The Illusion Of Safety!
First off lets make one thing clear. Safety is a PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY! No one else can make you safe. Only YOU can do so. I can summarize every “rule” for safety in one simple word. Respect. If you do NOT respect the potential of the object in which you are interacting with, then you will most likely become a victim to the worst it is capable of.
For the purposes of this discussion, lets focus on the safety surrounding firearms.
Every firearms “enthusiast” should be aware that there are a universally accepted set of rules for firearms safety. Now, to make our first point, there are TWO general sets and which set you follow is dependent on your individual way of thinking. So, already, we have a segregation is a specific set of “rules” that should apply.
A flaw in the concept of safety? No just a difference in opinion on how to portray the mindset to develop when thinking about safety in regards to a firearm.
First you have the Cooper set of rules;
1. All guns are always loaded!
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy!
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target!
4. Always be sure of your target!
Then there are the National Rifle Association set of rules;
1. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
3. Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.
So lets analyze these from a literal point of view.
1. All Guns are always loaded! = If we are to take this literally, it would mean that no gun is ever safe to handle. And should only sit stationary pointed at an object that it is specifically intended to destroy. No cleaning, no moving, no touching, no manipulation of any sort.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy! or 1. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. = If we are to take this literally, it would be impossible to accomplish. Essentially, any direction that you point the muzzle/barrel automatically becomes unsafe, and therefore there is no safe direction. This is a serious problem as the gun will ALWAYS be pointing SOME direction ALL the time.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target! Or 2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. = If we are to take this literally, then many firearms would become impossible to clean or maintain. Many firearms require that the trigger be manipulated in some manner before, during, or after the disassembling process.
4. Be sure of your target! = If we are to take this literally, then a firearm becomes essentially useless in a self defense scenario. When in a conflict situation one can never truly be SURE of the target.
5. Always keep the gun unloaded until ready to use. = If we are to take this literally, then hope that any attacker will give you a “time out” so that you can “load” your firearm for use.
Now I’m not saying that these “rules” should be ignored. Quite the contrary, I myself accept the “Cooper” set as the definitive source.
However, I also recognize that these “rules” are intended to elicit an understanding of safety, while they should never be taken for granted, they can not always be taken verbatim.
The undisclosed truth behind these “rules” is that every individual must utilize a certain level of intelligence, education, and common sense in their execution. And as I said before, in the end, it comes down to the basic principle of respecting the potential of the object in which you are interacting with.
Only when you learn to respect the object can you begin to develop a certain level of confidence and trust. For example. I have to “trust” that my firearm will discharge when the trigger is pulled. Likewise, I have to “trust” that the firearm will NOT discharge UNLESS the trigger is pulled. And only then can I be “confident” in my ability to handle the firearm “safely”.
As an example during a “safety check” of a firearm, ones fingers may indeed extend in front of the muzzle of the pistol. A safety hazard? Certainly. Under the correct set of circumstances it very well could cause injury. But then again so could crossing the street, riding a bicycle, or operating a drill.
Similarly one must continuously point a pistol in various directions. Most directions usually not containing anything that one would have the intention of destroying. One might point the barrel toward the workbench while cleaning. Does that mean there is an intent to destroy it? Not at all, but then again, any direction you point a firearm is instantly a “dangerous” direction, so what choice do you really have?
The next question to ponder is what is safe How safe is safe “enough”. How far do you take it before it is better to just not do it at all.
The bottom line is safety should always be a concern, but realize, Only YOU know what YOU consider safe, and ONLY YOU CAN make yourself safe. No one else can tell you how, and no one else can do it for you.