04 February 2009

Safety Is A Risky Business...
If there is one job that will never go out of vogue, it's that of someone that is protecting us in some manner. And any job that is connected with public or personal safety must be included in that mix.
Doesn't matter if you're a LEO, a firefighter, an alarm system installer, an auto mechanic, airline pilot, or even a school crossing guard.
Protection is big business, and I mean that in the BEST possible way.
Many will benefit from the actions of ONE person, or even a few.
Every ONE of us is, to some degree, a "safety coordinator".
Think about it.
Mom takes the kids to the bus stop, making SURE they had breakfast, are dressed properly, have either a lunch packed or lunch money, and also have the required implements to make it through the school day, such as notebooks, pens, pencils, etc.
(OK, so I'm NOT talking about "my" neighborhood in particular...but you get the gist of this)
We might not all wear a badge, carry a picture ID (aside from the driver's license), or even have a position of authority, but we ALL possess something that the dictum of safety cannot do without, and that is (or at least should be) common sense.
At least, I'd like to think MOST people have a smattering of it somewhere.
(again, I'm not referring to "my" neighborhood, just so we're clear on this)
But there comes that time when someone will, for no apparent reason, toss safety, caution, and common sense to the wind.
It could be a brain fart, and it could wind up being fatal.
Life's funny like that.
And there ARE times and situations where you never, EVER screw around...
Combat is one of them. It can get you KILLED.
Driving is another...it can ALSO get you killed.
And my personal favorite...GUN SAFETY.
((CAUTION: EDUCATIONAL ALERT))
Now all of you know I love firearms.
Doesn't matter how small OR large it is. There is something satisfying in hearing that snappy report from a pistol or rifle muzzle, or the staccato sound from something a bit more "full-auto".
But GUNS (like some people) are EXTREMELY COMPLIANT, in that they DO WHAT THEY ARE TOLD (like a well behaved child), and do it without thinking twice. They are like an old hound dog...they're STUPIDLY LOYAL.
When they are treated well, they WILL serve their master until hell freezes over.
When they are "abused", they WILL bite you.
--Take the case of a 51 year-old Fort Wayne man (Gary A. Vanderbilt) who shot himself while cleaning his shotgun.
Sadly, he died from his wounds later at hospital.
The story was merely a police brief in the paper, but it begs the question WHY?
WHY did this have to occur?
Gary called 911 Monday evening around 2140 hours, saying he accidentally shot himself in the leg.
Police did not know how he shot himself.
The coroner ruled this an accidental shooting.
Well, accidents DO happen, right?
(That's why we have the largest concentration of "people" on the S/E part of the city...oh, sorry...did I say that?)
But accidents CAN BE AVOIDED as well...
I'm one of those people that whenever I acquire a weapon, I first have to find out ALL the safety features, as well as how to take the thing apart. If you know HOW it works and WHY, it makes life a lot easier to take when "something wicked your way comes", agreed?
Now I've also had gun safety drilled into me until I can recite this crap in my frigging sleep...
1) NEVER CLEAN A LOADED WEAPON.
2) TREAT EVERY WEAPON AS IF IT'S LOADED.
3) NEVER POINT A WEAPON AT ANYTHING YOU DON'T INTEND TO SHOOT.
Now how much EASIER can one make this?
Here's the link to the NRA guide:
http://www.nrahq.org/education/guide.asp
(Learn it, Live it, Love it)
Gary apparently nicked his Femoral artery, and that alone will cause a bleed-out within several minutes, without a tourniquet to stem the flow.
But depending on the load in the shotgun, and at POINT-BLANK RANGE, he more than likely tore the $hit out of his leg, if not nearly severed it.
Guns are stupidly loyal, but AMMO is dumber than a bag of rocks.
Bullets or shot will go in the direction they left the muzzle, unless acted upon by another force. That's plain old physics, people, and applies to geniuses as well as dummies. And once that bugger leaves the muzzle, it ain't comin' back, no matter what you do. It's a one-way trip...outgoing!
There is absolutely NO reason to assume that a weapon is NOT loaded. No reason at all.
And it's WAY too simple to make absolutely certain that the weapon you are cleaning has NO rounds in it.
If it's a wheel gun (revolver), simply flip open the cylinder, hit the extractor, and eject ALL the shells. The weapon is now EMPTY.
Then you can clean it without getting shot.
It's a little more involved with an autoloader pistol.
First, you drop the magazine.
Next, you rack the slide to extract the live round in the barrel.
The slide can then be locked back and you can look around to confirm the weapon is cleared and ready for cleaning or dis assembly.
Shotguns are just as easy.
If it's a single shot, you break it open and extract the load.
Ditto for double-barreled.
When it comes to semi-auto or pumps, you have to extract the load from the barrel, and that means you rack it, but you also have to make sure the trigger safety is ON, and your fingers are AWAY from the trigger (just in case).
You can also take the choke tube cover off , remove the spring and the loads, but you still have to rack the action to remove the "one in the chamber". Then the weapon is cleared.
Failure to do any ONE of these steps can result in injury, or in the case of Mr. Vanderbilt, a fatality.
I would add that if a weapon has been "modified" in any (aftermarket or illegal) way, that could very well compromise the safety features OF the weapon, placing you or others at extreme risk.
If the weapon has internal damage that disallows the safety features to malfunction, that can also lead to disaster.
You can NEVER be "too safe" when it comes to firearms.
It may seem a bit OCD, but at least you won't be KIA.
Hell, the only reason you DON'T usually hear about gangstas shooting themselves more often, if that they must NEVER clean their weapons. That would require having to READ the manual, and THAT requires knowing HOW TO READ in the first place.
Accidents like Gary's only seem to happen to people that are NOT felonious in nature.
And statistically, that's sad.
I'd much rather see the perps shooting themselves (save the cites and states a TON of money in this economy) instead of innocent people.
In the final analysis, it comes down to whether YOU want to carry the burden and responsibility of being a "safety coordinator" in YOUR home, and in YOUR life.
You can practice safety in as many aspects of your life as is possible, whether it's firearms, driving, or crossing a street.
Or you can leave it up to "the other guy (or gal)", but don't whine when it all goes bad.
Only you can make that choice...
And the decision YOU make WILL affect others, make no mistake about that.
Stay warm and safe out there!

4 comments:

Daniel Short said...

Great points all, Bob. Also, if you are an avid firearm person, teach your kids safety, safety, safety from the very beginning...before they even touch a gun. A child brought up practicing safety shall not depart from it when he/she is older. I think that is Old Testament.

Bob G. said...

Daniel:
Don't have any children (yet), but I always make sure to NEVER let our CATS near the weapons...!
(they already know how to use the credit cards & the touch-tone phone)

Dad taught me weapon safety when we all used to play with CAP GUNS...(remember those days?) and he never owned a gun!

Now I'm "teachin' the missus"...lol.

Biblically, you're spot on!

Proverbs 22:6 says -
"Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it."

Still works for me.

Thank you for your comment.

B.G.

ida said...

this is true about raising a kid. but, i do have an interesting tale to tell you. it was 1987 and i was living in lawton ok in a VERY nice apartment. well the ex and i fought like cats and dogs all the time. and i cant say i was completly innocent. so he was cleaning the gun one night and was aiming it toward the outside wall in the bathroom. well. he thought it was unloaded and it was litterally pointed down range toward fort sill. that bad boy went off and we put a hole threw a brick wall in the bathroom. of course we turned off all the lights. NO ONE called the cops. i guess they thought finally we killed ourselves. no one ever spoke of it eithor. except one day when i repaired the wall and he said man that sure ripped a big hole in there and noone said anything. we laughed hard about it. what else could we do.

Bob G. said...

Ida:
That's SCARY when NO ONE ELSE bothers to find out what happened.

A sign of our times, unfortunately.

Glad no one was hurt, though!

Always remember:
If you "think" a weapon is NOT loaded...it probably IS anyway, so check it AGAIN.

This is where a little bit of OCD goes a LONG way.

Thanks for the tale.
Be safe.

B.G.