Very Often, Readers Submit Stories that are most definitely, without a doubt, weird. But sometimes I still can’t use them because despite being weird (one definition: unusual), they’re …well… not unusual.
This week, the most-suggested story was that a dog in Indiana stepped on a gun and (quite literally) triggered it to go off, shooting its owner.
I almost went for the story for one little detail: the dog’s name is Trigger. Heh. But that detail wasn’t enough to make the tipping point for me, because dogs shoot their owners too often to really be weird (in the True sense).
I’m not the only one to notice: the Washington Post chronicled ten cases that have made the news since fall 2004, noting that five were hunting accidents, four occurred in a car, three in a boat, and (naturally) four were in Florida.
Just the Start
“Remember, this number is a floor, not a ceiling,” the reporter notes. “If someone gets shot by their dog and doesn’t seek medical care, or it otherwise doesn’t make the local news, nobody’s going to know about it.” Not the general public, anyway.
“When a dog bites a man, that is not news,” the old journalism adage goes. “But if a man bites a dog, that is news.” (Attributed to American author Jesse Lynch Williams (1871-1929), British newspaper magnate Alfred Harmsworth (1865-1922), New York Sun editor John B. Bogart (1848-1921), and New York Tribune journalist Charles Anderson Dana (1819-1897), among others.) Or, to bring it into the 21st century: “Man shoots dog, not news. Dog shoots man, news.” (I tend to be a bit more terse.)
In addition to those ten cases in the U.S., the Post found others that happened overseas, including one in France, and another in New Zealand.
The cases are rarely fatal. Apparently, dogs aren’t very good shots.
For those of you looking for “best pet” data, the Post reporter looked and only found one case of a cat shooting its owner, “way back in 2005.” No details were offered.
But keep those story suggestions coming (submission details here): you never know. When a Weiner dog named Killer shoots former weener-wagging politician Anthony Weiner, I might be interested in covering it.