To term a tragedy an “accident” is to imply that no one was at fault — that whatever happened would have happened anyway and that no one bears responsibility for it.
“It was just an accident. A tragic accident.”
But just because something wasn’t done deliberately or with malice doesn’t make it an accident.
If you’re driving drunk and you strike another car or a pedestrian, that’s not an accident. You made a conscious decision to drink alcohol and get behind the wheel, and the result was a tragedy.
The same thing goes for “accidental” gun discharges.
In the past five weeks, two people have been killed in Saratoga County by reckless use of deadly weapons.
On Thursday night in Corinth, 34-year-old Ashley Rosenbrock, a mother of three, was killed when her husband, 35-year-old Eric Rosenbrock, shot her while cleaning his gun.
On Oct. 10, 61-year-old Michael Kornacki of Wilton was found dead in a Route 9 motel room with a bullet lodged in his abdomen. Police determined that the shot was fired through the wall of an adjacent room by a resident who said his handgun discharged inadvertently.
Getting struck by lightning or hit in the head by a meteor or crushed by a tree branch is a tragic “accident.”
But no gun death is an accident.
Guns don’t load themselves. They don’t aim at bystanders by themselves. They don’t recklessly clean themselves. They don’t leave themselves lying around in the open by themselves. They don’t appear in the hands of toddlers by themselves.
They don’t shoot through walls or the woods by themselves.
Between 2006 and 2016, nearly 6,900 people in the U.S. died from unintentional shootings, including 495 in 2016. Kids are particularly vulnerable to careless storage and handling of firearms.
Every single gun death is preventable.
If you don’t have the owner’s manual for your gun or if you’re not 100 percent sure how to handle it safely, go online and order any number of books, including the NRA Guide to Firearms Assembly, which has assembly and cleaning instructions for many different weapons.
You can find a gun safety course online just about anywhere in the state.
To store your weapons safely, you can buy a handgun safe at a local gun shop for about $55 and a three-pack of trigger locks for around $30.
If you’re going to own something that can kill somebody as easily as pointing it in the wrong direction or dropping it on the floor or leaving it on a table, then you have an obligation take that responsibility with deadly seriousness.
If you’re unwilling to accept that responsibliity, then don’t own a gun.
No gun death, no matter how unintentional or tragic, is ever an accident.
And no one, not for a second, should ever treat one as if it is.