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When Accidents Happen, Gun Safety Finally Remembered
Wednesday, November 19, 2008 • Posted November 19, 2008

This last weekend in Pontotoc, a young San Saba man was shot. At press time, he had undergone at least seven surgeries, and was still listed in critical condition in an Austin hospital.

Details are still coming out about how the shooting occurred. Most of those involved are minors, so we will not be reporting details until we truly have FACTS to report, not just rumor and repeated tales.

What is indisputable is that guns, when not treated with care and respect, and be deadly. Almost every hunting season, there is someone in Mason County that is injured when they fail to remember that all guns need to be treated as if they are loaded, and all loaded guns need to be treated as if they may fire accidentally.

Those of us who were raised here like to think that we are smart enough to know how to handle guns. Yet, I remember two people in high school who were both shot, by their own error, and both knew how to handle guns.

I know of adults in the county that have shot out windows, shot holes through pickup roofs, and even shot television sets, all with "unloaded guns" or "guns that had the safety on." Accidents happen and mistakes happen. And they happen to those of us who are so secure in our knowledge and comfort with guns that we start to get careless.

There's the inevitable bullet left in the chamber that fires when least expected. There's the rifle leaned against the fence while crossing that falls over. There's the gun that's safely put away, but not so safely that a child can't find it eventually.

We are a society and culture that has a high comfort level with guns. We've been around them all our lives, and we start to forget that they can do terrible things if we stop paying attention for even a moment. We have the same problem with automobiles, forgetting that a ton of metal and glass traveling at sixty miles and hour is a deadly weapon.

Till we know more details about what happened in Pontotoc, I urge parents to take this opportunity to talk to their children. It's a great time to remind them that guns should NEVER be pointed at someone, even in play. It's a great time to remind them that guns have a destructive side, and that we are the only ones that can contain that power. It's also a great time to discuss with them that guns are not toys, and that they should never be brought in when groups or when alcohol is being consumed, as both situations only increase the chance for something to go horribly wrong.

We, myself included, are a society that believes in private gun ownership. With that right comes grave responsibilities that we must be mindful of every day. When accidents happen, it only serves to fuel the fire of those who see only the destructive side of guns and don't understand why we defend them so vigorously.

Let's take responsibility and prove that we are intelligent enough to continue to own and use our guns.

It’s all just my opinion, but it’s what I wish would happen.

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