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Nicholas Bell and Jeffery Charbonneau of Manchester, Vermont were staying at another friend’s house Wednesday night. Mr. Bell decided to celebrate Thanksgiving early on Thursday morning by “pranking” his friend with a BB gun “wake up call.” Sadly for Charbonneau, the air gun was a real .22 rifle . . .

Why someone would think it was okay to shoot anyone with anything at what must have been very short range is beyond me. But I will confess to having been 24 years old at some point in the past. So I know that sometimes young men do some stupid shit.

Unfortunately for Mr. Charbonneau, the lowly .22 lived up to its reputation (amongst the cognoscenti), and disproved its reputation (amongst the ignorant). A single .22 caliber bullet had sufficient “stopping power” to shuffle him from this mortal coil.

That is how the Boston Herald and Bennington County State’s Attorney Erica Marthage tell it. But I can’t help but wonder if the story behind the story is different from the one that’s hit the ‘net.

A pellet gun has to be pumped (a.k.a. “cocked”) to propel its ammo. A .22 rifle can not be pumped. So why would Mr. Bell think the .22 was an air gun? If Mr. Bell thought he had a CO2 gun, as opposed to a pump gun, why would Bell assume the gun was loaded?

In any case, as my wife said when I told her what I was writing about “You never point a gun at anybody. That’s just dumb.” Keep in mind that today’s pellet guns can be extremely powerful weapons.

The reports say that Mr. Charbonneau was shot around eight am, and that the 911 call came it at 8:13. Depending on when he was actually shot, this falls more on the side of incompetence and/or shock than conspiracy. And yet . . .

The story does not clarify to whom the gun belonged. Giving Mr. Bell the benefit of the doubt about the whole “air gun vs. rifle” thing, we are forced to assume that one of the residents of the house owned the weapon. Which should have been secured. Especially if, as we can easily imagine, alcohol was part of the pre-Thanksgiving festivities.

The gun’s owner clearly didn’t understand the importance of commentator TTACer’s fourth rule of gun safety: don’t invite dumbasses into your home. Your gun, your responsibility. Period.

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