Yessterday’s IGOTD highlighted the horrors that can happen when a well-armed human pack fails to incorporate gun safety into its culture; creating a system of gun handling that’s literally an accident waiting to happen. Unless someone speaks up, unless someone takes responsibility, it’s only a matter of time before bad shit goes down. This principle us no less valid on the micro-level. When someone hands you a gun and says “It’s unloaded,” those words are completely meaningless. If Jesus Christ materializes out of the ether, hands you a Glock 26 and tells you it’s ammo free, do not believe Him. Check. As George Bush said, “Trust but verify.” If an accidental discharge occurs after that point, it was your fault. Period. By the same token, when hunting with a friend or friends, paranoia is a prerequisite . . .
When I’m out shooting [relatively] defenseless animals, I consider my weapon a danger to my life. Unless I’m standing stock still, waiting, I don’t keep a round in the chamber. You know that buck that suddenly appears, where you have seconds to drill baby drill? Gone. There’s no safety in the world that I trust enough that I’m willing to walk with a loaded gun. And until I get on scene, and the second the fun is over, my gun is FULLY unloaded. And checked. Repeatedly.
The next mortal threat: my hunter partner(s)’ gun. I am aware of their muzzle(s) as I am of my own. It’s one reason I detest hunting with more than one best bud. I find it extremely difficult to concentrate on killing when I’m so worried about getting killed. I have to SEE where my cohorts are, and what their gun is doing. If I get shot, it’s one of those Nixonian deals: I take all of the responsibility but none of the blame. Talk about your cold comfort . . .
All of which brings us to Mr. Sargent, via the stargazette:
Charles D. Sargent, 54, was struck by shotgun pellets in the left side of his head, neck, shoulder, chest and abdomen, according to the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office.
Sargent was hit by a shotgun blast fired by Anthony Gabriele, 53, of Youngstown, N.Y., deputies said.
I realize I’m being a little harsh in the assigning of blame department, but see: above. And consider this:
The two men had entered the area together and set up a decoy to attract male turkeys, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.
The two hunters, both dressed in full camouflage, split up to observe the area. After an hour or so, they worked back closer to each other than either realized, deputies said.
Gabrielle was using a mouth call and a slate call when he saw what he thought was a tom turkey about 70 feet away and fired, according to the sheriff’s office.
Once Gabrielle realized he had shot his partner, he used his cell phone to dial 911.
Bottom line: a responsible gun owner trusts no one. Not even themself.