A 6-year-old found a gun in a Danville residence and fired it, sending a bullet through a wall and striking a 22-month-old child.
The bullet from the .380 traveled through a wall in the home and struck a 1-year-old - who turns 2 later this year - in the back. The child was taken by private vehicle to Danville Regional Memorial Center and later taken to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
As of Monday morning, the little girl was listed in stable condition.
But here's something you don't hear every day. From the local policeman investigating the incident:
Cpl. T.B. Scearce of the Danville Police Department said there is no such thing as an accidental discharge - it is a negligent discharge. In order for a gun to fire, Scearce said three things have to occur: It has to be functional, it has to be loaded and the trigger has to be pulled.<
Unintentional yes, accidental no.
As Justin Peters from Slate said:
Cpl. Scearce is dead right. Using the word “accident” implies that nobody is responsible for what happened. But somebody is responsible, and it’s the idiot who left a working, loaded gun in a place where a 6-year-old could access it and pull its trigger. I don’t know the best way to reduce the number of negligent child shootings in this country. But it surely involves convincing gun owners to accept more responsibility for what happens with their weapons. Striking the word “accident” from the lexicon is one way to start making that happen. Maybe the strategy is starting to catch on.Calling it accidental lets everybody involved off the hook. Not only are they not accidental, they're avoidable.