It is very likely that some adult will be charged with manslaughter in this case. There’s legal precedent for this kind of thing.

For a while there were a bunch of men who liked having pit bulls for pets, because they’re macho, or something like that. Different kinds of dogs are bred for different things; poodles and goldens are retrievers, so they think that chasing a tennis ball is fun. Terriers are bred to hunt and kill rats, which is why they think that “shake the rag” is a fun game. (That’s the motion they use to kill a rat once it’s in their jaws, because it breaks the rat’s spine and neck.)

Pit bulls are trained to fight and kill other dogs. They were used in betting contests; it’s a thoroughly barbaric practice which is now outlawed most everywhere (though it still goes on in secret). Pit bulls can be good pets, but they are bred to fight and kill and that makes them dangerous. One man’s dog attacked and killed a child.

The dog owner was convicted of manslaughter even though he wasn’t even present when it happened. “Manslaughter” means that because you did something stupid or negligent, someone else died. For instance, if you dig a deep pit and don’t surround it with a fence, and if on a dark night someone falls in the pit and dies, then you’re guilty of manslaughter. This dog owner is in prison now.

It seems to me that a similar situation applies here: some adult was negligent in keeping his pistols (no matter where he acquired them) and as a result a six year old kid got one and shot another kid with it. The adult is responsible, because he wasn’t careful with how he stored the gun. I hope they throw the book at him; I’m sure they’re going to be working hard on figuring out where that kid found that damned pistol.

The obvious suspects are the kids parents, needless to say.


One of the parents (the dad) is in jail; the boy lives with his mom and “uncle” (every news outlet is stating it as if he’s probably not an uncle in any related way), and both the gun used in the shooting and a sawed-off shotgun were stolen and found in their home, ostensibly. Terrible.

And I was thinking more about reckless indifference to life, which (as I understand it) means that someone committed an act that they had all reason to believe would or likely could lead to someone’s death. Leaving a gun accessible to a child, in my mind, is exactly that.

• Posted by: Jason Levine on Mar 1, 2000, 11:11 AM
Please note that comments automatically close after 60 days; the comment spammers love to use the older, rarely-viewed pages to work their magic. If comments are closed and you want to let me know something, feel free to use the contact page!