This week, Navy Seal Gene “Geno” Clayton, Jr. accidentally shot himself in the head while “showing off” for a girl he had met at a bar that night. He actually put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. To strange to be true? Unfortunately not. How could someone trained to be a soldier do this you ask? It’s hard to know exactly what happened without having been there, but there are a few things that stand out right away. Was Gene under the influence of alcohol at the time? Probably. Was his judgement altered because he was trying to impress the woman he met? Likely.
Let’s take a look at how he conformed to the 3 rules of gun safety:
- Never point a gun at a person – FAIL
- Always keep your finger off the trigger until the target is acquired – FAIL
- Always assume a gun is loaded – FAIL
We could add to the list of gun safety rules – including “Don’t handle guns if you’re buzzed”, “Don’t play with guns like you’re a kid”, “Don’t try and impress your friends with guns”, etc, etc. Sadly, you can’t use rules to compensate for bad judgement. You also can’t assume that since someone is well trained that they will have or use good judgement with firearms.
When I hear tragic stories like this one, I take the opportunity to perform some self-examination, and to remind myself of the responsibility that comes with owning and handling guns. We can all use reminders when it comes to big life responsibilities like gun ownership. The best reminder of all is to use your head.
You can read more about this story HERE.