I have been pretty lucky over the years to have had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people. I was saddened to learn the loss of a friend and student recently.
Not As Bright
I am constantly reminded how short and fragile our lives are on this tiny blue planet. You can do everything right and still be hit by a drunk driver, be the subject of a medical malpractice or die accidentally. It is hard to cope with the loose. There really are no simple ways to get through grief. There is only the realization the world is a little less bright without these people in our lives. After loosing a close friend of mine several years ago, I vowed I would make it a part of me to communicate my gratitude, my appreciation for those who have come into my life. To let them know they had an impact on my life. It is one of my prouder moments. I enjoy sitting down to pen and paper, sharing a few memories.
When it comes to gun handling there is the critical understanding of the lethality of guns. How they are simply a machine, willed to action by the human behind the trigger. I feel it is important to review why we have safety rules in place. While we can never eliminate the danger of a gun, it is our responsibility to manage it and will it to do our biding. Complacency is a killer, it is ninja like how it entangles in our lives. We take so many things for granted, often times going through the motions. I can remember watching a video prior to my first free-fall jump so many years ago. We watched in amazement these jumpers performing all manner of jumps. I can remember the rush of knowing shortly I would be doing that, doing all those cool moves. Then the awkward feeling something should have happened by now, realizing the ground is rushing up. Making out objects on the ground as it speeds into your view and then nothing.
We were told the video was from an experienced sky diver, someone with more jumps than most can ever hope to achieve. They had decided to skip the last jump of the day, but were talked back into filming the exit only. As the familiarity of the jump takes hold and the jumpers prepare to exit so too does our cameraman…without a parachute. Choosing to film the exit only, he had left his parachute on the ground. While we were briefed on the multitude of failures that day, the glaring point to me was how comfortable we can become with danger. Years later I would be dressed down by a mentor for not recognizing danger. Placing myself and a teammate in grave danger as a result. I have strived to improve my ability to recognize danger. For new shooters we express upon them the importance of understanding the gun does not care. It is an emotionless, thoughtless piece of engineering.
Respect and Humility
When you are handling firearms never presume to above reproach. Above error. That bullet does not care. Instead, approach firearms handling with respect and humility. Recognize and admit you are fallible and can make a mistake so put in place steps to help you minimize those chances. Realize the intention of the safety rules is to work together, in an overlapping nature. That should one rule be broken, the hope is the others will survive to safeguard your actions. Live by these rules everyday, whether you handle firearms daily or not. Make it a point to review the rules and hold yourself accountable to living them and set the example for other to follow.
In the end, that is the best we can hope for, that we set the example for others to follow. That we live each day knowing how fragile it is and how we must act to protect life.