18 Sept 17

Stupid gun-handling:

“Better that men should be held to consequences of their own culpable carelessness, than that ‘courts of equity’ should undertake to relieve them therefrom.”

State Bank of Drummond, 93 Wis 2d at 161

When I’m involved in the investigation of an accidental gunshot injury (usually self-inflicted), I make it a point ask the shooter, the person who was holding the gun at the moment of discharge, why he had the muzzle of the weapon he was controlling pointed in an obviously unsafe direction.

As with counseling alcoholics, the first response is usually denial. However, when re-confronted with the evidence, the person eventually says something like, “I had no idea I was doing that.”

Like all bad/careless habits, inadvertently pointing guns at your own body parts (mostly hands, feet, arms, legs) is probably not something that will beget disaster the first time you do it. No, like all bad habits, careless gun-handling is a “time-bomb.” But, you don’t get to know how long the fuze is! Sometimes, people handle guns carelessly for years, decades, with nary an unhappy “incident.” Then, during one inconvenient moment, the fuze runs out!

And, after unintentionally shooting himself, the person will be heard to say, “This is so unfair,” or this particular gun is “inherently unsafe,” … ad nauseam.

With the “unfair” part, I conditionally agree!

I explain to the shootee that he has been “unfairly lucky,” right up to this point! After pointing guns at himself a thousand times, ten-thousand times, the lines finally crossed, and the inevitable finally happened!

Righteous gun-handling is an attitude, more than a “method” or “practice.” Righteous behavior always proceeds from principled mental posture, not a “set of rules.”

The wonderful weapons that it is our honor and prerogative to “keep and bear” are, yes, “inherently dangerous!” That is a given, and not a subject for debate. I don’t believe it is possible to handle any of them “safely!”

The best we can do is handle them “carefully,” with the reverence and respect they, and we, deserve.

Even then, there are no guarantees! But, “keeping and bearing” arms represents a risk some of us gallantly and audaciously take upon ourselves, in the process of claiming our own magnificence!

“Practiced gun-wielders had too much respect for their weapons to take unnecessary chances with them. It was only with tyros and would-bes that you heard of accidental discharges, or ‘didn’t-know-it-was-loaded,’ injuries”

Wyatt Earp