“A wedding photographer in Sicily was accidentally killed when he asked the prospective bride and groom to pose for a picture using hunting rifles as props – and one of them went off,” reports nydailynews.com. “The blast hit 45-year-old Calogero Scimea in the head, and he died while the wedding party looked on in horror.” And that’s about it from a news point of view, aside from the fact that armed and dangerous wedding photos are standard practice on the island of omerta. From a safety angle, the shotgun wedding gone awry tells us something important about preening with guns. Don’t do it. And avoid people who do. Especially when emotions are running high and alcohol is flowing freely. I speak from personal experience.
Back in the day, I went to a party in the middle of nowhere New Hampshire. I was the city slicker who’d charmed a local babe into providing an outsider something she’d withheld from the boys who’d watched her grow up. The vibe was, shall we say, antagonistic. Fueled in no small measure by no small measures of whiskey.
At some point, a high school football star brought out his Winchester rifle, and proceeded to shoot shit placed on a fence by all-too-willing toadies. Ear protection? We don’t need no stinkin’ ear protection. I SAID . . .
As I gently guided my college colleague to my fancy ferrin’ car, the guy with the gun put his hand on the shoulder of one of his friends. I have no idea what he was saying to his tight end. But the Winchester went off, right next to his friend’s head.
There was a long oh shit moment, when nobody moved. And then the two pals broke out into laughter. And started shooting things again. But not me. I was a long time gone.
This was before the invention of the portable video camera, cell phones, the Internet, indoor plumbing (at least in parts of that neighborhood) and YouTube. Click here for an example of how some members of the wired generation mug to a seen and unseen audience—even at the very start of their firearms career.
The simple truth is that firearms safety is everyone’s responsibility. But your FIRST responsibility is to your own safety and the safety of your loved ones. If firearms appear, sometimes the best thing to do is disappear. Or at least back away. Well away.