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View Diary: Security guard's gun accidentally shoots student (186 comments)

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  •  You are laboring under a misconception. (26+ / 0-)

    See, here's the thing. Lots of people insist that gunfails like this are atypical, unusual, the result of incompetence or malfeasance and something that would never ever happen to them personally.

    But that is simply false. The sad truth of the matter is that human beings fuck up. All the time. Every day. All of us. No matter how well trained, no matter how careful, no matter how experienced we are, all of us eventually has a bad day and screws something up. David Petreaus was nearly killed in a friendly fire accident involving trained troops. Mistakes happen, to all of us.

    Now, most of the time the result is no big deal. Forget to transfer money, bounce a check, have to pay a fee. Take a turn too fast, roll the car, watch your insurance rates go up and take a bus to work for a few months. Life goes on. But the thing about guns is, any mistake or blunder can have instantly lethal consequences for anyone within effective range. And, if you're going to assert that you personally would never pull such a bone-headed maneuver, see the above paragraph. We all of us fuck up from time to time. Most of our blunders don't have tragic consequences.

    But with guns, there are no second chances.

    •  Yes mistakes happen to all of us (9+ / 0-)

      no matter how well trained. But training does help too. I think training should be required for gun owners just like drivers ed.

    •  Should reconsider your line about the car (4+ / 0-)

      Reading the Chicago papers, almost every day there is a fatality on the roads.  Just yesterday a man was killed when he slowed down on the Kenedy and was rear-ended by a semi.

      Any and all mistakes while driving can have immediate lethal consequences.

    •  As a person who has handled a wide (13+ / 0-)

      range of firearms, up to M-16's and M-60s, I can tell you one thing:

      It is impossible to discharge a firearm while cleaning it, since in order for there to be a round in the chamber to discharge, you had to act in a negligent manner.

      When I would clean a weapon, even weapons I knew were kept in the armory, were missing their firing pin, I still had it beat into my head that when picking it up, I kept my finger away from the trigger, ascertained that the safety was on, then checked for a round in the chamber.

      In military school, the armorers would sometimes put a spent casing into the chamber, which should never make it out the door of the armory, since the first thing you were supposed to do is check that the firing chamber was clear. God help the cadet that found himself presenting his rifle for inspection at drill, only to have a shell casing pop out of the rifle when the commandant or some other ass-chewer pulled the bolt back.

      To this day, on the occasions I have had to handle a firearm, I keep my fingers away from the trigger, check the safety, remove the clip, then lock the slide open.

      This is NOT complicated.

      •  It is the way I was taught by my father, (3+ / 0-)

        many years before going into the military.  It's basic.  Unfortunately, many, many humans today (I don't think it's just Americans) have no concept of the basics of ANYTHING, let alone handling dangerous weapons.  How did we get here?

        "We refuse to fight in a war started by men who refused to fight in a war." -freewayblogger

        by Bisbonian on Tue May 14, 2013 at 01:03:42 PM PDT

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        •  Look at the science of error prevention. (8+ / 0-)

          In my own field of medicine, we are finally coming around to recognize that no safety system that depends on 100% perfect performance from human beings to avoid calamities has a prayer in hell of working.

          When I went to medical school 30 years ago, it was customary tradition to browbeat, abuse and generally humiliate medical students, to torment them with guilt at any minor error, and to assume that the combination of terror, guilt and shame would assure perfect performance and perfect patient safety going forward.

          I think we all know how that worked out. Medical students are an unusually capable group of people: highly intelligent, very hard working, very competitive, absolutely dedicated to avoiding mistakes, very highly educated, intensively trained. Yet, even with this carefully selected group of highly motivated people, catastrophic mistakes happen, with depressing frequency.

          We now know that any system depending on 100% perfect human performance, even from carefully selected and trained individuals, is absolutely certain to fail. Only by putting into place multiple overlapping systems of best practices, optimal workflow, redundant checks and rechecks, are we able to reduce dangerous error to a very low level. Never, mind you, to zero. Where human beings are involved, that's not possible. Just to a very low level.

          When you're taking millions of minimally trained to untrained gun owners, the resulting carnage should be no surprise. And even highly trained and experienced gun owners will screw up with depressing frequency.

          It's just who we are as human beings, and one of many reasons why I personally think our lax approach to firearms possession is grotesque and immoral.

        •  Also, they have no clue how deadly these things (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:


          They are not toys, they WILL kill/main you, or someone else if mishandled.

          •  Exactly. Have you seen the rules for Battlebots, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Robot Wars, and similar shows?  They are quite extensive including requiring emergency killswitches accessible regardless of the robot's position without coming near any of the weapons, the robots must automatically deactivate and go idle if they lose a signal, no untethered projectiles of any kind (duh), and no electric shock weapons (because they could interfere with the robot's automatic failsafes).

            You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

            by Throw The Bums Out on Tue May 14, 2013 at 06:16:24 PM PDT

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      •  Not saying it's complicated but you're still wrong (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Smoh, plan9pub, WakeUpNeo

        You're unintentionally proving my point.

        "It is impossible to discharge a firearm while cleaning it, since in order for there to be a round in the chamber to discharge, you had to act in a negligent manner".

        Well, yes. That's precisely my point.

        People are killed by firearms every single week in this country in the process of cleaning them. Impossible? Absolutely not, it happens every week. Was negligence involved? Undoubtedly. But see my post above. You're claiming that it would be impossible for you personally to discharge a firearm while cleaning it, because you would never make such a mistake. You are wrong. We all of us, every mother's son and daughter, behaves negligently at some point. With 300 million guns floating around, the odds that someone will do something negligent on any given Sunday approaches certainty. Given the certainty that you, and I, and every other human on the planet have screwed up at some point, your assertion of total safety is provably false. Anyone who pounds the table and insists they have never, ever done anything negligently can be safely dismissed as either delusional or dishonest.

        •  I should clarify my point (3+ / 0-)

          actually, I had this in mind when I was writing this, but interruptions derailed my train of thought.

          The gun went off while I was cleaning it is a  "The Dog Ate My Homework" type of excuse.

          They were playing with the gun. They were doing something they had no business doing which had ZERO to do with cleaning the gun, since VERY FEW PEOPLE EVER BOTHER TO CLEAN THEM.

          Outside the military, the police, or serious gun "enthusiasts", there are about as many people who clean their guns as there are people who change their passwords every six months.

          So, having mishandled the firearm joking around, playing quick draw, seeing how cool they look in the mirror, or when taking a "selfie" and having shot themselves or someone else, they can't tell the police they were simply screwing around.

          "I was cleaning my gun and didn't realize it was loaded." sounds a whole lot better than "I was spinning a loaded gun on my finger like they do in Westerns, and it went off."

      •  Yes, but it's unconstitutional to require that. (3+ / 0-)

        The 2nd amendment says nothing about gun safety, so freedom.

        Private health insurance: a protection racket without the protection.

        by rustypatina on Tue May 14, 2013 at 02:36:54 PM PDT

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