A few more thoughts about yesterday’s post.
Some schools of thought hate Rule One, and have thrown it out. As long as you’ve checked the gun, these folks say, you can use an unloaded gun for an in-class demonstration. You can pass it around inside a crowded classroom with the gun pointed willy-nilly as newcomers handle it, or you can allow students to point it at each other during role play, or you can handle it at the front of the room without worrying about whether the classroom walls would provide a safe backstop should the gun fire. It’s perfectly safe to do such things with a functional gun, these people believe, just as long as the person handling the gun unloads it first. Or as long as more than one person checks the gun to be sure it’s really unloaded.
Please watch the following video. I’m sure you’ve seen it before – everyone in the gun world has, by now – but watch it again. Pay special attention to the fact that the person at the front of the room checks the gun himself and has another person check it too. You can see that happen as he walks off screen, saying to an assistant, “Empty weapon, right? Empty weapon.” The person he’s talking to apparently agrees, and you see him re-enter the field of view. Then he proceeds to shoot himself in the foot in a most professional manner.
This man destroyed his career just to show us all that checking the gun is not enough to absolutely guarantee the gun is unloaded, nor are multiple checks enough to make humans infallible. Even when you’ve checked the gun yourself and had a friend check it too, you should still treat the gun with the same cautious respect you’d give it if you knew for sure it was loaded. Why? Because humans make mistakes.
That’s the point. The rules overlap and provide redundant levels of safety. These multiple, overlapping safety layers provide our best opportunity to stay safe. We do ourselves no favors when we casually throw away safety rules just because someone “checked” the gun.