Passively Constructed Negligent Discharge Story of the Day: Clumsy Rifle! Edition

Texas rattlesnake (courtesy wildtexas.com)

As usual, we start with the headline: Wise County teen shot when rifle bumped a wall, sheriff reports. Clumsy rifle! “Several children spotted a snake while playing outside along County Road 4764 and ran inside to get a gun to shoot it,” star-telegram.com reports. “As they were pulling a rifle from the gun cabinet, it bumped a wall and discharged, hitting the teen. Wise County EMS flew the victim to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.” Was the gun locked in a gun safe . . .

Possibly.

Was the child too young to have access to the gun? Possibly.

Was the gun stored with a round in the chamber and the safety off? Possibly.

Did the young lad’s finger pull the trigger? Definitely (unless it was a Remington 700).

Was the gun pointed in a safe direction? Nope.

Should the paper have avoided using passive construction to tell the tale so that this story could be a teachable moment for all gun owners? What do you think?

comments

  1. avatar Vhyrus says:

    I’d take a gunshot to the leg over a rattlesnake bite to the leg any day of the week.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Not so sure. I was bitten by a sidewinder rattlesnake.
      Only one fang got me though.
      My brother was bitten about the same time. Neither of us ended up having any significant medical care/treatment, other than watching and waiting. It stung for a bit.

      1. avatar Vhyrus says:

        Probably was a dry bite. If he had put some juice in you I promise you would have a different opinion.

        Edit: If it was an actual sidewinder, they have weaker venom and smaller glands than most other rattlesnakes, so you may have lucked out twice.

        1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

          It definitely was. Part of my job was to clear the area of the little nasties before work started on the drilling rigs.
          I donated some to the San Diego zoo.
          I’ve still got the scar.

      2. avatar CA.Ben says:

        The big ones are the least dangerous. They know that they can’t eat you, so the bites are often dry. It’s the baby rattlesnakes that you have to watch out for. They don’t know better, so they blow all their venom into every bite.

    2. avatar Jonathan -- Houston says:

      Well, if they were able to leave the area of rattlesnake and repair to the house to retrieve a rifle, then couldn’t they have just stayed in the house; leaving the rifle alone, the snake alone, and everyone’s legs and abdomens intact?

      Guns and snakes, same four step process should work.

      If you find a snake: STOP! Don’t Touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.

      Had these idiot, unsupervised kids followed these simple four steps, they wouldn’t even have had to bother with the four firearms safety rules.

      1. avatar FoRealz? says:

        Being a dad I can assure you that idiot and kid go together. Quite often.

        It’s what they do. Especially if dealing with the dumbest creatures to walk the earth, teenagers.

        1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          So? I’m sure thousands of kids come across snakes and/or guns every year, particularly in the summer months when curious kids are unsupervised and dryer weather keeps snakes on the move. And yet, how many end up injured by their alleged idiocy for engaging either? Few.

          As a father, I encourage people to instruct their kids properly and quit scapegoating kids’ idiocy for their own poor parenting.

  2. avatar Hannibal says:

    When the possibilities include teens lying about doing something stupid, that’s usually the explanation I’ll zero in on.

  3. avatar Kevin L says:

    Probably a Remington 700, so it may actually be partially the rifles fault. Still should’ve had better muzzle discipline though.

  4. avatar former water walker says:

    Didn’t mention how old the kids were. 13? Or 18? A teen is a teen. Of course the paper isn’t teaching anything. This AIN’T 1950 you know. Cant make sense or be judgemental.

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    Since a lot of teenagers are worse than snakes, I’d say that this little episode worked out way better than expected.

  6. avatar Anonymous says:

    “Was the gun stored with a round in the chamber and the safety off” Safety was probably off and I would say it was pretty definite that there was a round in the chamber. Guns with empty chambers don’t discharge.

    1. avatar dakiwi13 says:

      unless of course the shotgun was pumped before the trigger was pulled. thus loading a round in the chamber

    2. avatar Nick D says:

      Maybe, or maybe one of the dumb teens loaded the rifle while it was still in storage, seeing as how the ammo would have most likely been right there. The story is so small, and so poorly writen, who knows?

      1. avatar Bob says:

        When you’re trying to report the facts so that the reader can determine the causes and effects, the story is poorly written. When you’re trying to blame the gun (and support gun control), the story is perfectly written.

  7. avatar Kevin der Kinderen says:

    Missed opportunity and you make a good point. Instead of telling a real story and delivering a safety lesson they deliver a political story that perpetuates falsehoods. Yes. It is the gun’s fault. Right.

  8. avatar mountocean says:

    Although you’re right that this was the result of a series of bad decisions/actions we should recognize that trigger’s don’t have to be pulled by a finger to “go off”. In a gun cabinet specifically I’m sure a mischievous trigger could find all sorts of bolt-handles, slings, pistol grips, sights, charging handles or other gun barrels.

  9. avatar John L. says:

    Bad rifle! No rifle biscuit!

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Bad rifle! No Match Ammo! ?

      Cripes.

  10. avatar scooter says:

    The kid derped. Derpers derping are a massive problem. Derping with cars or firearms can be lethal. Friends don’t let friends derp. At least the snake was just snakin’, as snakes do, and I suppose he lived to think snake thoughts and do snake things another day. Snake on, brother.

  11. avatar Southern Cross says:

    And how many kids were trying to grab the rifle at the same time?

  12. avatar Mark Lloyd says:

    The snake bit a dog also, so they were after the snake with a .22 Seems a 2X4 would have worked pretty well and not nearly as temperamental as a rifle.

  13. avatar SleeStac says:

    There probably wasn’t a snake at all. Just some kids screwing around with a gun. Accidently discharge the thing. Come up with a story on the way to the hospital.

    1. avatar outwardhound says:

      Maybe . . .but in rural Wise County it is a good believable cover story if not the truth.

      My younguns having standing orders to shoot rattlers (and copperheads) on site if in the vicinity of the house or barns. They’ve done so a few times over the years without managing to shoot themselves.

      1. avatar Sir Wulf says:

        While I’ve killed a few snakes over the years, its wise to teach your kids how to clearly identify the different local species of snakes. While some poisonous snakes are ill-tempered and look for a scrap when they shouldn’t (Mojave Rattlers, I’m looking at you…), there are plenty of other species (even venomous ones) that generally mind their own business and will keep your land free of rodents and other pests. I’m still peeved that my neighhbors killed the king snake that had settled into my garage.

      2. avatar SleeStac says:

        I don’t doubt the existense of rattlers in the county or the zeal of the kids to shoot it. What makes me question the story is that someone got shot in the leg pulling a gun out of a cabinet. You would have to store the gun loaded, off safe, ready to fire, then rotate the gun around far enough to point it at someones leg, and the discharge it.

        I’m not saying it would be impossible, but screwing around with the gun sounds so much more likely and so much more likely by teens.

  14. avatar Joe says:

    Just saw a Savage Model 12 fire as the bolt was closed last month. Guns can and do go off. To ignore that as a possibility is to ignore a basic understanding of mechanical devices. Namely they can and do fail, break, operate abnormally. Does it happen often? No. Are most ND’s/ AD’s avoidable, and have an operator error side to them? Absolutely.

  15. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Gee, by the time I was a teen, my friends and I were very proficient in the use of firearms. I chalk this one up to evolution in action.

  16. avatar cmeat says:

    county teens aren’t usually very wise.
    they stored the rifle barrel down and retrieved it by grabbing the trigger.
    but dad, there was a snake…

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