Anyone who owns a gun should know and follow the “Four Rules of Firearms Safety.”
- All guns are always loaded. Which means that all guns that handle are to be considered loaded at all times. Check, double check, check again.
2. Never point a gun at anything that you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are are ready to shoot. That is shoot only once you have acquired your target. Until then, keep your finger off the trigger and out side of the trigger guard.
4. Be sure of your target and what’s behind it. Bullets have no brakes and no conscience. They will hit whatever they are aimed at and destroy it without remorse. Remorse is for the human that caused the bullet to go on it’s way without being sure that there wasn’t something behind the target.
Which is why this was tragic, unnecessary and just plain stupid. And inexcusable.
A prominent senior state advocate died after a gun, displayed in court as an exhibit, was accidentally discharged in the Ixopo regional court on Monday.
KwaZulu-Natal director of public prosecutions Elaine Zungu confirmed that advocate Addelaid Ann Ferreira Watt died on Monday.
It is understood the gun fell and a shot went off, hitting the advocate in what has been described as “freak accident”.
Guns that can fire when dropped are pretty rare, at least in the US. But, there are a lot of old guns and old guns in other countries where it’s a distinct risk. Even here it can happen if someone is handling an older gun and isn’t familiar with it design or vintage.
You know when it CAN’T happen? It can’t happen if the gun isn’t loaded. Which should have been the first thing done when the gun was taken into custody as evidence.
“It is alleged the weapon was brought to court to be entered as evidence in a house robbery case when it accidentally discharged in court. Unfortunately we cannot divulge further information as the investigations are at a sensitive stage,” he said.
Accidentally? No, negligently. Negligent handling of a firearm caused this death, not an accident.
How many people handled this firearm since it was taken into custody? How many people, people who should have known better, failed in their duty to make sure that a gun that was going to be submitted into evidence in a court room full of people was not loaded?
By Tuesday morning, numerous messages of condolence had been posted on Watt’s Facebook page.
“I am totally shocked, words can’t express how devastated I am,” one friend wrote.
Another said the prosecutor’s death was “unnecessary”.
Unnecessary is the least of it. Grossly negligent is also an inadequate description. Wanton misconduct is much closer to the truth, but still inadequate.
There is absolutely no reason and no excuse for this death.