On accidents and executions

Accident warning
Accident warning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When is an accident a criminal act? When is an execution really brutal murder?

Two shootings that Meredith Carroll mentions in the Denver Post on Sunday were, indeed, accidental by some definitions.

A police officer accidentally shot his teen daughter in their garage; a woman in Florida accidentally shot her 7-year-old grandson. They were unfortunate events, to put it mildly, that resulted from carelessness. They were also by far the most common type of accident: the ones that can be prevented.

That the shootings were in some sense accidental doesn’t mean those who pulled the triggers are blameless. They pulled the triggers quite intentionally with horrific, unintentional results. There is, or should be, a legal price to pay. We should also find a better word than “accident” to describe such things.

Similarly, the media have almost universally described the beheading of journalist James Foley as an execution.

More precisely, it was murder.

One thought on “On accidents and executions

  1. I disagree with the idea the first two shootings were accidental.
    A better word to describe them is “negligent”.

    It is a person’s responsibility to identify if another is a threat; it appears neither of the first two did that. They were negligent in their actions.

    Bob S.


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