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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Gun Safety One, Two, Three

Gun Safety One, Two, Three

In the light of current events this may be a good time to review gun safety procedures. The current event in question, for those of you out of the loop, for those of you too busy to bother reading a paper, for people too caught up in the most recent American Idol competition to have even the faintest hint of what is happening beyond the realm of mediocre singing talent, for folks who may not remember back to the beginning of this tortuously long sentence, I am referring to Vice President Dick Cheney popping a cap in his hunting partner’s face.

When carrying firearms you should always remember the life-saving adage “Safety First!” These are certainly words to live by but are not always practical when you are hunting. Think about it. How seriously should you take a phrase like “words to live by” when you are hunting, which by definition means that you are out to kill shit? As sensible as the advice to put safety first may be, this can be hard to do when you have a shotgun in one hand and a bottle of Jack Daniels in the other. If you are also trying to smoke a joint you can pretty much forget about any of this “safety first” nonsense. Are you a recreational hunter or a juggler? Most hunters would agree that a mishap with a shotgun is preferable to dropping a half-full bottle of decent whiskey.

So if you throw booze or drugs into the firearms mix about as good as you can hope to do is to put safety second. “Safety Second” isn’t nearly as catchy as “Safety First” but it’s probably good enough for government work. Let’s face it; America has lost a lot of status in recent years. These days you almost never hear crowds of unruly Americans shouting jingoistic chants of “We’re number one,” so perhaps “Safety Second” is more appropriate for our place in the new world order. Besides, if you are drunk, or stoned, or both, chances are that you won’t hit anything if you discharge a firearm accidentally. It’s hard enough to hit anything while you are sober—not that hunters are ever sober.

There is no way in hell that gun safety should ever fall below third in your personal queue of priorities. Even in this era of diminished American standards, I don’t think that it is unreasonable to keep safety third. But then again, if you are as rich and powerful as the vice president, you can file safety as far down the list as you want. In no way am I implying that Cheney was trying to relight a joint when he shot his buddy, or that he was juggling a shotgun in one hand and a fifth of moderately-priced Kentucky bourbon in the other—he probably has a secret service agent to carry his booze and light his blunt for him.

After reading what I have written thus far I feel like I am trying to come across as some sort of gun safety Nazi. I don’t want to take all of the fun out of shooting by running around screaming, “Be careful, man.” Part of the fun with firearms is shooting anything that doesn’t move, and then shooting anything that does move until it stops moving. If you shoot something enough times it actually will disappear. Cheney only shot his pal once, so only a small part of his face disappeared. Shooting stuff is fun. Why do you think that “blast” is synonymous with “fun?”

I defy anyone to point out anything fun in safety.

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