Vice President Cheney involved in accidental shooting

According to CNN, Cheney has managed to accidentally shoot one of his hunting companions (birdshot).  The victim survived, and is in stable condition.  While accidents do happen, and no one is immune, this is not going to help our cause.  The anti-gun media will undoubtedly make as much hay out of this incident as they can manage, and the gun control lobby will argue that if the Vice President can't handle a gun safely, how can the people be trusted to do so?

The truth -- that accidents happen, and no activity is perfectly safe no matter the precautions -- isn't likely to go over well. 

UPDATE: Jerry the Geek suggests that we shouldn't minimize the safety issue by calling it an accidental shooting.  I would argue that Cheney almost certainly didn't shoot his hunting partner intentionally, which makes it accidental by the usual definition.  It may be an accidental shooting caused by negligence or unsafe gun handling -- in fact, it almost certainly was, since the rules of safe gun handling include knowing what is behind what you are shooting at in order to prevent precisely this sort of thing.

But the question of negligence is not one that can be easily answered without claiming to know exactly what happened.  The article I read suggested, whether rightly or wrongly, that the victim put himself into the line of fire without letting anyone know.  That's not a good idea, either.

It's safe to call it an accidental shooting.  Whether or not the shooting was negligent would depend on details the public doesn't have (other than the prima-facie "all accidental shootings are negligent").  Either way, calling it an accidental shooting is not intended to minimize the incident.  That's just what it happens to be.  The rules of gun safety are intended to prevent accidents, and this shooting being accidental doesn't mean those rules weren't violated or that Cheney is free from fault. 

But accidents do happen, and from a policymaking perspective that needs to be understood.  As shooters, we should put our efforts into reducing the number of accidental shootings to zero.  As policy advocates, we need to understand that we won't, and can't, ever succeed in that goal.

This entry was published Sun Feb 12 17:32:55 CST 2006 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2006-02-12 17:32:55.0. [Tweet]

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