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Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Why did Mary Winkler kill her husband?

Counter The murder trial of Mary Winkler is scheduled to start soon, and I'm going to predict that she will be acquitted. If there is any evidence that she premeditated shooting him in the back with his own shotgun, it hasn't come up yet.

The short answer to the above question seems pretty simple: Because she had access to his gun. Being as much smaller than him as she was, it's unlikely she would have been physically capable of inflicting mortal harm on him without it, given her professed mental state at the time of the killing.

This is one more good reason not to keep a loaded firearm readily available. An unloaded one will be practically as effective at scaring away intruders, but totally ineffective at being turned on the owner in a fit of fury.

Personally, I'd rather not keep a gun in the house at all, but for those who do, I suggest keeping the gun in plain view and the ammunition hidden away where no one else can access it.

It may prolong your life enough to give you the chance to work out your marriage problems.

Just a thought.

ETA: Here's my answer, based on the trial report (she was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter): She didn't mean to, but because he was in the habit of pointing a loaded shotgun at her during arguments, she did the same and, not having any training in the safe handling of firearms, wound up pulling the trigger in the process. Except that the argument hadn't quite got going again yet, as he was asleep at the time.

My moral stands.

Update September 16, 2011:

Here's another case in which a person was used to ordering family members around with a pointed, loaded gun--and somebody died; Only in this case, it was his 6-year-old brother.

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