Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A stupid, stupid law

In my father's local paper there's a story about a preventable and common tragedy that played out in Kentucky this week. Three people were out in the woods with guns in Claiborne County. One was a guy named Rowland, who was carrying a .270 hunting rifle. The other two were not with him, though on the same property. They were named Smith and Duffield - a 15-yr-old boy, carrying a .22, and his grandfather, who had a .243. Rowland shot Smith. He's been arrested on
charges of reckless homicide and failure to wear daylight fluorescent orange
The thing is none of them was wearing orange. All three were, in fact, wearing camouflage. And here's the stupid part:
Duffield [who has, I guess because the grand jury felt sorry for him, not been charged with failure to wear it (my note)] and Rowland were required by state law to wear a minimum of 500 square inches of orange while engaged in a deer hunt. Because Smith's weapon is not suitable for hunting deer, he was not required to wear orange.
WTF? Why should what kind of gun you're carrying make that difference? Wearing orange is like having your headlights on in rain or twilight. It makes you easier to see.

Just because that boy wasn't carry a deer rifle doesn't mean - obviously and very sadly - that he didn't need to be visible to idiots who were. And I know it's terribly sad that the grandfather lost his grandson, but if he'd been obeying the law and wearing orange, that shooter might have realized it wasn't deer he'd heard. (Endangerment charges don't seem out of line, do they?)

Bottom line: everybody who goes into the words with a gun, or where other people have guns, ought to be wearing orange. As a birder, I wish that weren't so, since birds can see orange. But deer fracking can't:
The two classes of cones in deer allow for the ability to see color differences between short and long-wave lights, e.g., blue and yellow, however, they lack the photoreceptor basis for seeing differences in the color of objects that reflect middle-to-long wavelength light, e.g., yellow-green, green, yellow, orange, and red.
As the sheriff said:
"It has every indication of being a stupid accident," Ray, an avid hunter himself, said at the time of the incident. "How easy it would have been to have a cap on, some orange. It would have made a difference."
A man would probably not be in jail and having to live with the painful result of his stupid, too-quick-on-the-trigger habits. A grandfather probably wouldn't be traumatized and grieving. And a boy would probably still be alive.

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2 Comments:

At 1:54 PM, December 20, 2011 Blogger Barry Leiba had this to say...

Nice analysis, which I agree with. But there's another bit that's missing here:

«A man would probably not be in jail and having to live with the painful result of his stupid, too-quick-on-the-trigger habits.»

What's with the trigger-quickness, anyway? Rowland wasn't hunting lions or tigers or bears (Oh, my!), where hesitation in firing might get him killed by his intended prey. Orange or no orange, these people shouldn't be shooting unless and until they've got their victims clearly in their sights and know what they're shooting at! Shooting blindly at rustling brush is just stupid (and ought to be illegal) in and of itself.

 
At 1:23 AM, December 23, 2011 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Oh, hell yes.

 

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