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An Actor and a Negligent Discharge

I noticed that an actor named Alec Baldwin, working on a western movie, shot and killed a photographer and wounded the guy behind her.  I got to thinking – in all his westerns, John Wayne never shot the cameraman.  Clint Eastwood never shot a cameraman in all of his celluloid gunfights.  Then again, neither ever came out for gun control.  Baldwin did.

I see a lot of blame set on the props manager.  Still, the lady would still be alive if Baldwin had followed Jeff Cooper’s four rules:

RULE 1

ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED

The only exception to this occurs when one has a weapon in his hands and he has personally unloaded it for checking. As soon as he puts it down, Rule 1 applies again.

RULE 2

NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO DESTROY

You may not wish to destroy it, but you must be clear in your mind that you are quite ready to if you let that muzzle cover the target. To allow a firearm to point at another human being is a deadly threat, and should always be treated as such.

RULE 3

KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER TIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET

This we call the Golden Rule because its violation is responsible for about 80 percent of the firearms disasters we read about.

RULE 4

BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET

You never shoot at anything until you have positively identified it. You never fire at a shadow, or a sound, or a suspected presence. You shoot only when you know absolutely what you are shooting at and what is beyond it.

Baldwin has been politically anti gun for years.  Perhaps he recognized his own potential for carelessness.  I do know that accidental discharges occur – I had one with a German semi auto pistol when the firing pin broke.  It was pointed away from everyone – basically scary, unexpected, but the gun wasn’t pointed at anyone.  I can’t help feeling that “accidental shootings” occur when several rules are violated.  None of Colonel Cooper’s rules specifically say “A broken firing pin in a semi auto can fire without your finger on the trigger.”  I never got to rules 3 and 4 that day – but following rule 2 was enough for safety.

It seems to me that learning the gun safety rules, and following them, is more responsible than supporting gun bans. 

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