate for Darwin awards; leaving aside the great gaping hole in families all over the country left by suicide-by-gun; kids, guns, and accidental deaths offer a blunt and clear test.  A neighbor said of this kid that she was “a 2-year-old baby who hasn’t even lived yet.”  So are they all.

If you think of the defenceless as deserving of special care…if you think that kids are the fit objects of national attention, of such importance that we must enact a rule of law so that such innocent lives may be absolutely protected…then what are you willing to do about the guns?

Let me be clear: I know that plenty of people who oppose abortion are horrified by American gun law and culture, and I honor that.  But lots do not, and there is a pretty fair correlation between the states that have the most restrictive abortion laws and the most relaxed legal framework for gun .  Those are the folks, those are the legislatures that I’m talking about.

Let me be clearer: my deepest sympathy goes to the family who just lost a daughter.  Doesn’t matter what their politics are. Doesn’t even matter to me what their role in the sequence of events that led to this little girl finding that weapon. Their hell is with them now and there’s nothing I can or would wish to  do to make it worse.  It can’t get worse.*

I’ll even admit that pointing to (what seems to me to be) a glaring inconsistency between anti-abortion politics and concern for the living is something of a cheap shot in this context.  The issue here is guns and the way some Americans have created a culture in which minimal moves to safer gun regimes are seen as the ultimate in tyranny. That’s what has to be confronted head on, I agree.

But I can tell you that I’m heartsick at reading story after story of babies killing babies or themselves.  And if you think children are actually something other than little adults, that they do need special attention, protection, care — and I do — then, yeah, I do think its fair to ask of anyone who presumes to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves where they stand.

That’s it.  I got nothing more on this.  I keep thinking about my boy when he was two and what I would felt had I found him on the floor…

Can’t bear it.

*This isn’t to say that I don’t favor criminal negligence charges against anyone who leaves a gun where a kid can get at it.  That’s a social sanction, and  it is vital that we as a society make it consequential to own a gun.  There’s reason they call it “deterrence.”  But as an individual?  I would never say to someone in this family’s position how sinfully dumb it is to keep a loaded gun anywhere near a kid.  They know

Image:  English School, Portrait of a Dead Child, 1624.