Car Accidents and Gun Accidents
Here’s the latest in gunsplaining. These comments were written in reply to the gun accident story I wrote about yesterday, in which a guy’s loaded gun fell out of his pants at Wal*Mart and injured a woman who was shopping with her newborn baby:
Except you’re forgetting about mens rea which means that if someone doesn’t have the intention to harm the in the case of an accident (also notice “accident” meaning except from guilt and “freak” meaning rare) then that person can’t be held criminally liable. That’s why you don’t get arrested if you rear end someone and they end up in the hospital.
And this one:
Once upon a time, criminal law had a requirement of mens rea — a “guilty mind”. Thus, accidents, without any intent to do harm, were not crimes. People who caused others to be injured or killed without intent were still civilly liable for the damage that they do, but they were not criminally liable.
This is still true for automobile accidents, for example. But for some reason, people get all emotional when the object doing the damage is a gun, rather than a car. All common sense and proportionality goes right out the window, because of the irrational fear caused by the object in question.
Yeah there was literally no crime committed. Have none of you fucking fascists ever heard of Mens Rea? Now, should she desire, he should have to pay damages, but no jail time, and certainly no money to the god damned state.
And, finally, this:
the woman is probably not pressing charges. she probably realizes that it was an accident and no reason for the government to fuck this dudes life up.
Have you noticed a theme?
First of all, there’s a solid anti-government/anarchist overtone to the comments. I suppose if you don’t believe the government ought to exist, then you probably don’t want it regulating your guns or even getting involved when you shoot someone.
But what really stands out is the whole “Hey, oops, accidents happens and, as long as it’s an accident, it’s not a problem … just like when it comes to car accidents” angle.
When these comments started coming in one after another, I inquired over on Facebook whether someone could send me a link to the NRA talking points about Mens rea and comparing guns to cars so I could compare the wording.
In reply, my good friend Marcus welcomed the comparison between guns and cars:
Let’s make guns more like cars. You have to carry insurance at a cost of $1000/yr or more. You have to be licensed. Guns have to be titled and recorded with the state. Guns must have a conspicuous license number displayed on them, which must be renewed yearly at a cost of $100 or more. Guns have to have multiple redundant safety devices like seat belts and airbags. You need a key to operate your gun. Every aspect of gun production and sale would be heavily regulated. Guns would be recalled if they have defects. Guns should have a counter to show how many times it has been fired and that number has to be reflected on the title whenever a gun is transferred. We would have a new federal agency dedicated to gun safety and reducing gun deaths. You would have to present your gun periodically for inspections to make sure it is not a danger to the environment.
So, yeah, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the gunsplainers and ammosexuals — especially the anarchists amongst them — really don’t want the rest of us to agree with them that gun ownership should be treated like car ownership.