A four-year-old boy died Sunday morning in Tampa, Florida while playing with a loaded gun. The child found the gun in his own home, but the gun’s owner is yet to be determined.
In a tragedy involving a child, it’s understandable that the press would want to be sensitive toward the family. By not showing grisly photos of the scene, for example.
Another way they do this is by using language that removes responsibility from anyone involved in the incident. This language doesn’t typically jive with reality, however.
Often the accounts say the children were playing with the gun when it “went off.” This is a customary phrase journalists use to avoid sounding uncaring – and to avoid libel litigation.
Guns don’t just go off. Someone pulls the trigger.
But people don’t want to think of their children killing themselves or another a child, albeit accidentally, even when that is in fact the case.
My suggestion for those who feel that way is, if they have to have a gun in a home with children, keep it locked in a cabinet with the safety on.