Millions of kids daily suffer the life’s-so-unfair injustice of a parental my-house-my-rules verdict. And it’s usually fair – when Johnny and Susie can hold down a job, pay rent, utilities, insurance, feed themselves, etc. then they can choose their own rules. Of course, it’s a lot more difficult to stomach mom and dad’s rules when they use the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do approach. We all know that cussing, sleeps ’til noon, lush mommy’s going to have a little trouble gaining positive traction with the kids on a variety of issues . . .
Now, my idea of successful parenting – hey, I managed to keep ’em alive another day – differs a wee bit from my wife’s. I’m no Dr. Phil. But when it comes to teaching others about firearms, I do know that there’s no room for do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do. The rules are the rules are the rules. Finito!
Which is why, while scanning my daily news intake, I stopped short on the photo above, which is captioned:
XXX … listens to instructor YYY talk about the proper way to ensure a gun is unloaded during a class … **
Okay, maybe I’m wrong, but I tried and tried and just can’t seem to replicate the wrist angles shown with a training gun without muzzling myself or nearly so, and I’m flexible. Without hyperextending one’s elbow the left wrist just has to bend back more to get the muzzle to point across well in front of one’s body instead of at it.
Correspondence with the unnamed instructor yielded this response:
The angle in the picture is somewhat deceiving, I was bladed (sideways) when I showed XXX that, During that Class, and (always) I never point a firearm at anyone, ( especially myself!!!)
I suspected this would be the response. And I’m not going to send the photo off to a biomechanics expert to deconstruct and refute the claim. As I said, maybe I’m wrong. But even if the instructor wasn’t violating Cooper’s Rule #2 (Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy), is holding the gun backward by its barrel really a safe thing to be doing, let alone demonstrate to students? You are just a handful degrees away from an unintentional Rule #2 violation. IMO, it’s a very questionable practice.
Sure, I understand that when you’re in front of a group of people trying to demonstrate a technique, you want to face them so they can hear you. You don’t want to pointing the gun at them, duh. But that’s an inconvenience, not an excuse for pointing the gun at yourself or holding a gun in a way that makes it very likely you’ll unintentionally point it at yourself.
If you’re teaching others about guns, whether it’s an informal one-on-one session or a formal class room environment, you need to figure out how to manage your real estate so that you, the instructor, ALWAYS follow the rules, just as you’d expect of the students. And instead of doing things that may technically be safe but which are prone to accidents, figure out a better way.
When you say, don’t do X and later proceed to do X, it has a profound impact on students, whether or not they connect the dots at the time. They see you doing something wrong but conclude there must be some acceptable reason for it, even if they can’t think of the reason. After all, you’re supposed to know what you’re doing.
The results? While a few will wisely stick to the rules regardless, some will simply be too casual with the rules and be blind to the violations. Worse, others will start rationalizing obviously bad practices by saying, “but I saw the instructor do it.”
At the very least, you won’t have a photo of you doing something questionable turn up online to your embarrassment. More importantly, you can rest well at night knowing you’ve not led your students astray.