As reported, a 30 year old man from Chicago Heights, IL was with his family on thanksgiving when he decided to place a loaded gun to his head. William Agee, thinking that the safety was on, pulled the trigger. It turns out the safety wasn’t on, and Mr. Agee ended up killing himself. My thoughts on this entirely preventable tragedy are below:
First, I want to say that this is quite sad. A family was gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving, only to have a loved one take their own life due to gross negligence. I can only imagine the emotional harm that those at the house must have suffered, especially any children. My condolences go out to the family members who experienced this tragedy unfolding firsthand.
I also feel compelled to mention that in reporting this story, the Sun-Times called it an “accident,” when it fact it was about as far from an accident as once can get. Here, we have someone who broke just about every gun safety rule and exercised incredibly poor judgment. It is not OK to play with guns, and a 30 year old man should know better. Nor is it ever acceptable to put a gun to one’s head, whether it is believed to be loaded or not. It is certainly never acceptable pull the trigger of a gun while it is placed against one’s head. Doing so is the embodiment gross negligence – not an accident.
Those who would use this death as “evidence” that we need more gun restriction fail to fully appreciate the situation, and instead blame the inanimate object for the actions of a reckless individual. As a responsible gun owner, I don’t treat guns like toys or whip them out at Thanksgiving. Instead, I diligently ensure that I know whether my guns are loaded or not. I would also never put a gun to my head, even if I knew for a fact that the gun was not loaded. Nor would I ever pull the trigger of a gun while it was pointing at anything I did not wish to shoot. Most gun owners are like me, which is why most of the hundreds of millions of gun in the United States are never involved in a negligent shooting. Taking away gun rights from law abiding citizens would prevent them from fending off a violent stalker, stopping a burglar, or stopping a rapist who comes back for the second time. I also doubt that the few gun owners as grossly negligent as Mr. Agee would be saved by gun bans, as they would likely find some other way of negligently killing themselves, or would just ignore the gun control laws, still have a gun, and still shoot themselves.
I would urge everyone to teach gun safety from a young age, and to speak up when negligent gun use is noticed.