Freak Accidents? How to Tell

freakSome people — especially journalists — sometimes falsely label workplace fatalities as “freak accidents” even when they’ve happened before and could have been prevented. But how can you tell? Here is a couple of handy examples:

Freak Accident

2 teens arrested in killing of Burien grandmother by stray bullet

BURIEN, Wash. — Two teen boys have been arrested as the suspected gunmen in a shooting that claimed the life of a receptionist at a Burien chiropractic office. Deputies say their two suspects, both 17, opened fire from a car on 152nd Street Wednesday evening, apparently targeting on a 39-year-old man who had just picked up his 15-year-old son on foot from Highline High School, according to Sgt. Ryan Abbott with King County Sheriff’s Office. The bullets missed their targets, but one stray bullet fatally struck 51-year-old Gabriela Reyes Dominguez, who was at the chiropractic clinic.

 

Not a Freak Accident

Construction Worker Killed in Freak Accident Near Broadway Junction

BUSHWICK – A construction worker was crushed to death in a freak accident at a job site near Broadway Junction in Bushwick over the weekend, police confirmed. The accident took place around 3:00 pm on Saturday, March 10 at 1949 Broadway and Stewart Street. As a forklift was lifting a load of scaffolding pipes, the vehicle tipped over, crushing the 47-year old operator between the forklift and a flatbed truck, said police.

Freak Accident Journalism

3 Comments

  1. Good lord! Even in the realm of inappropriately labeled “freak accidents” your “not a freak accident” example is particularly frustrating. How could anyone even for a minute call that event a “freak accident”???!?

  2. Have to agree with Mike. Shooting a gun and hitting someone you weren’t aiming at in an urban area…. is not an unexpected result. A better one would have been a person sleeping in in bed, when lightening hits a utility pole that bursts into flame igniting the propane tank on the grill next to your window. The propane tank explodes and you are hit in the head by the metal spatula that was left on the grill. More freakish to me, as you are a devout raw products vegan and the grill is owned by the landlord.

    1. I was referring to the other one. From the standpoint of the employer the shooting was “a freak accident,” which is why I didn’t question it. You’re right, of course, that it certainly is no such thing from the standpoint of the shooter.

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