“A bullet fired accidentally from a colleague’s gun fatally struck in the chest a sergeant with 20 years in law enforcement, an emotional Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said Tuesday.” So reports The Fresno Bee. The deceased officer is 46-year-old Sgt. Rod Lucas. He was in a meeting with three other officers discussing, ironically enough, firearm safety.
The gun went off as Lucas and three colleagues gathered Monday afternoon in a room at the sheriff’s special investigations unit office near Fresno Yosemite International Airport. …Lucas and a colleague, described only as a detective, were discussing safety of backup weapons when the detective’s gun went off.
Regular readers will recognize the characteristically passive construction of that sentence. “The gun went off….” As anyone who knows anything about guns, let alone gun safety, can tell you, guns don’t just “go off.” They’re fired. By human beings. The un-named detective, in this case.
The incident still is being investigated. (Fresno County Sheriff Margaret) Mims said the detective whose gun went off has not been interviewed, nor had the sheriff spoken to him, “because of his mental state,” she said. “We’re giving him the time he needs,” said Mims, who declined to identify the detective by name. “We’re taking care of him.”
No doubt Sgt. Lucas’s wife and four children are getting the same kind of care. We certainly hope so.
The lesson: complacency kills. No matter how long you’ve been carrying or how familiar you are with firearms, adherence to the four rules works every time it’s tried. That’s something the overwhelming majority of gun owners do every single day, which is why there are so few of these kinds of accidents in a nation with more than 300 million guns and well over 100 million gun owners.
The un-named detective in this case had to have violated at least two of those rules (muzzle direction and finger on the trigger). And now he’ll have to live with the result for the rest of his life. Don’t be that guy.