“No one is more highly trained”,
And yet, he did it wrong
And so, instead,
A kid is dead
So runs the world along
Police Chief Wade is charged today—
His gun was unsecured,
Atop his vault—
He’s still at fault;
Or so we are assured
The boy who found it shot himself
Fifteen years old, he died.
Let’s make it clear:
Just one more year
And no crime could be tried
If someone wants to kill himself,
You know he’ll find a way…
But charge the chief?
So runs the world away
(Ok, I didn’t know until today that “so runs the world away” was anything other than a line from Hamlet. I’m a little bit pissed off at Josh Ritter for stealing Shakespeare’s google spotlight.)
Along the lines of Oh-so-close-to-responsible ownership, there’s a story today out of New Hampshire, in which a police chief will be charged with one count of negligent storage of a firearm (maximum penalty: $1000) in the death of a 15-yr-old boy who found the chief’s service weapon sitting on top of a safe in a closet.
Through the investigation, [County Attorney James] Reams said it was determined that Parsons set the gun down on a safe in a closet.
“The chief left to go run errands and didn’t secure his weapon,” said Reams, whose office will prosecute the case.
While Parsons was gone, the 15-year-old, who lived at the residence but wasn’t the chief’s son, went into the closet and grabbed the gun, according to Reams.
Tragic and horrible, I hope you will all agree. What grabbed me from the article, though, was the reaction of a selectman, Shawn O’Neil. Let me set up his statement, first. What Parson will be charged with is defined as follows (also from the article):
The statute states: “Any person who stores or leaves on premises under that person’s control a loaded firearm, and who knows or reasonably should know that a child (under the age of 16) is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the child’s parent or guardian, is guilty of a violation if a child gains access to a firearm and the firearm is used in a reckless or threatening manner; the firearm is used during the commission of any misdemeanor or felony; or the firearm is negligently or recklessly discharged.”
So, O’Neil’s reaction is, for the most part, completely understandable:
Danville Selectman Shawn O’Neil, board chairman, said Parsons informed him about the charge.
“He told me what transpired and that he was going to be charged with this. It’s a sad situation,” O’Neil said.
O’Neil said the board plans to take no action against Parsons in light of the charge.
“It’s an elected position. The board can’t do anything, but on a personal note, I will vote for Wade in the next election,” O’Neil said.
O’Neil questioned whether such a charge would have been brought if Parsons were not a police chief. He said he feels the county attorney’s office faced public pressure.
“I know Wade is personally hurting and this is going to live with him for the rest of his life. This is just one more sad component added on top of this. This is not going to bring Jacob back,” O’Neil said.
O’Neil said he still has confidence in Parsons.
“Deep down he’s a really good man. I have the utmost respect for this man. We all err as part of human life. Charging him with this is not going to make anything change,” he said.
And I do feel for the Chief. This is going to rip him apart. Of course, the “responsible gun owners don’t have these accidents” crowd would have to blame the Chief. I mean, really, the only other option is to put all of the responsibility on a 15 year old boy. And who would do that?
O’Neil added that anyone looking to harm themselves will find a way.
“If this kid was 16 years old this would not be an issue,” O’Neil said.
Yeah, a 16 year old dead kid would not be an issue, like a 15 year old dead kid is. I almost wish there was a bit more ambiguity in what O’Neil sees as the real issue.
In the comments, it is suggested that it would be just as easy to commit suicide with a steak knife. Thing is, I know someone who tried to commit suicide with a steak knife. I have seen the oozing wounds on her wrists. The only reason I can say this is, it is damned difficult to cut your wrists open with a steak knife. But pulling a trigger? Bullets, it would seem, travel much faster than the speed of regret.
Oh, and along the lines of Tuesday’s “He took all the precautions, he’s a trained law enforcement officer, trains with weapons all the time”, I give you today’s “”Nobody is probably more highly trained than a police officer,” Reams said.”