A mess of accidents, No. 7

ND-shot-in-footHere’s our latest roundup of new people having the same old accidents — some funny, some heartbreaking.

  • As usual, we’ll start with funny. There was the Red Sox outfielder-wannabee who isn’t going to make Spring Training on time. Why? Well, stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Bryce Brentz was cleaning a gun and…. you know where it goes from there. He is expected to make a full recovery. The wound’s a lucky through-and-through of the calf. His major league prospects, maybe not.
  • A few days ago, a young man in Utah was “preparing to clean” his .45 when — you know it — the passive voice reared up, and “it went off.” While Brentz apparently cleans his guns with his leg, this guy cleans his with his stomach. Not what Outers recommends. He too will live.
  • The old cleaning-the-loaded-gun trick is no respecter of persons, even professional (?) gun carriers. A couple of Fort Carson soldiers were indulging in some off-duty shooting. One of them — it says here — was cleaning his gun and shot the other. He’ll live; leg wound. No word on how this gets guns clean.
  • It isn’t always gun-cleaning. There was the Gloucester County, NJ, detective who managed to shoot himself with his service pistol in the courthouse parking lot. His wound, in an unspecified part of his anatomy, is not life-threatening.
  • The same paper reported the same day that another police officer in another county shot himself in the foot on the range.
  • A gun-ban advocate in Congress, liberal Jim Langevin D-RI, is a paraplegic because he was accidentally shot in the neck while a police cadet. The article describes how his embitterment at the accident that crippled him powers his drive for gun bans today.
  • A guy shot by his friend at a gun show in Medina, Ohio last month is recovering well — and apparently still friends with the shooter.
  • You’d think, with all the deliberate killing in the Middle East, it’d be hard to get killed accidentally, but you’d be wrong. A Malaysian journalist for al-Jazeera was checking a rifle when “it went off,” killing her as dead as dead gets.
  • No humor in this. A 14-year-old Michigan boy accidentally shot his 13-year-old sister with a shotgun. She died. No charges will be filed.
  • As we get to the end of the write-up, and as the cases get worse, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the strange case of legless Olympian Oscar Pistorius, who in what he claims is a tragic accident, shot his supermodel girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The police aren’t buying the accident story. Very sad if true.
  • And the last case of the write-up is, as usual, the worst. A class of University of Maryland college-cop cadets was on the range. WBAL reports:

An instructor apparently was “horsing around” with the trainees when he pointed his service handgun at them and it went off.

The Sun reports that the trainees were peering through a window at Officer William Kern when he “playfully” reached for the gun and it fired…a bullet hitting one of the recruits in the forehead. It also happened during a time when class was not underway.

The Baltimore Sun report mentioned by BAL:

State investigators are exploring whether a Baltimore police instructor who shot a trainee this week was horsing around and not participating in a drill when he accidentally reached for his service weapon instead of a paint-cartridge pistol, according to sources familiar with the inquiry.

Baltimore police identified the instructor Thursday as Officer William Scott Kern, 46, an 18-year veteran on the force. City police union president Robert F. Cherry said Kern has worked in the training academy for more than a decade and his “integrity was always beyond reproach.”

Kern has been placed on medical suspension with pay as Maryland state troopers continue a criminal investigation into the shooting, which critically injured a University of Maryland campus police officer training with city police at a shuttered state psychiatric facility in Owings Mills.

According to sources familiar with the investigation, Kern was at the Rosewood Center for a training exercise when recruits peered through a window from another room. He playfully pointed a weapon in their direction, the sources said, and did not intend to harm anybody.

The shot struck the trainee — who remained in critical condition Thursday and has not been identified — in the front of the head, and a second officer was injured from broken glass, police have said.

Reading between the lines of the Sun report, it looks like Officer Kern thought that he was using a “blue barrel” gun with a Simunitions paint round, but instead fired a warshot. What a tragic, unnecessary error. We’re sure Kern feels like crap right now, and hope his friends are keeping a close eye on him.

Unfortunately, the Baltimore PD, which was apparently responsible for the botched training, has decided to defy both the press and US Circuit Court Judge Ellen Hollander in withholding policy documents, in a belated and hopeless cover-up attempt. We can predict how this ends: with the documents in the hands of the press, now gung-ho to spin them in the worst way possible for the PD, and the department looking even worse — if that’s even possible when they’re already shooting each other while clowning around.

The cadet is reportedly on artificial life support with a degree of brain damage that can’t yet be assessed.

Of course, he could recover well enough to be a Congressman. Wouldn’t be the first time.

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  1. Pingback: That Was the Week that Was: 2013 Week 07 | WeaponsMan

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