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One would think it wouldn’t be necessary to point out what a problematic combination guns and alcohol make. And for the most part, it isn’t. But in any free society, the vast majority will exercise their rights responsibly while a small minority won’t. Those whose self-appointed mission is to curtail those rights like nothing more than to spotlight the examples those few provide. Their argument is, because there are a few idiots who just can’t handle their rights, no one should have them. So we can all thank seventeen-year-old Israel Torres for providing our gun-grabbing friends with one more arrow for their metaphorical quivers. Unfortunately, we’ll have to express our gratitude to his next of kin . . .

According to, the kid’s father initially claimed it was one of those mysterious shots from nowhere.

Deputies spoke to the teen’s “highly intoxicated” father, who told them he and his two sons were in the backyard when they heard a gunshot and saw Torres drop. But that version of events did not make sense to officers, and after a brief period of questioning, the father told a different story.

Instead Israel, along with his father and brother, were imbibing in the back yard of a home in McAllen, Texas late Monday night. According to the county sheriff,

“All three are pretty drunk when someone pulls a .380-caliber, semi-automatic (handgun) and shoots it into the backyard,” Treviño said. “The 17-year-old gets it and tells his girlfriend, ‘Here, look, pull the trigger.’”

The teen’s girlfriend refused to handle the loaded weapon, so he pulled out the gun’s clip and turned to a butane tank, Treviño said.

The shot he fired at the tank ricocheted right back, striking him in the head and killing him.

“It was just an accident under the influence of alcohol,” Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said Tuesday.

It’d be easy to make a crack about how stupid it was to take a shot at a butane tank in the first place (and I put the over/under on the number of comments it takes before the Darwin Awards are mentioned at four). But given that he was drunk to begin with and dear old dad wasn’t providing much parental guidance, there’s really not much left to do but shake our virtual heads at the waste of it all. Guns and hooch go together like Hutus and Tutsis. As in they don’t. So just don’t, m’kay?

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  1. I’ll add my kindling to the caliber wars: despite losing a significant amount of energy to that non-elastic collision and rebound, that .380 still had lethal energy, even in a deformed shape. “I’m just sayin’.” (I hate that saying.)

    • I am finding it hard to believe that any caliber bullet could have come back with any amount of energy to be lethal. I wonder if the victim was standing beside the tank?

  2. Mr. Torres was in the US illegally so deportation proceedings will be a little different in this situation.

      • Too bad Congress is obsessed with letting illegals who are criminals fulfill their dreams while US citizens graduating from college with student loans and lousy job prospects are told to drop dead.

        • No one’s stopping you or anyone else from mowing lawns for 30 cents an hour. Illegal immigrants aren’t responsible for dumb college kids taking out massive loans underwritten by the federal government to get degrees in Victorian asshattery, and it ain’t the their fault that jobs paying what spoiled college grads expect to earn are tend to be rare in the field of reading and talking about books written six hundred years ago.

        • @ Blinky Pete

          Your federal and possibly state governments are stopping you and anyone else who is a citizen from mowing lawns for $0.50/hour. It is called the “minimum wage” and it effectively does not apply to anyone in the country illegally because they do not have any leverage against the criminals who employ them.

        • Minimum wage only applies if there is an employee employer relationship, a contractual independent service can be decided between parties at any price. It is the responsibility of the service provider to report the income to the IRS at the end of the year.
          So yes, anybody can cut anyones grass as a contractor at whatever amount both parties agree to and it is perfectly legal.

  3. See, this is why I only drink and drive. Drinking and handling firearms is extremely dangerous.

  4. Taking off from poor Israel Torres’ misfortune, here’s a Question of the Day to consider: When might you be too under the weather to handle or carry a gun?

    There have been a couple of times I was sick as a dog, but still had to be out, and decided to leave the sidearm at home. It was sort of like having enough judgment to know my judgment was off.

    • I can’t imagine being so sick that I didn’t have enough judgment around how to handle a firearm – or that I could be physically sick to the point that it would change how I used/responded-to deadly force.

    • Lots of substances can impair coordination or reaction time, but nothing wrecks judgement like alcohol does.

      • Dumb people drinking = ferociously stupid.

        Think of ferociously stupid a your garden variety idiocy mixed with equal parts ambition and creativity – the general results are injury, death, and / or incarceration…

  5. When I was younger, being the intellegient young men we were, we lined up camping propane tanks on a 2×4 layed across a small campfire. Shot them with an old pump action .22LR all night long and lived to tell the tale. Albeit we were about 75-100 yards off from said targets.

    My question is, did the .22LR penetrate the metal better because of its small diameter vs the .380, or we’re we just lucky not to catch a ricochet? Distance maybe a factor? Either way, it was a hell of a good time. Though shooting bullfrogs was almost as entertaining, if slightly more sadistic

    • Or possibly the thickness of the metal. We were hittin the little green Coleman tanks.

      • A long long time ago at my friends family camp, his uncle shot a near full grill propane tank that had a burning rag on top of it. I can’t remember what they used, but it proceeded to turn into a flaming, self propelled, bouncing projectile. It proceed to travel about 50 yards through the woods starting one heck of a brush fire.

        • If you must shoot propane tanks, do it in a gravel pit or similar safe area against a solid backdrop. Gravel does not catch fire (but does fly around some). Get some distance between you and your “reactive” target, and hit it with a .308 / .30-06 caliber or LAP 5.56.

          That’s my advice, and its worth what you paid for it.

          A point blank shot against a steel target is inadvisable…

  6. From the Monitor story:

    ‘The teen’s girlfriend refused to handle the loaded weapon, so he pulled out the gun’s clip and aimed at a butane tank, but he “thought twice” about shooting it and instead pointed it at his head, Treviño said.

    “He fires one time and shoots himself in the head,” Treviño said.’

    • Good catch. I hadn’t read the story until you said that. I guess a ricochet isn’t to blame after all.

      But if you are afraid of pointing the gun at a butane tank and pulling the trigger, why in the bloody hell would you think that pointing it at your head is a safer option? This kid was a few cans short of a six pack. And not just b/c he drank them.

    • Since he took the mag out, it’s seems he thought it would go “click.” In his stupor, he probably forgot about the chambered round.

    • That was not how the original story was worded. It indicated that the shot ricocheted, both in the title of the story and the body. Another case of more facts coming out in the fullness of time.

  7. These folks make it to adolesence and adulthood because we humans have removed most of the major predators that under more natural circumstances would have eaten these nitwits before they get old enough to breed. I say bring back wolves, grizzlies, mountain lions, and poisonous snakes in all 50 states so we can naturally clean up the gene pool a little bit, and incidents like this one will stop happening. Hey, but that is just my theory. Imagine this kid’s grandfather as an 11 year old throwing marshmellows at a grizzly bear’s head just for hoots and grins. Bear eats marshmellows, then bear eats kid, and society is spared the next 2 generations of mutant spawn that would have come from his loins.

    • A better plan for modern times – stupidity screening in the womb. We’re very close to being able to isolate, predict and presumably prevent certain genetic traits; hopefully they will isolate and enforce the eradication the dumb-redneck, pedophile, rapist and murdering-scum genes as well. 😉 Oh wait, that means almost entire US states will be forced to stop reproducing…which will result in a drop of future mega-church members as well as votes for certain political parties. Therefore, it will never happen.

  8. “Their argument is, because there are a few idiots who just can’t handle their rights, no one should have them.”

    That’s wrong on two counts. One, there are more than a few, and two, we don’t want to remove everybody’s rights as a result.

    Dan, if you really have right on your side, why do you have to say things like that which are so patently false?

    • “One, there are more than a few”
      Where’s your evidence? There are 40 million gun owners in the USA. There are 25,000 accidental gunshot wounds. That is an incidence of 0.0625%.

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