Monday, April 21, 2008

Shooting At An Unidentified Target...

...that you simply think must be your intended target can have devastating results. One of the cardinal rules of firearms safety is to be sure of your target and what is beyond, and there are few if any circumstances where one, let alone both parts of this rule (the sure of your target part and the sure of what is beyond part), should ever be broken. While shooting for sport, for fun, for food, to test a gun, and in almost all other instances of shooting, the shooter must steadfastly follow this rule to remain safe, and to keep others safe. It really is a basic rule of firearms safety. When you do not follow it the chances increase dramatically that something bad will happen, and that bad thing could well be someone being injured or killed.

One of the worst things that could happen, probably the worst, is that the shooter kills an innocent person. It gets even worse though when that person is a loved one; much worse still when that person is your own son. This is apparently just what happened in the case of a turkey hunter who was out hunting while his son accompanied him. You can see the available details here: http://www.startribune.com/local/17956264.html. The man who shot his own son already spent about 1/4 of his 39 years bringing up the boy. He probably will now spend the rest of his life lamenting the fact that he killed his son because of what seems should have been a truly avoidable accident on his part. Mind you, none of this, as I see it, was a mistake on the part of the boy who reportedly had been told to stay put where his father had left him and who then decided to move - after all boys will be boys. It was a mistake on the part of the dad who, in my opinion, exercised extremely bad judgement if the reports are correct. Please understand, I don't say that to condemn the dad. He is going to live with this forever, nothing I can say could make it worse for him and it is not my intent to try to do so. I say this to stress the point that firearms safety is the responsibility of the shooter; and if you are going shooting, or if you will handle firearms, you had best be aware of and exercise the rules of firearms safety. Yes you, because hopefully it is not already too late to get you to follow those rules to avoid a similar disaster.

The loss of the little boy, Hunter Klaseus, is a tragedy, one that no parent should ever have to endure; and that is why I write about it here. If you are a shooter - follow the rules of gun safety. No, not the abbreviated '4 Rules' (as they are called), but all of the rules of firearms safety. Follow them even more than you abide by other safety rules. Don't hedge on them a bit as you probably do with driving safety rules such as when you go just a few miles over the speed limit, or when you sort of stop at a stop sign, or when you just have one or two or maybe even that third drink before driving. Don't give an inch on firearms safety rules as you may sometimes do when it comes to being safe with electrical appliances such as when you use an electrical appliance near the sink or tub full of water (hairdryer, electric shaver) without a safety breaker outlet, or when you use a knife or fork to pull that stuck piece of toast out of the toaster without first unplugging it (heck you know it is off - right). Don't take a chance with a firearm as you do when you decide to run across the street before the light turns green in your favor, or when you fail to look both ways even though it is a one way street. Don't give an inch when it comes to firearms safety because chances are the resulting 'accident' will be tragic, and you as the shooter will have to live with the result.

Learn the rules of firearms safety, and live them when you are around firearms. Doing so may just save a life, and save you from a lifetime of tragic and devastating grief. There are plenty of places you can look to find firearms safety rules, my site being one of them: http://ballseyesboomers.blogspot.com/2007/06/ballseyes-firearms-tactics-training-1.html. In fact that was my very first post under my Firearms Training and Tactics series. To me safety is the number 1 concern when shooting. Another source for firearms safety rules is the National Rifle Association at http://www.nrahq.org/education/guide.asp. You can also go to firearms manufacturers to see their version of the rules, such as at Remington: http://www.remington.com/pdfs/safety/sftybklt.pdf or to a more generalized page at: http://www.remington.com/safety/safety_center/. Hunter safety courses, firearms safety courses, basic shooting courses, are all out there, and all teach about, or should teach about, firearms' safety rules. If you are going to shoot, be safe about it, or face the consequences as terrible as they may be.

My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and loved ones of Hunter Klaseus; and I dedicate this to his memory in the hope that you all learn from this sad and tragic mistake, and therefore that you keep it safe when shooting.

Respectfully,
Glenn B
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