This video will give you an idea of how it works, and how an accident such as the one described above might possibly happen:
(For another good look at a single-action revolver, go here.)
Naturally, none of this occurred to the editors at the Times, who are hell-bent on demonizing guns and don't care how dishonest or misleading they have to be in order to accomplish their mission. What they fail to realize, however, is that publishing a piece like this harms their cause far more than it helps it -- and in the author's own words. For example:
Together, my three brothers own at least a dozen weapons and have yet to harm anyone with them. Despite their guns (or, arguably, because of them), they are quite peaceable. As for me, I have three guns, one inherited and two gifts, and I’m hardly a zealot. In fact I never had much interest in guns. Yet it is I who killed a man.
As James Taranto might ask: "Fox Butterfield, is that you?" The fact that Bruce Holbert has three guns in his possession today ought to give anyone the willies, especially since he seems not to be able to perceive the correlative connection between "never had much interest in guns" and "killed a man."
Though the charges against me were eventually dropped, I have since been given diagnoses of a range of maladies, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and adult attention deficit disorders. The pharmacists fill the appropriate prescriptions, which temporarily salve my conscience, but serve neither my story nor the truth.
Just the sort of fellow we want to own three guns. Of course, no metrosexual Times story these days would be complete without -- in addition to the obligatory paen to pharmacology -- its weird notions of what constitutes real masculinity:
Where I grew up, masculinity involved schooling a mean dog to guard your truck or skipping the ignition spark to fire the points, and, of course, handling guns of all kinds. I was barely proficient in any of these areas. I understood what was expected of me and responded as best I could, but did so with distance that would, I hoped, keep me from being a total fraud in my own eyes.
Like many other young men, I mythologized guns and the ideas of manhood associated with them.... My friend was killed by a man who misunderstood guns, who imagined that comfort with — and affection for — guns was a vital component of manhood.
And it's crucial to establish the meme-- all too plausible on the Upper West Side! -- that simply being around guns is likely to affect one's sensibilities:
It did not appear to anyone — including me — that residing within my family’s weapons cache might affect my life.
Only this statement rings true:
The gun lobby likes to say guns don’t kill people, people do. And they’re right, of course. I killed my friend; no one else did; no mechanism did. But this oversimplifies matters (as does the gun control advocates’ position that eliminating weapons will end violent crime).
One of the commenters nails it:
Let's translate this to a car situation (something probably everyone can understand). What the author was doing was the equivalent to driving 70 MPH on an ice covered road, and then, when he goes off the road at a well known hairpin turn and gets his friend killed, says "gee wiz, I'm sure I'm responsible but I'm not sure how that happened."
Unfortunately, most NY Times readers are not going to have the knowledge about firearms to spot the issue. This is, from my perspective at least, the most insidious part of the story, for while the author takes responsibility for the accident later in the piece, the writing of the paragraph shown above seems to allude to the proposition that the pistol fired without any intentional action on his part. This is clear Bullshit, but to the mind of the average NY Time reader it confirms their suspicions that firearms are not really inanimate objects...
OK, kids, let's go over those gun safety rules again:
- The gun is always loaded.
- Never point a gun at anything you're not prepared to kill.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire.
- Always be sure of your target and know what's behind it.
Here endeth the lesson. For now.