3 May 16

“‘Security’ is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do children of men, as a whole, experience it. In the long run, avoiding danger is no safer than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing!”

Helen Keller

“Negligent Discharge”

My good friend and colleague, Dave Grossman, correctly points out that we unwittingly create the false expectation that all “bad outcomes” can be prevented, when we globally use the term, “negligent discharge” to describe all gun accidents. “Negligence” is a legal term, and we blindly concede legal liability when we use it casually and automatically.

“Unintentional Discharge” (UD) is a better and more inclusive term. Many, probably most, UDs are NDs, but not all, as yesterday’s Quip demonstrates.

As another sage friend and colleague, Skip Gochenour, points out:

“Safe” gun-handling is an imaginary concept and is probably is not possible, any more than is “safe” driving, “safe” downhill skiing, nor “safe” sex!

The term, “safe” implies a guarantee:

“Do it this way, and nothing bad will ever happen”

Sleazy, ambulance-chasing personal-injury attorneys insist that every “bad outcome” is the direct result of some fault on the part of the nearest deep-pocket. Sometimes, they’re right! But, “fault-finding,” particularly when the only real motivation is financial, generates unrealistic expectations.

The sage among us handle guns “carefully” and “correctly,” but we still handle guns! And, we also drive carefully and ski downhill as carefully as it can be done. I’m not even sure what “safe sex” is, but it sounds like a colossal bore!

I routinely advise students that my range is not a “safe” place, and that all who are under the impression that when they’re here, they’re in a super-safe environment where no one can possible get hurt, no matter how hard they try, labor under a delusion. Our goal is personal victory, accepting all inherent risks, and we go about it as safely as we reasonably can!

The notion that all “bad outcomes” are foreseeable and thus preventable is a false and destructive premise. As noted above, it leads to unrealistic expectations and ultimately suffocates all human progress.

Victory is the only reality in the universe!