Expected outcome isn’t an accident

If you look up the definition of the word “accident” on dictionary.com, the words “unintentional” and “unexpected” crop up. There’s a big difference between those two words. If you go for a walk on a lake that’s iced over, you may not be intending to fall down and break your leg. However, you can’t honestly say that the outcome is unexpected. A reasonable person would expect a walk on ice to be dangerous.

If you give a child access to a squirt gun and another child ends up dead as a result, would that be unexpected? Absolutely. Nobody would expect that to happen. If you give a child access to a real loaded gun, and that child likes to play with guns, would it be unexpected if something bad happened? No. It would definitely be unfortunate. In fact, it would be horrible. In a recent incident, it was horrible. But was it unexpected? No.

Any child who has ever watched prime-time TV knows how to fire a gun. An adult who leaves a loaded gun where it is accessible to a child should be considered responsible for any death or injury that results, just as if he or she pulled the trigger.

Jody Harnish