Some Accidents Are More Accidental Than Others

Law & order, Florida-style v.1:

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Police say a 2-year-old boy was killed after a Florida woman who was drunk crashed an SUV loaded with passengers.

The Florida Highway Patrol says 24-year-old Shameka Jones of Winter Haven drove her vehicle onto a shoulder in Manatee County on Saturday afternoon. The vehicle went airborne, overturned several times and struck several trees.

The accident killed Isaac Solomon of Winter Haven, who police said was not wearing a seatbelt or child restraint. Jones, two adult passengers and a 6-month-old boy were seriously injured. Seven other children suffered minor injuries.

Jones was charged with DUI manslaughter and other counts.

Law & order, Florida-style v.2:

On July 26, 2014, William DeHayes was showing off his gun collection to Carson Hoover and his wife, Katherine, when DeHayes’ antique revolver fired, fatally striking Katherine in the temple. At the time of the shooting, DeHayes—who had just taken opiates and a muscle relaxer—used a Western-style draw (“like a cowboy would” he told police) to unholster his grandfather’s hand-me-down firearm. DeHayes didn’t know that the 65-year-old gun—which had a history of misfiring—was loaded.


Despite the family’s pleas to try DeHayes for negligent homicide or involuntary manslaughter, state attorney Brad King declined to press charges—stating that DeHayes’ “conduct, no matter how outrageous, does not constitute a crime.” In a letter denying Bryan’s case, King wrote that in Florida, an accidental discharge of a firearm that kills someone—even if it is the result of gross negligence—cannot be prosecuted.

Aside from the fact that Shameka Jones is African American and William DeHayes is white, what the hell is the difference between these two cases? One is a DUI, one is someone fooling around with a gun after taking drugs.

DeHayes says he feels terrible about what happened, he’s contemplated suicide, his life has been completely ruined, he’d “give my life to take it back,” he won’t go near guns anymore, blah blah blah. Yeah I’m pretty sure Shameka Jones feels the same way. As does every other idiot who does something stupid which results in the death of an innocent person. And no, I’m not saying Shameka Jones shouldn’t be prosecuted — she should. And so should William DeHayes. Because that’s how law and order works in this country.

Gun negligence needs to be prosecuted. Every time, every case. If “feeling really bad” about what happened isn’t punishment enough for any other crime, it shouldn’t be punishment enough for gun negligence. Get a fucking clue, people.


Filed under Florida, gun control

9 responses to “Some Accidents Are More Accidental Than Others

  1. Moira MacGaothin

    Oh, SB…The depths of depravity and inhumanity among the gun crowd just astonishes me. And the culture and government that protect the gun before they protect the person? Uneffing real.

    • Mary L. Wilson

      Moira, I totally agree and one element that causes gun ‘accident’ deaths, especially here in the South, is the MILLIONS paid out to our Stoopid Lawmakers so they will keep ‘being #1 on the NRA’s supporting the ‘2nd Amendment’ fraud. Tennessee has one of the highest rates of violent crime deaths (caused by accidents or on purpose GUN deaths ) in the country. The Kochs created the group who write the ALEC laws, and our Legislature passes more of the LIBERAL gun laws every session…21 new ones have been proposed for the 2015 Session. One is to allow gun buyers to not have to pay tax on any gun. Another is something about registration of guns but not sure how devious it is. It is FEAR and GREED that motivates all these ignorant ‘government’ leaders to endanger us AND our children.

  2. When I read this, my initial thought was the similarity between DUI and ADF (Accidental Discharge of Firearm) and the other similarities between the ‘gun culture’ and the ‘car culture.’ (I need to mention a bias of mine for those who haven’t seen the statement before. I am the rare American who has never driven a car — or learned how to drive — in my life. And I’m even more unusual because I can’t even ride a bike or any wheeled vehicle above a tricycle or ‘little red wagon. So I have little appreciation of the other side, though I hope I can at least understand something of the love Americans have for both potentially deadly weapons, even if I don’t feel it.)

    I was going to do a typical ‘blog scolding’ piece about both types of death, maybe hitting harder on DUI than most of your readers. (I’ve long dreamed that some sports franchise would institute a ‘zero tolerance for DUI and suspend ANYONE from the assistant club house attendant in charge of toilet bowls up to the General Manager at least six months on conviction — or even with enough proof to be convincing even if not enough for a legal conviction. One additional reason I had for hating the St. Louis Cardinals was LaRussa’s repeated problems with this — and with racism in his support of the Arizona anti-immigrant measures. But WHOA! put that hobby horse in the stable.)

    But I realized that, ignoring my wish for stronger penalties, it would be possible to run a campaign comparing the two and suggesting that we become at least as harsh on ADF as on DUI. (“We register cars and take licenses away for DUI, why can’t we treat guns the same way.”) And even if we have to combat the 2nd Amendment types, we could point out the right to vote, even the 1st Amendment rights, are not absolute.

    I think someone should work on such a campaign, prepare some ideas (If only my hands could draw as well as my mind can) and suggest it to a suitable organization.

    And one point about the opposition. Can we maybe point out — in public rather than ‘just among ourselves’ like too many blog conversations — that poll after poll has shown that NRA MEMBERS are willing to accept sensible restrictions, that it is just the LEADERS that are the absolutists. (And the GOoA that Larry Pratt runs is a whole different animal — a rabid one whose support should infect any candidate that accepts it, like the KKK or the Nazis or Louis Farrakhan.)

    Even more all over the place than my usual post, but I hope I said some things worth hearing.

    • ThresherK

      I’ve seen a 30’s Dodge ad where the driver is being served cocktails–on a silver tray. The acceptability of impeded driving is fairly recent.

      I would go even beyond DUI. The “UI” or “WI” doesn’t even have to be there. The motor culture goes to the extent that if, stone sober, you kill or maim someone, you’re better off doing it with your car.

      The analogy writes itself.

  3. Shutter

    Maybe I missed the memo but when and how did gun accidents causing death or injury become immune from prosecution? Seems like every other kind of stupidity leading to injury or death is subject to the long arm of the law. If I’m drunk and playing with my skilsaw and chop my wife’s head off ‘by accident’ I’m gonna get prosecuted. But if I put down the skilsaw, pick up my loaded pistol off the same workbench at the same time & shoot her in the head ‘by accident’.. I’m ok? She’s dead but I’m ok?

    I don’t get it.

    • “…when and how did gun accidents causing death or injury become immune from prosecution?”

      When the Tea Shouters and NRA-loons started intimidating anyone and everyone who dared ask them to show a little RESPONSIBILITY with their RIGHTS.

  4. Prup:

    I appreciate your input but I have one nit to pick.

    Motor vehicles are used by far more people, far more often, in horrendous weather and under other mitigating factors (except drunkenburnin’stoopit) than are firearms. Guns are designed to kill.

    • Agreed, if we were dealing with an ideal world. But I am looking for an approach that actually could work as far as today’s America — when the Republicans are absolutists and Democrats are cowards — is concerned. I might prefer much more stringent regulations, but today is not the time to ‘attempt the perfect and lose the good.’

      • I’m not looking for “perfect world” stuff. I’m looking for a set of laws that treats ALL homicides, accidental or not, as HOMICIDES with all of the legal hassles attendant. If folks start going to jail for three to five years AND lose their right to own firearms for some period after a conviction for such behaviour, they will notice.