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As we’ve pointed out numerous times, the media is a bit obtuse when it comes to gun safety. Foe one thing, they tend to use passive construction when writing about negligent discharges. “The gun went off” as opposed to “the careless owner pulled the trigger.” The media’s willingness to give owners a milligan is no surprise. You’re no more likely to see a jobbing journo squeezing off a few rounds down at the local gun range than you are to find Wayne LaPierre at a SoHo poetry reading. Even by those low standards, this reports on a near-tragedy in Omaha is reprehensible. “Police said a 13-year-old boy who was part of a group of volunteers cleaning homes found a gun and fired it. No one was injured in the incident near 72nd and Dodge streets, but the homeowner wants to know why the teenager got into his personal property and why his house wasn’t cleaned.” No, really. In fact, our IGOTD was seriously pissed . . .

Gun enthusiast Stan Voekes had some of the group members working in his house. He said he didn’t expect anyone to touch a rare .40-caliber handgun he brought from Croatia.

“It probably surprised the hell out of him when that thing went off,” he said. “I ran in there and thought I would find somebody laying on the floor.”

He said all he found instead was a stunned teenager and a bullet hole in his bedroom wall . . .

He said that after the gun incident, the group left. He said it left him with a hole to fill and a bigger mess to clean up.

“(It’s in) worse shape now than before they came,” he said.

Organizer Rochelle Ferris said the mission is to spend just four days in each city.

“We ask to prioritize, based on the situation, continue the safety of young people and feel like the job was done to the best of our ability,” she said.

Voekes said he is disappointed, but also relieved.

“Really a sigh of relief when I found the only holes were in a wall and not a person,” he said.

He said he doesn’t plan to file any charges, but he does wish the group would repair his bullet hole before leaving town.

It’s a good thing that the police don’t charge Mr. Voekes for the accidental discharge. On the other hand, maybe it isn’t. As for, c’mon guys. Time to take this stuff seriously.

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  1. Well, I guess I would say Voekes was dumb for not securing his pistol, as he would be dumb to leave any item of valuable personal property unsecured when strangers come over the clean.

    But I also have to ask: What does it say about the idiocy of youth that their first reaction when picking up a gun is to pull the trigger? I mean, really, does this kid live in a vacuum? Does he not read about kids being killed by negligent discharges? Was his mind so numbed from playing with toy guns and video game that the first thing he did when picking up a gun was to squeeze the trigger? That's a powerful degree of stupid there and thirteen years old is old enough to understand that actions lead to consequences.

    So while Voekes certainly deserves a stiff reprimand, I would deliver one to the 13 year old's parents as well. If they didn't teach their son that picking up a gun and pulling the trigger is a dumb thing to do then they bear some culpability as well.

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