Warning: Do not assume that a gun is loaded. [Archive] - Glock Talk


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09-06-2002, 07:40
> Warning: Do not assume that a gun is loaded.
> At the 1994 annual awards dinner given for Forensic Science, AAFS
> Dr. Don Harper Mills astounded his audience with the legal complications
> of
> a bizarre death. Here is the story:
> On March 23, 1994 the medical examiner viewed the body of Ronald Opus and
> concluded that he died from a shotgun wound to the head. Mr Opus had
> jumped from the top of a ten-storey building intending to commit suicide.
> He left a note to the effect indicating his despondency. As he fell past
> the ninth floor his life was interrupted by a shotgun blast passing
> a window, which killed him instantly.
> Neither the shooter nor the deceased was aware that a safety net had been
> installed just below the eighth floor level to protect some building
> workers and that Ronald Opus would not have been able to complete his
> suicide the way he had planned.
> "Ordinarily," Dr Mills continued, "A person who sets out to commit suicide
> and ultimately succeeds, even though the mechanism might not be what he
> intended, is still defined as committing suicide." That Mr Opus was shot
> on
> the way to certain death, but probably would not have been successful
> because of the safety net, caused the medical examiner to feel that he had
> a homicide on his hands.
> In the room on the ninth floor, where the shotgun blast emanated, was
> occupied by an elderly man and his wife. They were arguing vigorously and
> he was threatening her with a shotgun. The man was so upset that when he
> pulled the trigger he completely missed his wife and the pellets went
> through the window striking Mr Opus. When one intends to kill subject "A"
> but kills subject "B" in the attempt, one is guilty of the murder of
> subject "B."
> When confronted with the murder charge the old man and his wife were both
> adamant and both said that they thought the shotgun was unloaded. The old
> man said it was a long-standing habit to threaten his wife with the
> unloaded shotgun. He had no intention to murder her. Therefore the
> killing of Mr Opus appeared to be an accident; that is, if the gun had
> accidentally loaded.
> The continuing investigation turned up a witness who saw the old couple's
> son loading the shotgun about six weeks prior to the fatal accident. It
> transpired that the old lady had cut off her son's financial support and
> the son, knowing the propensity of his father to use the shotgun
> threateningly, loaded the gun with the expectation that his father would
> shoot his mother.
> Since the loader of the gun was aware of this, he was guilty of the murder
> even though he didn't actually pull the trigger. The case now becomes one
> of murder on the part of the son for the death of Ronald Opus.
> Now comes the exquisite twist.
> Further investigation revealed that the son was, in fact, Ronald Opus. He
> had become increasingly despondent over the failure of his attempt to
> engineer his mother's murder. This led him to jump off the ten storey
> building on March 23rd, only to be killed by a shotgun blast passing
> through the ninth story window. The son had actually murdered himself so
> the medical examiner closed the case as a suicide.
> (A true story from Associated Press, Reported by Kurt Westervelt)

09-06-2002, 08:20
Truth IS STRANGER than fiction!

...and today's Darwin award goes to...

09-06-2002, 09:19
But a good one.

There is no such person named Kurt Westervelt. In google search his name always appears in variations of this context:
"A true story from Associated Press, Reported by Kurt Westervelt"

09-06-2002, 18:42
Isn't this the openning scene of the movie, Magnolia starring Tom Cruise?

09-06-2002, 18:50
This was an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street.

09-06-2002, 20:11
I have a professor/friend who does urban myth research. Good call mass_resident. This story is untrue but interesting. Here's his take.

"...has been around since 1994. Apparently this ficticious tale was told at a meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences as a hypothetical story made up to illustrate a point, and since that time, it has been told as true - as all urban legends are told. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is."

I would still pass it on, ;U but not as true.

09-07-2002, 00:42
In fact, if I recall correctly, the episode of Homicide: Life on the Street involved Dr. Cox, the chief medical examiner, relating the story over drinks to other medical examiners through a series of flashbacks in which detectives Frank Pembleton and Tim Bayless unravelled the case.

09-07-2002, 04:30
Here ya go:


09-07-2002, 05:53
Opus lives.


09-09-2002, 21:21
Originally posted by Gunrnr
Here ya go:


How do we know snopes isn't an urban legend?

09-10-2002, 04:37
Gow do we know that the concept of an "Urban Legend" isn't an Urban Legend itself?

09-10-2002, 11:47
Wolfie & Dog -- you know, you might be right...the whole concept of Urban Legend could be part of the bigger Govt conspiracy of disinformation!

...they're everywhere, they're everywhere...