I’ve been railing against mainstream media reports of firearms “going off” for years. Guns don’t just “go off.” They don’t magically discharge on their own. If a gun fires just because it was knocked or dropped, any damage, injury or fatality is still the gun owner’s responsibility.
Here’s a typical evasion of same via bangoredailynews.com‘s Man accidentally shot to death in Baldwin was ‘great advocate for guns’ . . .
A mother and father are heartbroken, after losing their 20-year-old son in what appears to be an accidental shooting. It happened Sunday in Baldwin [Maine] . . .
Six friends were target practicing in a sand pit Sunday afternoon when one of the guns jammed. Investigators say as two men tried to fix the gun, it went off.
The sand pit is a popular place for gun enthusiasts like Chance Gallant and his friends to target practice. Chance’s parents say investigators told them their son walked around a pickup truck to see if he could help fix the jammed gun, when it fired hitting Chance in the chest. Immediately two of his friends, who are firefighters, tried to save him . . .
Chance’s father says his son and his friends practiced gun safety and just made a mistake.
“He was a great advocate for guns,” Schoolcraft said. “He loved them. There wasn’t anything he didn’t know about them.”
My condolences to Mr. Gallant’s family and friends.
I understand why investigators have ruled this incident an accident. Although it was clearly a negligent discharge, from the report, it seems purely unintentional. I also get why the DA decided not to press charges against the shooter. And I respect the motivation behind Mrs. Gallant’s declaration “We don’t hold anyone responsible.”
That’s an admirably forgiving and generous position for Chance’s mother to take. But someone was responsible. Regardless of the gun’s condition before the discharge, someone broke the Four Rules of Gun Safety. Someone pointed that firearm in an unsafe direction. And Chance Gallant paid for it with his life.
The Bangor Daily News chose not to report the responsible party’s name, though it’s no doubt in the police report. And he/she apparently won’t be charged. The local prosecutor is likely taking the “(s)he’s suffered enough” position in an unquestionably tragic incident.
But it seems to be a clear-cut case of manslaughter if ever there was one.
So we’ll leave it up to the collective wisdom of the Armed Intelligentsia. Should whomever was holding the gun that killed Chance Gallant be prosecuted?