Why there will always be ‘Accidental Discharges’

By | February 16, 2015

While Robert Farago over at


celebrates a victory in terminology , I have to say “Meh”.  The blogger in question Matt Agorist of thefreethoughtproject.com has a perfectly valid point, but what he has really done, is highlighted the real battle on our hands:

Advocates from both sides use differing (and sometimes misleading) terminology deliberately.  Lets look at the two terms in question:

Accidental Discharge – According to Webster: “happening by chance or accident; not planned; unexpected”  It implies that a firearm can discharge by chance, without the wielder planning it, or being able to expect it to happen.  The weapon is to blame for one reason or another and the wielder is just another victim of the discharge.

Negligent Discharge – Again Webster says: “lazily careless; offhand”  An object can’t be lazy or careless, so this implies that the wielder was lazy and/or careless and caused the firearm to be discharged.  Here the weapon is a inert object used without care by a person who is to blame for the discharge.

Gun rights advocates want to call it a ‘Negligent Discharge’ because they don’t believe that the firearm is to blame.  “Why ban firearms?” they ask, “firearms are just tools that only do what the wielder tells them to! A firearm isn’t any more to blame for shooting someone than a knife is for stabbing people.” Gun rights advocates use cold logic to persuade, unfortunately that is also their weakness.

On the flip side, gun control advocates want to call it an accidental discharge because an object that could ‘just go off at any time’ must be inherently bad.  They want us to develop emotional antipathy towards the object, not the person.  This also demonstrates two of the points they have going for them: 1.) they use emotion (mainly fear and anger) to dominate, emotional people are not logical.  2.) Objects are far easier to hate and fear than people.

Lets face it, we all want to believe that people are good on some level.  An object, on the other hand, we do not have any predisposition towards.  If we follow the gun advocates’ logic, guns are neutral.  Following that logic, are you going to blame a good person or a neutral firearm for a bad event?

This is why, as long as there are gun control advocates, there will always be ‘accidental discharges’, how else will they scare us into giving up our firearms?

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