Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Small Measure of Justice?

It seems the two Oklahoma police officers who earlier this summer killed a 5-year-old boy fishing with his grandfather are going to face criminal charges for their criminal negligence...

Cleveland County's top prosecutor has decided to prosecute two Noble officers involved in the shooting death of a 5-year-old boy.
A Noble officer fired his gun at a snake more than a month ago, and the bullet ricocheted and hit 5-year-old Austin Haley in the head.
Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn explained on Friday that he took no pleasure in filing a pair of second-degree manslaughter charges against the officers, identified as Brad Rogers and Shawn Richardson.They could face up to four years in prison if convicted of the felony charge.However, he said that the officers failed to take reasonable care by firing shots in an open area at a non-poisonous snake. According to police reports, the officers responded on Aug. 3 to a report of a snake in a birdhouse.Jack Tracy said he was fishing with Austin that night when he saw the first shot hit the water near where they were standing. As he pulled his grandson to his side, he said, a second shot hit the boy in the head.

It won't bring little Austin back, and it won't erase the horrendous memory of his death from his grandfather's mind -- but if the officers involved can be made an example of what not to do, if firearm safety ends up being better taught because of it, then perhaps some small good can come of it. It does lead one to think of several things, though...
There are those, of course, who think that guns are a disease on American culture and that they should be banned for the good of society -- except, presumably, for the police and military. But when you (attempt to) take guns out of society, to a greater extent you're going to have people who are unfamiliar with them and afraid of them. And that would make it that much more difficult to train people in the proper use of their weapons -- which, in turn would lead to more situations like this. It makes me wonder how people like the Culturologist with the mail-order degree can say that only the police and the military should have guns. And then, of course, there's Lee Paige, the Only One Professional Enough To Handle that Glock Fotay, and more recently James Gustafson Jr., the San Francisco cop who mainlined a bullet into his neck vein as he was showing off his gun to a girl at a party. It makes one wonder...what are those people thinking?