15 July 99

From a friend on the East Coast:

“John, This just happened to an acquaintance within the last month (not one of our students):

Wanting to clean his Glock 23, Goofy had just started dissembling it when the phone rang. He had just removed the magazine. He set the gun down and answered the phone.

After a lengthy phone conversation, he hung up and resumed the gun-cleaning session.

With Glocks, it is necessary to pull the trigger, AFTER the round in the chamber has been removed, in order for the gun to be disassembled. Being familiar with this aspect of Glock operation, Goofy nonchalantly pressed the trigger with no particular comprehension of where the gun was pointed. This act was immediately followed by a loud bang as the chambered round (which had never been removed) discharged, penetrating the table and his left leg!

Straightaway realizing he had just shot himself, Goofy yelled for his wife to call 911. He thought it was a minor, through-and-through wound. No such luck! When he attempted to stand up, he promptly collapsed in a quivering heap. The chambered round was a high-performance hollowpoint (brand undisclosed), and it struck his femur dead on! It never exited.

After surgery and a lengthy stay at the hospital, Goofy now has a permeant, steel rod in his left leg, as well as an ugly scar. He will probably walk with a limp for the rest of his life, as the bullet annihilated four inches of his femur.

This is a man who is exceedingly intelligent. He has a lovely wife, family, expensive home, flourishing career, and an otherwise exceptionally successful life. ”

Lessons learned:

> It can’t be stated too often: Guns are just machines. They are incapable of forgiveness, flexibility, or benevolence. They don’t “care” about you or anyone else. They are utterly unimpressed with how brilliant you think you are.

> If you’re going to handle guns on a regular basis, you better have your gun-handling skills (primary competence) down pat, one of which is muzzle consciousness. If you don’t, it’s just a matter of time before circumstances will conspire to produce an accident similar to the one described above. No matter how wonderful we are, none of us are immune.