The following just appeared underneath a TTAG Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day post from May 2011. Providing these are the facts of the matter, I apologize for the assumptions and conclusions forwarded in the previous post.
“The internet is a great place for posting opinions based on supposition without facts. It appears you based your opinions on a news broadcast, statements from a sergeant that wasn’t there [and wasn’t from that department], and from statements made by the agency who runs the range about not knowing exactly what happened hours after it occurred. That is foolish on all fronts. Then, after reaching conclusions based on sources that provided no specifics, you malign a group of people that you also have no knowledge of, including the chief of police who had been with this department for a few weeks. You literally know nothing more than a bullet struck this officer somehow . . .
The MN BCA [state police] investigated the shooting and found that the bullet ricocheted off an unknown object behind the target line. Having shot at this range facility, it is not angled steel, it is an angled dirt berm covered by wood baffling overhead. Due to it being a range where 100′s of thousands of rounds have been shot over decades, it was impossible for the BCA to determine what the round hit to make it come back toward the firing line. The range had recently been ‘mined’ to remove old rounds/fragments. Perhaps that process left a boulder or a large enough rock just beneath the dirt surface that could not be seen and led to a ricochet.
Perhaps that had no bearing on the incident. I don’t know so I will not guess. What is known from the investigation is that a weapon was never ‘accidentally’ shot [it was intentionally shot at a range target], the bullet ricocheted off of something behind the target line, a gun was never pointed at the officer, and the officers were all the same distance from the target line. The range master has decades of firearms and military training as does the range officer. The range officer inspects the range and ‘dry runs’ the training hours before the training is conducted to find any apparent safety issues with the range.
I suppose you can say that they should have some how known that a bullet would strike an object that could not be seen, an object that was angled absolutely perfectly wrong, and struck at the perfectly wrong angle to cause a ricochet. If you can predict all those unpredictable variables, then you indeed know the truth about guns and everything else. 99.999% of the time I would agree with your comments and have seen some examples of those 99.999% occurrences. This is the .001% that is not negligent or reasonably preventable unless unearthing everything behind the target line before every shoot is reasonable.
There is a reason everyone on this news broadcast said they didn’t know exactly what happened. They are in the business of not making assumptions and conjectures that may later be proven wrong. Perhaps the author and whoever hired him should be fired for writing an article based on one known fact and the rest utterly on supposition? I don’t know anything about the author so I will not malign him. I will assume his goal is to foster gun safety which is a worthy pursuit. I also hope he would not have written it in the manner he did had he known the facts of the incident.”