John Reiss, English Professor Emeritus was sitting down to eat dinner in his suburban Essex home when a rifle bullet tore through a window and hit him in the chest, killing him on the spot.Isn't it possible to blame this accident on the lax gun attitudes in Vermont? And by extension, wouldn't it be possible to blame all gun rights supporters who tout Vermont as the paragon of gun-totin' liberty?
Police didn't have to look far to figure out what had happened. At the house next door, four men were taking target practice with rifles and a shotgun in a backyard shooting range, the sound of gunfire still heard by police arriving at Reiss' home in response to a frantic 911 call from his wife.
Because the four had been taking turns shooting the weapons, prosecutors concede they don't know who fired the fatal shot.
But they charged two of the men with involuntary manslaughter, and the trial got under way Tuesday for one of them — Joseph McCarthy, a 40-year-old tool operator at IBM who had set up the shooting range in his backyard, about 750 feet from Reiss' house.
Prosecutors say McCarthy, who had passed a hunter safety course 10 days before, should have known the risk posed by the shooting party and should be held criminally liable for Reiss' death. If convicted, he could get 15 years in prison.
I say yes. And you're only defense is a shabby one, that it happens infrequently enough that it's worth it.
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