I really don’t know.
In Florida, two teenage males—Can we say “males”?—were playing a fun and exciting game: they took turns wearing body armor while the other shot a gun at him, police have concluded. Surprisingly, at least to them, one of the kids was shot dead when a bullet hit a place that the body armor didn’t cover.
Christopher Leroy Broad, 15, died after being rushed to a hospital. 17-year-old Joshua Vining has been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child with a firearm.How should sensible, compassionate, ethical people react to a story like that? The only thing I can recall “like” this idiocy are the episodes where kids are killed playing Russian Roulette, but the Florida episode seems even dumber, somehow. In the Russian Roulette tragedies, I always assumed that the kids, usually boys, were depressed and suicidal. After all, even an idiot knows that if you keep pulling the trigger with a 1 in 6 chance of shooting yourself in the head, you will eventually shoot yourself in the head.
I can tell you my first reaction when I heard the body armor game story this morning: “That’s about as stupid conduct as I have ever heard of.” Not sympathy. Not pity. My next thought was: “What a perfect Darwin Award candidate!” The Darwin Awards are an annual snark-fest in which the principle of natural selection is celebrated by noting the most spectacular and ridiculous ways stupid, reckless, ignorant or otherwise potential blights on society remove themselves from the gene pool.
Now I feel guilty about my reaction, which really hasn’t moderated after several hours. Another thought: at least the victim in this shooting was just one of the idiots. In similar instances, like, say, kids seeing who could drive the fastest drunk and blind-folded, innocent bystanders could be killed. I would have some compassion if the boys were ten. 15 and 17 is easily old enough to know that the body armor “game” is dangerous and insane, unless the teens were suffering from some kind of mental disability. Were they stoned? Then I’d like a word with the drug legalization crowd.
CBS News, predictably, used the episode to gin up its gun control advocacy. Can you really blame this on guns? (So far, we haven’t been told how the gun involved became available to the boys.) I’d finger the parents and the education system first. Disney is proclaiming in Florida that kindergartners should be taught about sexual intercourse options, but the schools don’t teach students that if you shoot a gun at someone, the target is likely to be badly hurt? How long would that take?
I’m still stuck on the thought that at least one of two potential deadly menaces to society at worst and burdens on society at best has been taken out of the equation by his own moronic conduct.
My ethics alarms are lightly pinging, suggesting this is an unethical reaction.