Just what is an “honest” mistake, anyway?

Oct 25, 2023 | 0 comments

I might be nit-picking a bit here, but when I read the Page 2 headline in today’s Observer —State senator says Hong Kong gun charge due to ‘honest mistake’ — I had to stop and mull that over for a bit.  It seems to me that a mistake is a mistake.  Period.  I don’t quite see how there can be an “honest” or a “dishonest” qualifier.

But then my thinking is probably skewed by the fact that the Senator’s “honesty” (or possibly his “mistake”) involved a gun.  And a handgun at that — or so I assume since it was in his carryon luggage along with his chewing gum.  So, in an effort to see if I was mistaken (either honestly or dishonestly), I looked up the word “mistake.”  According to Merriam Webster:  noun. 1. : a wrong judgment : misunderstanding. 2. : a wrong action or statement proceeding from faulty judgment, inadequate knowledge, or inattention.

So then I asked Google, “Is there a difference between an honest mistake and a dishonest mistake?”  And the answer was:  “An honest mistake of course, is understood as someone “trying” with a sincere intent and effort to do well and not make a mistake. A “dishonest mistake” would be more correctly characterized by someone taking on a project with NO intent to avoid a mistake.”

So, am I further ahead than I was when I started?  I honestly don’t have a clue.  I can’t quite wrap my head around someone packing a gun in his carryon luggage “with a sincere intent and effort to do well and not make a mistake” if the rules (or in this case, the law) says No Hand Guns In Carry On Luggage.    I must conclude that his was not a  dishonest mistake (see paragraph above) and I can’t see the “mistake” part very clearly either.   Just plain stupid, I say — no honesty, dis or otherwise, involved.  And certainly not a mistake.

I wonder what the Hong Kong courts will say…



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