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August 20, 2013

Crimes and/or Accidents: Automotive Violence

Slate: 3-Year-Old Shot and Killed Himself, and for Once the Cops Did the Right Thing
...the story of Damon Holbrook, a 3-year-old Michigan boy who, on Sunday, died after unintentionally shooting himself in the head with a loaded handgun he found in a bedroom closet. The handgun belonged to a family friend who had been staying with the Holbrooks; the friend was arrested, and will be arraigned today. He may be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The speed with which the family friend was arrested is worth noting and applauding as an example of how authorities ought to handle cases like these. Usually, the investigating officers first deem the shooting a tragic “accident,” and then charges are only brought later, if at all. But the Dundee, Mich., police wasted no time arresting the family friend. And that’s how it ought to be done.

It’s very tempting for the police to characterize these sorts of incidents as no-fault accidents. After all, what purpose does it really serve to compound a family’s trauma by packing the relevant adults off to jail? Well, the purpose, of course, is to deter other adult gun owners from making the same mistakes, and to make clear that the right to bear arms carries with it the requirement to bear them responsibly.

Damon Holbrook did not die out of happenstance, or some unforeseeable act of God. He died because a careless adult abdicated responsibility, and left his handgun loaded, accessible, and unsecured in a house where an inquisitive 3-year-old was running around. That’s no accident. It’s criminal negligence.

WSJ: Passersby, Dr. Oz Rush to Aid of Woman Struck by Cab in Midtown

A cab veered off Sixth Avenue and plowed onto the sidewalk Tuesday morning, severing a tourist’s leg before she was treated by passersby including television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz and several nearby workers.

The woman, identified by a law-enforcement official as Sian Green, a 23-year-old English tourist, was gravely injured and transported to Bellevue Hospital. Her right leg was severed below the knee, according to the official, and she is undergoing surgery.

A cyclist was also hit and had a minor injury to his right knee. Another person present on the scene refused medical attention, according to authorities. It wasn’t immediately known what caused the cab to jump the curb, but the official said that he claims to have lost control of his vehicle.

Same story- from StreetsBlog: Cabbie Rammed Cyclist, Severed Woman’s Leg, Won’t Be Charged.

When we will stop calling automotive violence an "accident"?

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