Back in the day, the investigation into a police officer’s firearms-related suicide would inevitably conclude that the officer died “cleaning his gun.” In other words, it was an accident. At least officially. That way the cop’s widow could collect his pension and his peers were free to forget the fact that a fellow officer topped himself. Did I say “back in the day”? It still happens. And the coverup doesn’t just extend to law enforcement officers. The media continues to report negligent discharges and suicides as gun cleaning accidents without subjecting the claim to serious scrutiny. To wit this [via rrdailyherald.com] . . .
An 18-year-old Littleton man lost his life in a shooting mishap in his family’s home Wednesday.
According to Warren County Sheriff Johnny Williams, Joshua Adam Curl [above] was accidently shot in the head with a 12-gauge shot gun while his brother was servicing, cleaning and repairing the gun.
It may have gone down that way. But it’s hard to see how—especially if you add servicing and repairing to cleaning.
It’s theoretically possible to somehow leave a shell in a shotgun, negligently point the firearm at someone’s head and accidentally pull the trigger. But the odds of violating three of the four gun safety rules are less than the odds of running into Oriha Zarien at Costco.
Again, I’m not saying it doesn’t happen (the ND). It does. And no matter how Joshua Curl lost his life, our sympathies are with his family. But it’s also worth reminding the media that they shouldn’t be afraid to tell the truth about guns or those who use them.
At the very least, whenever a journalist hears the gun cleaning explanation for a firearms-related death he or she should immediately consider the possibility that everything may not be exactly as it seems.
And while the gun cleaning meme may seem a harmless way to shelter the bereaved from scrutiny and “unnecessary” pain, the result makes guns seems more dangerous than they are. Which hurts all of us, at least in the long run.