Alternate title: Teen Killed While Acting Like Jackass With Gun. I’m sorry, was that too clear and explanatory a title for you? Because that’s what happened to a 16 year-old from Harmony, Indiana yesterday. Sure, it might sound harsh when a kid ends up dead. Something that’s always a tragedy. No one wants to speak ill of the dead. Especially when you can couch what happened in terms that make him sound more like an unfortunate casualty than a dumb kid screwing around. And if you can also lead readers to conclude the real problem was the gun, well that’s just a bonus…

It seems to have been too clear and explanatory for the AP. They chose to title their brief report, W. Indiana Teen Fatally Shot While Handling Gun. That poor unsuspecting kid…sounds like all he did was pick up a gun and boom, he’s dead. How awful. Damned guns.

Not really, though. The unnamed kid was screwing around with a gun, showing off for his siblings and his girlfriend. ‘Don’t worry! It’s not loaded.’

Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton says the teen’s two siblings and girlfriend were with him at the home in the town of Harmony when the shooting happened Sunday afternoon. Heaton tells the Tribune-Star of Terre Haute (http://bit.ly/qOaBzU ) that the teen was pulling the gun’s slide back and forth when it went off while being pointed at his head.

Follow that link to the original story in the Terre Haute Tribune Star and things are marginally more honest, not to mention slightly clearer. Clay County Teen Dies From Accidental Shooting.

According to (Coroner) Heaton, the youth was “pulling the slide back and forth.”

At some point, “for whatever reason,” he put the handgun to his head and it went off, Heaton said.

In both accounts, the only assumption the reader can come to is that one of these precocious Hogwarts wizards probably zigged his wand when he should have zagged at just the wrong time, causing the gun to magically “go off”.

The fact that the kid pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger under the mistaken assumption that it was unloaded never quite made it into the copy. Somehow. No, it’s easier to paint the kid as a hapless victim of yet another evil NRA-promoted gun. Chalk up another “gun violence” death for the gun-grabber community.

Kid doesn’t sound like (as much of) a moron. Guns are painted as evil. Everyone wins.

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32 Responses to Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Unnamed Harmony, IN Teen

  1. If our fellow Americans in the entertainment news business really cared about accidental, or negligent, shootings, they could just ask the NRA to produce a series of 30 second videos on gun safety and donate the air time during prime time hours. Millions of potential gun victims could be saved from those unpredictable, nasty guns.

    I’ll bet they could even find a few A-list actors who already know the four rules who would be happy to help.

    • I wish that would help, and I do know that you are being sarcastic, but this is a case of the teen brain. Teens, especially male teens, are impulsive, and all the training and knowledge in the world won’t protect a young person in the midst of impulsively doing something dangerous. While I never did anything stupid with a gun at that age, there were several car and motorcycle “events” in which I could have killed myself. Guns are not the problem, of course, but it is easier to blame them instead of incomplete synaptic and myelin development.

      • “While I never did anything stupid with a gun at that age, there were several car and motorcycle “events” in which I could have killed myself.” Same here; it’s a wonder I survived my teen years.

        Nevertheless, I don’t buy into the whole dumb teen/brain development argument. I have known too many teens who were disciplined and self controlled to believe all that. Self control can be taught. All children need to navigate the perilous teen years is guidance from their parents.

        • While you might not buy the notion, neurological scientist believe it to be true. Of course, many kids are pretty disciplined, but they are still more susceptible to impulsive behavior than adults older than 25. And some brains develop the needed hardware sooner than average, but it is truly not just a matter of good parenting compared to bad.

        • Right, but scientists are as likely as others to confuse effect with cause.

          In other words, discipline, or good parenting, might encourage brain development which would then enable a child or adult to make good decisions. Recovered brain injury victims have shown that neurological change and growth are possible with exercise.

        • Not really, these are not social scientists, but neurological researchers–there have been advances in medical technologies that have allowed the researchers to map the brains of their subjects very accurately. It was not that long ago that researchers thought that most of the development took place in the first few years, so maturation was simply a matter of following instructions from elders and gaining enough experience to be able to make “adult” decisions (essentially your point). Because of the new information, scientists have had to change their models.

          Yes, brain injuries can, to some degree, be recovered from–new synoptic pathways are formed for instance to allow the injured party to regain some of the losses suffered. This does not mean that parental direction will overcome all of the issues caused by the developing frontal lobes found in teens.

        • So researchers are now controlling for parenting? I’m not trying to be smart, I’m just trying to understand. How does the more accurate mapping account for different parenting styles?

  2. While driving to work this morning, my local news station said it was a suicide in front of a friend and family members.

  3. Nobody said natural selection was pretty. But the Left’s love of Darwinism is only out of spite for Christians. Once a firearm factors into the equation they’ll bring out their pseudo-humanism to scold us into giving up our gun rights.

    My sympathies go out to this young man’s family, girlfriend, and friends. Common sense could have saved a life that day.

  4. So, he’s jacking the slide (no idea what make of gun, but it sounds like a semi auto) and I am guessing that there is a magazine in the pistol? Either he didn’t cycle the whole mag, or the gun has no slide hold back when the magazine is empty and he was one cycle short of ejecting the last round. Either way, sounds like he was playing roulette on a wheel with all red…

  5. “And if you can also lead readers to conclude the real problem was the gun, well that’s just a bonus…”

    That’s another gross mischaracterization of what the gun control folks say

    We say PART of the problem is gun AVAILABILITY to unfit people like this kid.

    • “That’s another gross mischaracterization of what the gun control folks say”

      Not really. This is on display at your blog daily.

    • You personally might not blame the gun, Mike. If that’s true, good for you. Plenty of the drivel coming from your side of the aisle, though, blames the hardware.

  6. “At some point, “for whatever reason,” he put the handgun to his head and it went off, Heaton said.”
    Sadly, he put the handgun to his own head and pulled the trigger under the mistaken idea that the gun was not loaded.
    This poor, young man had not been properly trained in gun safety.
    Simple rule one: Treat all guns as if they are loaded.
    Rule Two: Never point a gun at anything you don’t want to destroy.
    Rule Three: Keep your finger off of the trigger until the gun is pointed at your target.
    Rule Four: Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
    My condolences to the family and friends for their loss.

  7. DZ says: “The fact that the kid pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger under the mistaken assumption that it was unloaded never quite made it into the copy. Somehow. No, it’s easier to paint the kid as a hapless victim of yet another evil NRA-promoted gun. Chalk up another “gun violence” death for the gun-grabber community.”

    The copy is neither pro-gun nor anti-gun. Do not mistake your partisan pro-gun perspective for objective reality. You don’t seem to be aware that you are demanding that news organizations embrace your pro-gun agenda. Why should they?

    • I can stare at a gun for hours. I can dance around it, yell at it and call it names. It won’t do a thing until I manipulate it. Guns don’t “go off”, they are fired, be it negligently or purposefully.

      The only unbiased description would be to say the guy “negligently discharged the firearm”, not “it went off”. “It went off” implies spontaneous action from an inanimate object. When you describe someone starting a car you don’t say “it started” you say “he started it”.

      • Congratulations, you’ve invented a pointless semantic distinction. Guns certainly do go off, for example when you pull the trigger.

        If you take a few steps back and examine it, what you are doing here is completely transparent. You’re trying to control the discourse by controlling the terms. You’re devising your own PC.

        • How is that a form of “PC”? PC is implied whitewashing of an event. Saying it was a negligent discharge accurately describes the situation. The guy deliberately put a gun to his forehead and pulled the trigger. I don’t see how that’s anything but negligent discharge. There are no other words to describe it. Thus, it is not PC. Stop dreaming of a pro-Gun conspiracy where there is none.

        • One slight interjection if I’m wrong please call me out. If one doesn’t like any single aspect of the constitution/ bill of rights, than it would be prudent and wise to keep your mouths shut about that issue or just go somewhere where your ideals are reflected by the laws.

    • “Do not mistake your partisan pro-gun perspective for objective reality. You don’t seem to be aware that you are demanding that news organizations embrace your pro-gun agenda. Why should they?”

      That’s a pretty funny statement given that the liberal new organizations consistently mistake their anti-gun perspective for objective reality and expect everyone to embrace their anti-gun agenda. Why should we?

      • If by “consistently” you mean “usually but not this time” you would arguably have a point. THIS news story isn’t biased. You guys are biased. The only way you would like this story is if it were biased to your point of view. Like I said, do not mistake your partisan view for objective reality.

        You guys can’t even hear yourselves. For example: Zimmerman ranting about “yet another evil NRA-promoted gun.” There’s no mention of the NRA in the story. I guess DZ was just filling in the blanks for us. He’s also sore because the story failed to portray the kid as a “moron.” In a news story! Really? Really, TTAG?

        • Well, you do have a point. Typically AP and the small, regional reporting outfits stick to the facts and dispense with the partisan angles. I looked at a couple Indianapolis and Terre Haute papers and they pretty much just repeated the AP report. Let’s see if the Washington Post, NY Times, CNN, USA Today, or MSNBC pick up the story and see what kind spin goes on it. Wanna bet what it looks like?

        • Because the AP report is not biased, in the sense that the gun did, in fact, magically go off by itself. Because that is a thing that guns do. And when they are not pointed at someone the bullet will magically hit someone in a fatal place, because that is how guns work, and the AP played it straight up the middle.

        • Well, I meant it was not biased in the sense that it doesn’t seem to be purposefully turning the facts around for any particular political agenda like we normally see with the big national outlets. But yeah, they got the usual factual stuff wrong.

  8. If this kid had followed the rules that JJ mentioned, he’d still be alive. Bad $hit happens when people do stupid things, and then it’s the “GUNS” fault because some fool broke every rule in the book and killed himself. It’s a good thing he didn’t take one of the others with him.

  9. Incidents in which guns “go off” are almost always the same as cars that “suddenly accelerate”. In almost every case, subsequent analysis of the gun or car shows no issues with proper function.

    But the 11th Commandment of leftist j-skoolers at the AP is to NEVER judge. Everyone’s a victim who needs protection. Pass more laws, issue more regulations. Phrases like “personal responsibility” are verboten…

    • Incidents in which guns “go off” are almost always the same as cars that “suddenly accelerate”. In almost every case, subsequent analysis of the gun or car shows no issues with proper function.

      Fixed that for ya.

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