Yup, that’s the headline over at charlotte.cbslocal.com: “NC Teen Shot In Head By Rifle In Pickup.” Condolences. Now, who knew rifles drove around in pickups looking for Tar Heel teens to murder? It get worse. “Authorities say a 16-year-old boy has been killed after a rifle went off in a pickup truck [not shown] where he was a passenger.” Regular readers of this series will know our main point: guns don’t “go off.” They discharge negligently. I mean, someone is responsible for their negligent discharge. Someone transported a firearm in a loaded condition. Someone allowed the gun’s muzzle to point in an unsafe direction. Not this: “Investigators told local media outlets that Austin Hedrick’s father was driving the pickup truck late Friday night and his son was in the passenger seat when the rifle fired.” The way this story’s written, the rifle had been waiting for just such an opportunity . . .
Police say the father told them the rifle had been in the truck all day.
Authorities say they are still investigating the shooting and no charges have been filed.
Stories of negligent firearms discharges should not shy away from the truth about guns. “Accidents” are the direct result of negligence. Nothing more, nothing less. When you’re transporting a firearm in a vehicle, unload it and secure it properly. If you have to buy special equipment to do so, do so. That is all. Well, there is one more thing . . .
Whether or not charges should be filed against the person or persons responsible is an important question. One school of thought: those responsible have suffered enough. They will continue to suffer for the rest of their lives. The other perspective: punishment creates deterrence. What’s your take?