Famous last words, “Don’t worry; It’s not loaded…”

If I’ve heard that phrase once, I’ve heard it a thousand times. And out of those 1000 times, 999 of them involved an act of extreme negligence, stupidity, or both occurring immediate before or immediately after those words were uttered by someone committing the aforementioned act. Today was no different.

I was wrapping up my Krav Maga workout for the day when a classmate indicated her car wouldn’t start. A young, recent college graduate, she did what many young, recent college grads do, he called “Dad” for help…And to the rescue he came. I don’t hold that against her…I was that kid too about 15 years ago and I too would have called “Dad.”  Dads are great and fortunately, I’d already helped the young lady get her car started by the time “Dad” arrived.”

“Dad” was a nice enough guy and very gracious for the help we’d extended to his daughter.  Both of them are indeed very nice people. After he’d expressed his gratitude, we continued exchanging pleasantries and talked about his daughter’s misadventures with the offending car that has left her stranded in some bad parts of town on occasion. And this is where things get “interesting.”

“Dad” attempts to illustrate the hilarity of being a worried dad in a bad part of town, trying to “fix” his daughter’s car while keeping his gun handy just in case.  “Dad,” in a series of goofy, unsolicited moves, struggles briefly to remove a small, .380 caliber handgun from his right front pocket with his right hand. It’s in some sort of “tactical pocket sock,” and he then shuffles it to his left hand before placing it under his left armpit.  All the while pointing the muzzle at a dear friend of mine standing a few feet forward and to my right, in front of my truck.

My friend is a pretty smart women with cat like reflexes who instantly removed herself from the direction of the muzzle before I said anything to her. Knowing the man meant no harm, it is still unsettling and I think he saw my demeanor instantly shift from jovial to borderline hostile (as it tends to do when people unnecessarily face me with a gun in their hand). With my friend now out of the way and my smile gone, “Dad” now sheepishly begins to put the gun back in his pocket and utters those familiar words, “Don’t worry; it’s not loaded…”

How many times do we have to say it? Always treat every gun as if it were loaded, period. No ifs, ands, or butts…All guns are assumed to be loaded even if Jesus Christ himself says otherwise.  And then there’s the fact it’s just plain rude and offensive gesture to unnecessarily face another man with a gun in your hand. To do so is typically viewed as a threat and legally interpreted as deadly conduct. Don’t be a rude criminal. Keep your gun in its holster. Don’t tell me “…it’s not loaded.”

As it happens, everyone I know who has ever been “accidentally” shot, was shot with a gun that someone thought was unloaded at the time. Don’t be a statistic or the next news story in which the media says, “…the gun discharged without warning.” You will win the lottery twice and be struck by lightning each time before a gun “just goes off.” Invariably, someone failed to treat the gun as if it were loaded, allowed their booger-hook to interact with the bang-switch, and the gun worked as advertised. Don’t be THAT guy!

-Gary