Well, It’s Not Passive Voice

Check out the cover of today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch:


St. Louis Post Dispatch Cover November 27 2004

Note the headline: GIRL DIES AFTER FINDING GUN LEFT AT HOME. Although on the surface, it sounds like the headline’s telling the story, but it’s offering enough editorial comment about how the St. Louis Post-Dispatch feels about guns in the home, especially homes with children.

Drill down into the story, which is entitled Girl, 5, is shot to death at home online:

A 5-year-old East St. Louis girl died from a gunshot wound to her face Friday afternoon after she or her 9-year-old brother found a gun that belonged to their mother’s boyfriend, police said.

It is not yet known whether the girl shot herself or if her brother shot her.

Police said the children’s mother had left the girl and her brother with the mother’s boyfriend at the family’s townhouse in the 1800 block of North 43rd Street while she went to a grocery Friday afternoon.

The boyfriend, who police said had left his .40-caliber handgun loaded in the house, was on the second floor of the townhouse at the time of the shooting. Downstairs, police said, one of the children found the handgun. The girl was shot in the living room.

“He said he didn’t hear a shot,” Deputy Police Chief Rudy McIntosh said. “He didn’t even know what happened until the boy went upstairs and told him.”

Okay, let’s run down the list of details:

  • East St. Louis, a city whose best neighborhood is merely a bad neighborhood.
  • Mother’s boyfriend is watching the kids from upstairs, where he doesn’t hear a forty caliber pistol discharge.
  • This particular handgun was in Illinois, where it’s not the easiest thing to have or hold a handgun.
  • The gun was not stored upstairs, but downstairs, and was apparently not secured in any case.

Perhaps I’m overly suspicious, but before Illinois legislators propose outlawing guns in homes with or near homes with children, perhaps we better wait for more details. Of course, if this turns out to be a drug house or something, we won’t get further details. Just a poorly written headline intended to add to the torrent of anti-gun messages designed to further limit law-abiding gun owners without doing anything to prevent tragedies that occur with gun owners who are irresponsible or unlawful.

Bonus Snark:

Here’s how I immediately reacted to the headline:

  • She just found it and had a heart attack!
  • Look, honey, the Post-Dispatch is now in favor of concealed carry so you can take your gun with you!

Both make light of the headline, but ultimately, it’s not funny because some kid is still dead.