Kid kills hiker, gets slap on wrist

6:14 a.m. on July 11, 2009 (EDT)
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See Hiker slaughtered
Why the light sentence? Why, and this is a good one, the hunter safety course? Since 2cd Degree Manslaughter is a class B felony in WA, the kid should never be able to be in possession of a gun again. I assume that also means carry a gun.

Furthermore, the WA bear season doesn't start until Aug., only small-game and varmints can be hunted in July, so why was the hunter shooting at a bear with a small caliber weapon? It wasn't self-defense or he would have seen it was a hiker. I imagine he would get a stiffer sentence for poaching than for killing a hiker.

12:33 p.m. on July 11, 2009 (EDT)
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The light sentence = no one has to take responsibility for there own actions anymore.

Our court system is falling short and it has been for some time. There is always an excuse that let's you off the hook for your actions. In my opinion its wrong and you should have to take full responsibility for your actions no mater what. Do that and crime of all types would drastically reduce.

8:53 p.m. on July 11, 2009 (EDT)
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First of all, I would hope that we all realize the 14 year old was not a hunter. He was a kid who had not been trained in proper firearm use, had no respect for the damage a foolish act like this could cause, and obviously had no real hunting experience.

Furthermore, there should have been a responsible adult in close proximity to guide him.

In my state of SC you must complete a hunter safety course in order to get a hunting license.

In many ways this is not an accident, the kid purposefully chose to take a shot at something he had not visually identified according to what I have read so far.

I agree with mike068, this is fast becoming a nation of immature, irresponsible, apathetic, excuse making males who are disconnected from reality. Many of them also have parents who make excuses for them as well, ask any school teacher!

This is sad, where are we headed as a society?

My condolences to the family of Pamela Almli.

9:16 p.m. on July 11, 2009 (EDT)
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This is an excerpt from one of the articles:

"The 14-year-old who shot Almli was an experienced hunter who had taken a safety class but still fired his gun when he shouldn't have, he said."

 

I totally disagree, how can you be an experienced hunter and take a shot at a completely unknown, unidentified target. I wasn't there, but I don't buy it for a minute. There are also many people who take hunter safety courses tongue in cheek just because it is required. Many days in the woods with a gun does not make you a hunter.

Since when do bears resemble humans?

Additionally, was the 14 year old and his brother aware of where the roads, trails, parking areas and so forth were located in relation to theirs? I don't know, but you are supposed to know these things as a hunter.

1:16 a.m. on July 12, 2009 (EDT)
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Trouthunter have you ever herd the terms - sound shooting, if its brown its down, if it moves shoot it if it still moves shoot it again. I have and even as a young person I knew they were just BS sayings. I had an incident happen to me many years ago that thought me never take a shot until you are 150% sure what you are shooting at. I was 17 with my usual group of hunting buddies. I saw a brown 4 legged animal but what could it be other than a dear right. Wrong as I had aim and my finger in the trigger it came in a clear spot I noticed it wasn't a dear but a girl in a brown overalls riding a brown horse. As we found out later she was part of a group that was protesting hunting. I have never looked at hunting the same way. Know I know that situation doesn't compare I just wanted to tell that story as to contribute how you need to pay close attention.

3:45 a.m. on July 12, 2009 (EDT)
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I don't understand why anyone thinks it is a good idea for children to have guns. Anyone not old enough to drive shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a weapon. There is a reason we don't allow 14 year olds to drive-they don't have the judgment to do so, but we allow them to have high-powered weapons and give them a pass when they kill someone? 30 days is nothing.

Manslaughter implies lack of intent, but it is grossly negligent at best. In CA, the penalty is 2-4 years in prison, so this kid got basically got away with a lesser penalty than some people get for a dui.

The idea that this kid will be back out on the street with his gun in a month is not exactly assuring. Now he knows if he shoots someone else, it's really no big deal.

There was a similar incident in the East Bay a couple of years ago where a 14 or 15 year old kid killed another hiker because he thought she was a deer. Very similar circumstances.

10:12 a.m. on July 12, 2009 (EDT)
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mike068,

Yes I have heard those sayings, If it's brown it's down! These sayings are absolute foolishness! I agree. The problem is that as adults we realize they are foolish, but I see young teens latch onto sayings like these without giving it any thought. They are just not old enough to have any discernment.

I have been hunting since I was young, I was taught that it is not a hobby, or entertaining, it is something we do to put meat in the freezer. I do think it is okay to take some pride in developing solid hunting skills, but true hunters do it for the meat primarily. Sure there are other reasons, such as population control, or to pass on the skills, but hunting requires a high degree of responsibility, don't you think?

Tom D,

I agree that younger kids & adolescents do not have the maturity or judgement necessary to handle firearms alone in the woods. I don't think they are capable of understanding that accidents do happen (or that they can cause one may be more correct) and how devastating those accidents can be concerning firearms.

I do like to see youngsters receive proper training in a very controlled environment such as a rifle range along with classroom instruction, by a qualified instructor. I think there are some "Uncle Bucks" out there giving kids incomplete training. They can show the kids how a firearm functions but are not skilled in how to impart a sense of responsibility to the youngster, that just takes time it doesn't happen overnight. Without good parenting already in place it's hard to get adolescents to take responsibility seriously I think. This seems to be a growing problem.

Surely this 14 year olds hunting license has been revoked!?

I didn't see that mentioned in the two articles I read.

10:44 a.m. on July 12, 2009 (EDT)
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"The 14-year-old who shot Almli was an experienced hunter who had taken a safety class but still fired his gun when he shouldn't have, he said."

I agree--children should not be allowed to hunt without adult supervision. Judgement is questionable at that age.

7:00 p.m. on July 14, 2009 (EDT)
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I believe strongly in the death penalty.

The guiloteen works quite well plus it takes *no energy* to operate.

1:18 p.m. on July 15, 2009 (EDT)
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Frankly, I think that there are a lot of adults that should not be in possession of a firearm either. A lot of them call themselves hunters; a lot more are nothing more than ammo-burning, gunslinger wannabe's. Proper, safe, handling of firearms requires instruction, practice and self-discipline. These things are a bit too thin on the ground these days.

 

The Bill of Rights recognizes that individual ownership of firearms is an American birthright. I don't have too much trouble with that. I have been a competitive pistol shooter (of no great distinction) for 55 years. But, I do feel strongly that carying firearms in public is both a privilege and a responsibility; this is where the instruction, practice and self-discipline enter the picture. Turning a gun owner loose in public with no instruction and no delineation of their responsibilities makes as much (or little) sense as giving a 16-year-old a drivers license and the keys to a hot new Mustang without first teaching them to drive safely.

 

I don't care what the NRA has to say on the subject: any right has attendant responsibilities. A lot of American firearms enthusiasts seem to focus on the rights and ignore the responsibilities. The NRA encourages this emphasis and so I hold that organization somewhat culpable whenever I hear of an untutored shooter "accidentally" shooting someone. I think that some sort of certificate of competency should be required before anyone, of any age, is turned loose in public with a gun.

5:10 p.m. on July 15, 2009 (EDT)
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Hi Pika,

You echo my sentiments exactly, as I have stated them before here.

Rights & responsibilities are inherently linked one to another, if enough people choose to ignore the responsibilities you soon loose the rights, or at the very least so many laws get passed that every one becomes a criminal. Sometimes this process takes decades but it does happen I think.

I also think that in this day and age of foolishness some sort of test should be required before anyone can purchase any firearm. That is one area where the NRA and I part ways.

I also am a lifetime shooter and am tired of the "black eye" these incidents cause. Sad and senseless!

6:51 p.m. on July 17, 2009 (EDT)
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Longtime lurker, infrequent poster, but I gotta chime in on this one.

First, a real tragedy that this occurred at all, condolences to the family of the woman. And, a sentence that doesn't seem to fit the offense, no argument there.

But listening to everyone talk about tests for firearms ownership, and how teenagers aren't old enough to handle guns on their own, is way over the top. All children develop at a pace dictated by their environment, and to place an arbitrary limit on all teenagers because some act like idiots doesn't make any sense. We could make the very same claim about adults and their ability to accept responsibility. I would venture a guess that more people are placed in jeopardy in wilderness situations, and more S&R resources are used innapropriately, by people NOT in possession of firearms than vice versa. But if we clamored for testing before people were allowed to hike/camp, I'm sure the response here would be quite different.

No question this is a tragedy, and no idea why the punishment was so light. But let's not paint all young hunters and gun owners with a broad brush, based on this incident or a few experiences of your own.

3:44 p.m. on July 18, 2009 (EDT)
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<BLOCKQUOTE>
<P>The need for a gun is greatly exaggerated by people with a political agenda who want to foster the idea that parks are dangerous places full of wild animals and armed criminals just waiting to kill you. I don't buy it.</P></BLOCKQUOTE>
<BLOCKQUOTE>
<P>I don't understand why anyone thinks it is a good idea for children to have guns.</P></BLOCKQUOTE>
<p> </p>
<BLOCKQUOTE>
<P>I also think that in this day and age of foolishness some sort of test should be required before anyone can purchase any firearm. That is one area where the NRA and I part ways.</P></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm a little sad to see some of the attitudes and responses on this thread and another thread about Yellowstone. Especially considering nobody here seems to know anything about the case except for what was printed in one brief, uninformative article.

4:42 p.m. on July 18, 2009 (EDT)
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"I'm a little sad to see some of the attitudes and responses on this thread and another thread about Yellowstone."

Sorry it disturbs you. Obviously not everyone agrees that kids should be carrying firearms without restrictions. You may think so but there are a lot of folks, responsible firearms owners among them, that don't.

 

To paraphrase something I said in an earler post: If we would not let a kid drive a car without proper instruction and proof of competence, why should we let them carry a gun in public without the same. Actually, I would expand the above to adults as well.

 

Sure, there are a lot of responsible teenagers and a lot of responsible adults. But, there are at least as many, kids and adults, who have no concept of responsibility. Personally, I am prepared to suffer some minor inconvenience if by doing so we can rid our public lands of immature, irresponsible and reckless gun owners.

 

The public has a reasonable expectation of safety that transcends unrestricted carrying of firearms in public places by people who have not demonstrated some minimal level of competence; just the same as with automobiles. A person can own a car without a drivers license they just can't go forth into the world in their car without one. I would like to see the same thing apply to firearms; and I am speaking as a long time shooter and gun owner.

12:10 p.m. on July 20, 2009 (EDT)
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Pika,

I'm not sure why my post is jacked up but statements like the following disturb me.

I believe strongly in the death penalty.

The guiloteen works quite well plus it takes *no energy* to operate.

Nowhere in my post did I say anything about my beliefs about gun ownership or use by teenagers. I'm just disappointed in the tone of this thread and at least one other that I read last week. If you have more information about the shooting that is the subject of this thread please post it. I'd be willing to base my feelings about the kid that pulled the trigger on the facts, which are in very short supply in the article that was linked here.

9:35 a.m. on July 23, 2009 (EDT)
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Sorry, I misinterpreted your note. I have acquaintences in Washington and so do have a bit more info on the incident but nothing that would add to our understanding. I certainly agree with you on the posts to which you took exception. I surely would not want to be the young man who shot the woman; what a thing to have to live with!

9:02 p.m. on July 24, 2009 (EDT)
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My argument is really simple-you don't get a "do-over" when you kill someone with a high-powered weapon. A 14 year old with a gun shot and killed a hiker. What more do I need to know? What could possibly be his (or your) excuse for doing this? Are you going to blame the hiker for being out hiking in hunting season? I'm sure some gun fanatics will do just that.

We're not talking about Iraq where a soldier accidentally kills a civilian in a firefight. If this kid didn't understand that once he pulled that trigger, the bullet he fired was going to make a big hole in whatever it hit, he shouldn't have been anywhere near a gun.

10:22 p.m. on July 24, 2009 (EDT)
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I agree with Tom D,

The kid demonstrated a lack of judgement as is typical with kids his age. This was a gun, not a skateboard. Hikers have a right to enjoy the outdoors just as much as the next person. How hard is it to tell the difference between a hiker, and a deer.....or other animal?

If a shooter does not have a clear line of sight coupled with a positive ID of the target, Why is his finger on the trigger??! This is a very basic rule of gun safety.

The more irresponsible people as a whole become, the more we loose our priviliges, I think that's an easy concept to grasp.

8:41 p.m. on August 3, 2009 (EDT)
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He's 14, what good would killing the kid or putting him in jail for a very stupid mistake do? Seriously? Then you ruin two lives. He becomes useless and a burden on the tax payers sitting in a jail cell forever. And putting a kid to death for a stupid mistake is barbaric. Kids do stupid things, we all have done some pretty stupid things. Some things come with serve punishment. Jail is Jail, I've been in it. 30 days is enough to scare the tar out of someone who isn't a hardened crimanal, which he probably isn't. Although I think it should be followed by maybe a much longer community service repayment.

While I agree with proper eduction on gun ownership, many of you are suggesting the government step in and lincse gun owners. This creates a problem which goes against the 2nd adment right to bare arms. That right is there so people can defend themselves from the government if needed. Not hunting or sport, no matter what NRA tells people. Just becuase today the government still runs for us, doesn't mean something could go wrong. Hitler rounded up all the guns, and the allies had to get rid of him.

Just my 2 cents.

12:34 a.m. on August 4, 2009 (EDT)
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Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

mikekey, I agree with you on 2nd amendment rights, and the reasons the founding fathers put the Bill of Rights in place.

I would also say however that government (state or federal) can and does step in and regulate or revoke those rights anytime the people, or a single person demonstrates gross negligence in exercising them. Ask any felon.

In my opinion, not only is the kid responsible for what happened, but depending on the circumstances, so is the parent(s) that supplied him with access to a firearm. I think a two year sentence would not be unreasonable considering that a person has lost their life.

It is ultimately up to the people to remain civil and assume our responsibilities in the execution of our rights. If we can not, those rights will become so regulated that it will become impossible to exercise them. You do have the right to bear arms, but some government, local or federal, can already tell you which one you can own, where you can use it, how you can use it, and how it must be transported.

Each new law is in turn passed (usually) because a person or persons showed a lack of judgement that prompted lawmakers to write yet another law in an effort to govern the people, the same people who seem to know all their rights, but less and less about the responsibilities that make those rights possible. Each new law restricts how and where we can exercise our rights.......and thus our liberties wither!

4:33 a.m. on August 4, 2009 (EDT)
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I am not saying lock up this kid forever. This was an accident, but it was gross negligence, just like killing someone with a car while drinking.

What I don't like is that in some states, children can be armed (and dangerous). I don't understand why anyone thinks a kid has the good sense not to shoot at everything he sees or maybe thinks he sees. Some do, but many don't. The consequences far outweigh waiting until maybe 16.

As far as the Second Amendment goes, the Founders did a very bad job of writing it and there have been arguments about it every since. Ignore the phrase, "well regulated militia" is the mantra of the NRA which believes in no regulations whatsoever. If the NRA had its way, machine guns would still be legal.

I've lived in a country with very strict gun laws (New Zealand). Hunters still hunted with long guns, guns clubs existed and no one seemed afraid of the government because the citizenry isn't armed to the teeth. Not sure about now, but when I was there, the police did not carry weapons. They called out SWAT if a firearm was used in a crime. Gun crimes were rare, although they did happen. People seemed willing to live without handguns and no one I knew was itching to change things.

One thing you couldn't do was wear a motorcycle helmet into a bank. They had little stickers on the doors with a drawing of a helmet inside a red circle with a slash through it. Someone had to explain that to me. Apparently after a few robberies, the banks banned them or it was a law, not sure.

6:08 a.m. on August 4, 2009 (EDT)
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The second amendment was written when firearms were considerably more primitive than today's. Would the founding fathers have used the same wording if they had foreseen automatic weapons? We'll never know... but we can use our own perspective and judgement on these issues. Times have changed!

I also lived in NZ, two summers as a hutkeeper on the Milford Track. I remember getting a visit from a Yosemite ranger who talked about firearms training and dealing with crazies, sometimes with guns, in the Yosemite backcountry. My biggest problem in two summers was talking a guy out of camping too close to the trail.

As I recall, SWAT teams in NZ are (or were) given the quaint name "Armed Offenders".

2:03 p.m. on August 4, 2009 (EDT)
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At this day in age talking about gun's is like talking about god, its going to piss somebody off With that being said. You can have my gun’s when you pry them from my cold dead hands and with gods help that won’t be happing any time soon.

The Second Amendment has been extremely modified from its original content, some modifications good some bad what ever they may be we as Americans made them. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms and we as Americans all have the right to have a different belief. Further more guns gave you the right to keep in bear arms so remember that.

Guns don’t kill people, people do. But in this day in age almost no one is made to take responsibility for there action, our court system is a joke. Wither it be gun related or not there is always a BS excuse why they did something. If people had to suffer repercussions for there actions we all wouldn’t be in the crap that we are in. It should be more like it was when the second amendment was put into place. Remember this is a free country so if you don’t like it don’t cry and wine about it, pack up you and your family and go someplace more to your liking.

12:06 p.m. on August 7, 2009 (EDT)
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People suffer repercussions for their actions all the time; that's why the U.S. has a higher prison population and per capita prison incarceration rate than all other countries, except perhaps China and North Korea (depending on the figures you use).

The kid apparently did not offer a BS excuse; he pleaded guilty and the judge who sentenced him found that he was "painfully honest" when he spoke to a deputy at the scene of the shooting.

He was convicted of manslaughter 2; in Washington, a "person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when, with criminal negligence, he causes the death of another person." Manslaughter 1 applies where the accused "recklessly causes the death of another person." That's probably a fine distinction, and you can argue whether he acted recklessly or was "criminally negligent." Keep in mind that the judge was obligated to follow the goals of the Washington juvenile justice act: to "[m]ake the juvenile offender accountable for his or her criminal behavior" and to "

rovide for punishment commensurate with the age, crime, and criminal history of the juvenile offender . . . ."

In addition to the jail time, it also appears that if the young man possesses a firearm in the future, he will be guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm.

I'm not making excuses for his conduct: it's pretty difficult to mistake a hiker dressed in blue for a bear. I might be inclined to find he acted recklessly and impose a stiffer sentence, but I don't have all the information the judge had when making this decision.

I was hunting deer in Michigan three years ago and sighted on a trail crossing with plenty of dear sign. I heard noise noises from the woods and just knew that a large buck was heading for the crossing. I put my eye to the scope and waited. Suddenly, the scope went black. Annoyed, I pulled my eye away, looked down the trail and saw a large black bear staring at me from 40 or fifty yards. I kept still and she ambled on her way, staring back once or twice. If I had simply shot, I would have hit an out-of-season black bear, but it could just as easily have been a hiker. So, of course, you must always be sure of your target.

However, we get so caught up in trying to hold someone accountable that we lose sight of the fact that accidents happen, we can't prevent them all, and putting a 15-year-old in prison until he's 18 or 21 will neither bring the dead hiker back nor prevent future accidents of this type.

1:25 p.m. on August 7, 2009 (EDT)
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Rexim, you said:

However, we get so caught up in trying to hold someone accountable that we lose sight of the fact that accidents happen, we can't prevent them all, and putting a 15-year-old in prison until he's 18 or 21 will neither bring the dead hiker back nor prevent future accidents of this type.

True, accidents happen. If the steering suddenly fails on a car and it strikes a pedestrian, that is an accident. If someone is driving while texting and strikes a pedestrian, that is not an accident.

What occurred was not an accident - the shooter shot someone who was clearly not in season. No excuses, no accident.

Now, can you tell me that a 15 year-old inner-city kid who shoots, fatally, an unarmed adult who has a passing resemblance to someone the kid fears, will go free as this hunter did? Should they both be free? If so, why?

5:16 p.m. on August 8, 2009 (EDT)
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I see your point: it was not an accident because the shooter intended to shoot something, and he hit what he was aiming at. However, I think it was an accident because the shooter did not intend to shoot a person. In your hypothetical, the "15 year-old inner-city kid" did intend to shoot a person. There's a big difference.

By the way, the "shooter" didn't offer any excuses, and he did not go free. If you are suggesting that he should have suffered a stiffer penalty, I would not disagree. But throwing away the key still won't bring the dead hiker back, and that's something this kid's going to live with for the rest of his life.

6:24 p.m. on August 8, 2009 (EDT)
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When you or anyone fire's a weapon that person is responsible for that projectile from the weapon to its final resting place. If you are not 100% ready to assume 100% of the repercussions for that act don't fire it. No a heavy penalty will not bring the person back but Justice must be served. The penalty must fit the crime, yes crime the result of the accident is a crime.

9:45 p.m. on August 8, 2009 (EDT)
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Rexim,

You said:

However, I think it was an accident because the shooter did not intend to shoot a person. In your hypothetical, the "15 year-old inner-city kid" did intend to shoot a person. There's a big difference.

Intent is not necessarily an element of the crime. We don't honestly know the intent of either kid, except from their own statements which can be, of course, self-serving. I have no reason to believe that the hunter didn't want to "make his bones", but that doesn't matter to the victim or the victim's loved ones. Perhaps in a year, the hunter is bragging about snuffing a lady-hiker and getting away with it; while the other kid is sitting in jail, deeply remorseful of the life he took. We don't know, but you seem eager to exonerate the hunter. Why shouldn't they be treated the same? The result was the same.

You said:

I'm not making excuses for his conduct: it's pretty difficult to mistake a hiker dressed in blue for a bear.

but you are indeed making excuses for his conduct.

Just wondering, no heat at this end. :)

9:53 p.m. on August 8, 2009 (EDT)
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I've never denied that it was a crime; in fact, I quoted the definition of manslaughter 2 in my earlier post. Of course the punishment must fit the crime; indeed, that is a requirement under the Washington Juvenile Justice Act, which I also quoted in an earlier post. That is why you must examine the intent of the criminal, yes, criminal. And that's why most states have different degrees of homicide: murder, manslaughter, and negligent homicide. The result is still the same in each: death. It is the intent of the criminal that makes the difference.

10:13 p.m. on August 8, 2009 (EDT)
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While hunting and aiming, firing, hitting what you were aiming at is intent. It doesn't matter if what you were shooting at it wasn't what you thought it was. That just makes you a ignorant SOB. The intent to kill was there and carried out successfully.

Rules of thumb: If you can't see target and know exactly what it is, consider it human.

1:47 p.m. on August 9, 2009 (EDT)
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Rexim,

Intent is not a part of the legal definition of the crime of Manslaughter 1 or 2 in WA. There is no mens rea ("guilty mind") that must be proven on the part of the killer. Recklessness or negligence is sufficient, intent is not part of the equation. Some might call it a "strict liability" law.

The young hunter was aware of hunter safety, he had taken the courses. He knew that he should not shoot unless he saw the target clearly, that it was a lawful target, and that the passage of the bullet would not harm anyone beyond the target. Yet, he chose to shoot without reckoning (e.g., recklessly) or neglecting those elements of gun safety. Whatever his intent was, and we will never be certain of that, it is not relevant to the law or this discussion.

If he killed my son, I really would not care about his intent. If he killed your son or daughter, would his intent be of great concern to you?

2:01 p.m. on August 9, 2009 (EDT)
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If he killed my son, I really would not care about his intent. If he killed your son or daughter, would his intent be of great concern to you?

Good Point.

6:30 p.m. on August 9, 2009 (EDT)
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There have been some good points made in this thread, and differing perspectives to some degree. I listen to and respect others peoples points of view on this and other topics as long as they can remain civil, I am glad that civility has been maintained in this thread!

If this same topic had been (and has been) discussed on other forums it would (and did) have turned into an all out assault on each other.

I appreciate everyone's maturity, and the ability to listen to other perspectives on various topics here on Trailspace.

I'm sure we can all agree this was a tragic & avoidable incident. I often backpack in WMA's (wildlife management areas) where hunting and hiking can take place at the same time. This is yet another reason to whistle, sing, or just talk to yourself while hiking in these areas I guess.

6:50 p.m. on August 9, 2009 (EDT)
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There have been some good points made in this thread, and differing perspectives to some degree. I listen to and respect others peoples points of view on this and other topics as long as they can remain civil, I am glad that civility has been maintained in this thread!

If this same topic had been (and has been) discussed on other forums it would (and did) have turned into an all out assault on each other.

I appreciate everyone's maturity, and the ability to listen to other perspectives on various topics here on Trailspace.

I'm sure we can all agree this was a tragic & avoidable incident. I often backpack in WMA's (wildlife management areas) where hunting and hiking can take place at the same time. This is yet another reason to whistle, sing, or just talk to yourself while hiking in these areas I guess.

 

All very good points and I do agree we all have our own opinions and we should be civil to other opinions that don't agree with our own.

Just don't answer yourself while talking to yourself and you will be ok.

9:02 p.m. on August 9, 2009 (EDT)
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I HATE to read or hear something like this EVER happens! My thoughts and my prayers go out to all involved.

HOWEVER! A 14 year old kid is NEVER an experienced hunter! PERIOD! He/She is a KID still. Why ever in the HELL this 14 year old was out in the woods with a firearm without an adult supervising him is beyond me! My father NEVER cut me loose with a firearm until I was 18 and even then he ALWAYS made me check in with him once I got home. By then though I knew right from wrong, I had been through a hunter safety course, and had spent a lot of time in the field. I still wouldn't say I was experienced. I had experience but I would still not consider myself experienced at 18! This kid was/is 14.

In my opinion this is a case where the parent(s) should be held accountable for their LACK of being a parent!

Scott

1:20 p.m. on August 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Overmywaders,

If you read my posts again, you will see that I made no attempt to exonerate the "shooter." In fact, I even stated that I would not disagree with a stiffer sentence. However, the fact remains that he pleaded gulity, thereby admitting to the crime, and was sentenced for his crime.

The intent issue was raised because you took exception to my description of the incident as an accident. I said it was an accident because the "shooter" did not intend to shoot the hiker. I stand by that statement, while recognizing the validity of another opinion.

However, whenever there is a homicide, you must examine the intent of the killer. That's how you determine whether to charge murder or manslaughter. Did he intend to kill the victim, or did he not? If you deny the relevance of that inquiry, you deny the difference between murder and manslaughter and should want both the intentional killer and the negligent killer to face the same penalty.

Mike068 said that "the intent to kill was there and carried out successfully." Well, if the intent to kill a bear is the same as the intent to kill a person, I guess he should have been charged with murder and not manslaughter.

To answer your question: would the intent of the shooter make a difference if it were my son who was shot? Perhaps a little, but either way I'd still have a strong desire to wreak vengeance myself. But that's why we have laws, and judges, and don't let the victims determine the punishment themselves.

I won't convince you and you won't convince me. However, I yield the last word if you want it, and I'll go back to thinking about trekking poles.

4:21 p.m. on August 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Rexim,

I don't want the last word, but I would like to respond to your post.

Do you know how the term "manslaughter" came about, the six cities for the manslayers, etc.? Very interesting, check Numbers 35:12-26 for a description of the Judea-Christian origin of manslaughter, trials, and serving time.

A prosecutor does not try to determine intent, he tries to prosecute criminals; just as the defense attorney tries to represent people without the burden of knowing their guilt or innocence. If the prosecutor had sufficient evidence to prove there was malice, he would go for murder; he bases his charges upon the evidence he has and his likelihood of winning, not the impossible to prove "intent" of the shooter. The prosecutor did not have sufficient evidence to prove murder, so he went with Man-II. That doesn't mean that the prosecutor considered the shooter's intent, just that the Manslaughter case was easily winnable. Ninety plus percent of criminal cases are plea-bargained, it saves court time and may improve the prosecutor's batting average. Manslaughter in the 1st degree might have been more apt, but harder to prove (reckless vs negligent, as you noted) and would have drawn the ire of the NRA.

So, the decision is not based upon the intent of the shooter - which neither you nor I know - but the chances of the DA.

10:34 p.m. on August 10, 2009 (EDT)
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Hunting is too accessible, getting a gun is too accessible.

It should be more regulated because this sort of thing happens way too often. These type of idiots give hunters a bad name

3:17 a.m. on August 11, 2009 (EDT)
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Hey BigRed, I did the Milford back in '86. Stayed in the Freedom Walker huts (the cheap way to do it). Which hut were you at or did you move around? Definitely one of the best hikes I ever did. The Routeburn isn't too shabby either. I did a few others as well, including a bit of hiking at Arthur's Pass, and a bit of climbing at Mt. Cook with Alpine Guides.

Yep, as I remember, that's who they were, the "armed offender squad." Seeing a cop without a gun was always kind of strange to me. I got picked up by the cops while hitchhiking back from Arthur's Pass in the rain. I thought I was being busted for carrying an ice axe. Turned out they just felt sorry for me and gave me a ride home to a friend of mine's house where I was staying.

3:22 a.m. on August 11, 2009 (EDT)
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Actually it is all about intent. That determines the charge. If the prosecutor can't prove whatever degree of intent he was trying to prove, a jury can convict on a lesser included offense. This is basic criminal procedure.

7:40 a.m. on August 11, 2009 (EDT)
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Re: Kid kills hiker (NZ digression)

Hi Tom

I was hutkeeper at Mintaro in 78-79 and 79-80. My wife and I returned to NZ with a folding kayak in 89. There's a piece of me that still lives there, getting up early and peering up at the face of Mount Balloon before brewing up a cuppa. I have done the Routeburn and Hollyford tracks a couple of times each, Kepler Track, part of the George Sound Track (but not, unfortunately, Dusky Sound), and some more out of the way stuff in Fiordland. A lot of Americans and others are (understandably) put off by the higher level of regulation on the Milford Track, but if you get a place it is less crowded and as whole it is more pristine than the usual alternative, the Routeburn. Great scenery on both, but the Routeburn is no substitute for the Milford, very different. I also hiked or visited many other parts of NZ, from Stewart Island (maybe the toughest hiking I have ever seen) to paddling in the Bay of Islands. Now it's been over 20 years since I have been down there, maybe it's time to think about another visit -- or stay.

11:00 a.m. on August 11, 2009 (EDT)
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Tom,

We may be speaking of the same thing in different ways. WA state law requires no mens rea, that is no "guilty mind" or criminal intent, for manslaughter.

Rexim said many times that he knows the intent of the criminal in this case. However, even West's Encyclopedia of American Law states for "intent":

A determination to perform a particular act or to act in a particular manner for a specific reason; an aim or design; a resolution to use a certain means to reach an end.
Intent is a mental attitude with which an individual acts, and therefore it cannot ordinarily be directly proved but must be inferred from surrounding facts and circumstances. Intent refers only to the state of mind with which the act is done or omitted.

So, intent cannot usually be proved. For anyone to assert they know the mind of the killer is, frankly, absurd. And no prosecutor is worried about actual criminal intent, but presumed criminal intent -- what he thinks the jury will believe was the intent. Your assertion that the prosecutor must "prove" intent is erroneous as it is unprovable. The prosecutor must bring the jury to the point where they infer the intent he wishes them to attribute to the defendant (not to be confused with motive). This is, as I have said before, unnecessary in manslaughter.

If the prosecutor had located friends of the defendant who stated the defendant had spoken "someday" of shooting someone, he might have gone for murder. That does not mean that the intent of the killer on that day, at that moment, was to kill someone; merely that the prosecutor would be able to suggest to the jury that such was the case. Again, not actual intent, which Rexim knows, but inferred intent.

1:33 p.m. on August 11, 2009 (EDT)
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Overmywaders, I yielded the last word here. However, I submitted a new post under mens rea in the off topic section if you care to continue the discussion.

2:08 p.m. on August 11, 2009 (EDT)
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Rexim,

Good idea. Thanks, I'll get to it tomorrow. Have a great day.

Regards,

Reed

December 21, 2014
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