A friend forwarded this to me because she knows how unusual it is that parents are actually charged in these "accidental shooting" cases. She's right -- but it shouldn't be so unusual. In most cases where someone's malignant neglect results in a death, those people are held accountable -- except when it comes to shooting deaths. Our spineless politicians have created a giant blind spot when it comes to negligence with guns. It's always a "tragic accident" that "no one could have foreseen." Geeze, when you see some of the crazy reasons they arrest people these days, it's kind of hard to buy into the "no one could have known" argument.
And I'm not surprised that this prosecution took place in New Jersey, because it's part of the Northeast urban corridor, where we have a much different relationship with guns than the rest of the country. But sadly, it still falls into the category of "news," because it so rarely happens:
A Toms River man who previously pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in the fatal shooting of a 6-year-old boy by a 4-year-old boy in 2013 will be sentenced Thursday morning.
Anthony Senatore, 35, will be sentenced in Ocean County Superior Court in Toms River after pleading guilty in the incident in which his 4-year-old son shot and killed their 6-year-old neighbor.
[...] On April 8, 2013, Senatore’s 4-year-old son gained access to an unsecured .22 caliber rifle in Senatore’s bedroom and fired a single shot that struck 6-year-old neighbor, Brandon Holt, in the head, while the two boys were playing in the yard in front of Senatore’s home. Holt was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where he was pronounced dead the next day.
Senatore had been indicted in September 2013 on six counts of endangering the welfare of children and one count of endangering the welfare of Brandon Holt.
In addition to the loaded .22 caliber rifle used to fire the fatal shot, a Stevens 12-gauge shotgun, two Harrington & Richardson shotguns and a Remington 12-gauge shotgun were all found unsecured, in close proximity to ammunition and accessible to Senatore’s own children, who were 12, 8 and 4 at the time, he said.
Maybe it's time for prosecutors everywhere to stop saying, "Who could have known?" and start saying, "You should have known."