Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Saw This One Coming

While my heart goes out to the friends and family of Victoria Snelgrove, who have suffered an unimaginable loss here, this is just wrong. I can't say I didn't see it coming from a mile away, though.

Snelgroves weigh suit against gunmaker

The City of Boston announced yesterday that it will pay the biggest wrongful death settlement in its history, $5 million, to the family of Victoria Snelgrove, the college student killed in October by police trying to control a crowd outside Fenway Park.

Under the settlement, the city could recoup up to $2 million if Snelgrove's family successfully sues the manufacturer of the pepper-pellet gun used by police when she was killed.


O'Toole also disclosed that Deputy Superintendent Robert E. O'Toole Jr., the commander who authorized the use of the FN303 pepper-pellet gun and who fired one himself that night without certification, is retiring from the department.

Let me see if I understand this correctly.

1) The weapon that was used to fire the fatal shot was negligently discharged into a crowd by an untrained, non-certified officer, at the direction of his supervisors, acting as an authoritative representative of and on behalf of the City of Boston.

2) The weapon fired a projectile precisely as it was designed, marketed, and implemented to do so.

3) And now the City of Boston seeks to recoup $2 million dollars from the manufacturer of said weapon.

What a complete load of crap!

The Snelgrove family, rightfully so, has reached a financial settlement with the City of Boston - end of story (at least in a perfect world it would be, but Boston Massachusetts is pretty fucking far from perfect). For the city to turn around now and even consider piggy-backing onto a possible lawsuit by the Snelgrove family against the manufacturer of the pellet gun is unconscionable.

I've come to expect city officials to pass the buck whenever possible. You know, maybe when a few side streets don't get plowed for a couple days in February, or when residents complain about the lack of digital internet services in their neighborhoods. But this attempt to shift the blame, even in part, for Ms. Snelgrove's death onto an innocent third party is just reprehensible.

The state-sponsored (and enforced) dissolution of the concept of personal responsibility: It's not just for us "common folks" anymore.

Also noteworthy is that the manufacturer of the pellet gun used by the BPD in this incident is FN Herstal, makers of the now-infamous Five-seveN (5.7 x 28 mm) pistol, the subject of many a recent GBDJ's being proposed throughout the once-free United States of America.