We have yet another tragic case of an individual killed by fooling around with a loaded gun. In this case it was one of the most highly trained military service members, Navy Seal Petty Officer 3rd Class Gene “Geno” Clayont, Jr. Police report that Clayont returned from a bar with a woman and was showing her his guns when he placed a gun to his head that he thought was empty and pulled the trigger.
We have seen a horrible line of such cases. Yet, even the best trained individuals, continue to do this reckless type of conduct with weapons. The military treats any individual who points an unloaded gun at someone else as a serious offense for this reason.
Recently, I learned that this senseless accident claimed the life of former Ohio Representative Clement Laird Vallandigham. Vallandigham is well known to civil libertarians as the leader of the Copperhead faction of anti-war Democrats who opposed the American Civil War and was unconstitutionally arrested on the orders of Abraham Lincoln. He has accused “King Lincoln” of “crushing out liberty and erecting a despotism.” In 1864, the Supreme Court ruled that it had no power to issue a writ of habeas corpus to a military commission (Ex parte Vallandigham, 1 Wallace, 243).
What I did not know until recently is that Vallandigham, 50, died in 1871 in Lebanon, Ohio, when he was trying to demonstrate a defense for his claim in a murder case. Vallandigham was showing his defense team how he intended to show that the victim in the case could have shot himself by simply drawing a pistol from a pocket while in a kneeling position. He proved the point when he proceeded to put a bullet in his own head from what he thought was an unloaded gun. However, his demonstration worked. His client, Thomas McGehan, was acquitted.
Source: Washington Post