There are two kinds of active gun owners: those that have had an accidental discharge (AD) and those that will admit they’ve had an AD. Note: Some prefer to refer to ADs as “negligent discharges, which is just fine. One second, you’re sitting there admiring a well designed and made device, and the next, your ears are ringing, you’re surrounded by a quickly dissipating cloud of gunsmoke, you feel more than hear yourself say “oh s**t,” and quickly look for where the bullet went. Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of ADs (many take place on the range) don’t damage anything more than furniture, walls and the shooter’s ego. That wasn’t the case in Seaside, CA, as local station KSBW.com reports:
A teacher who also serves as a reserve police officer accidentally fired a gun inside a Seaside High School classroom Tuesday, police said, and three students were injured.
I suspect that’s soon to read “former teacher and former reserve police officer.”
Dennis Alexander was teaching a course about gun safety for his Administration of Justice class when his gun went off at 11 a.m.
Alexander was pointing his gun at the ceiling when it fired. Pieces of the ceiling fell to the ground.
This is a blue gun. It looks just like, and is exactly the same dimension as a Glock 17, but it’s all plastic. It has no barrel, no chamber. It can’t fire. There are blue guns (and red guns–same difference) made to resemble all manner of real guns, rifles included. That’s what you use in this sort of demonstration. At least no one was injured…oh:
A news release from the Seaside Police Department said no one suffered ‘serious injuries.’ One 17-year-old boy suffered moderate injuries when fragments from the bullet ricocheted off the ceiling and lodged into his neck, the student’s father, Fermin Gonzales, told KSBW.
The teacher had just told the class that he wanted to make sure his gun wasn’t loaded, when the gun fired, according to Gonzales.
Bullets tend to do that sort of thing.
Everyone in the classroom was stunned, and the teacher, who is a reserve officer for the Sand City Police Department, apologized.
I’ll bet and I’ll bet. Alexander has been suspended from his teaching and police jobs.
This is certainly not a good time for this sort of thing to happen. Progressives will use Alexander as a gun control poster boy, and scream that if we allow teachers to carry guns in schools this sort of thing will be happening every day, and classrooms will run with blood.
Of course, that’s what they said would happen in every state as concealed carry spread across the nation. It didn’t happen in those states, and it won’t happen in classrooms. Alexander screwed up–one person in a single school–it’s that’s simple. He didn’t follow the few simple rules, which if followed, will absolutely prevent ADs:
1) All guns are loaded (until absolutely proved otherwise each and every time they’re handled).
2) Remove the magazine or all ammunition first, and always manually and visually inspect the chamber to ensure the gun is unloaded. Then do it again.
3) Always keep a gun pointed in a safe direction.
4) Keep the trigger finger out of the triggerguard and off the trigger until ready to shoot.
One might as they wish, add another rule or two, or slightly alter these, but if these three simple rules are followed, NDs won’t happen. Having taught police officers and a great many others, including in classroom settings, I’d include these rules:
1) Unless absolutely necessary, use blue guns for demonstrations and disarming practice.
2) When using real guns, remove and secure all magazines and ammunition from anyone handling the guns, and have at least two people manually and visually check every gun to ensure they are safe before handling them.
As expected, anti-liberty/gun cracktivists are using this incident, as The Washington Post (surprise!) notes:
The episode happened amid a national debate about arming teachers in the wake of the mass killing at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14. It has attracted wide attention as an example of how even a teacher trained in firearms safety can pose a hazard in school.
How does one counter the antigun argument using Alexander as an example? It’s potentially damaging, but ultimately, it relies, as virtually all such arguments do, on emotion. Nothing poses a greater hazard in schools than a madman attacking unarmed children and teachers. Argue, first and foremost, principle and fact.
Concealed carry everywhere but on school property has not resulted in the kinds of carnage anti-liberty types claimed would happen. A number of states and schools have allowed concealed carry for years, and no such carnage has happened there. Alexander’s mistake is newsworthy largely because it’s rare, and will remain rare.
There is no way to prevent all accidents. Human beings are inherently fallible. But far more people are injured in automobile accidents and from a variety of other causes, than in gun accidents. Consider this from Dr. John R. Lott:
The latest data we have are from 2013. In that year, 35,598 people died from motor vehicle deaths. 32,888 died from gun deaths.
To the uninitiated, that might not sound like much difference, until one understands the facts:
In 2013, 99.4% of car deaths were accidental in nature. Only 1.5% of gun deaths were accidental.
We know people will have vehicle accidents. We know tens of thousands will be injured and killed–every year, but that doesn’t cause us to ban motor vehicles. We don’t because of principle: their positive uses far outweigh the damage caused in accidents, yet the ownership and use of motor vehicle is not an unalienable, fundamental natural right, nor is it an express constitutional right.
The same principle applies in gun ownership and concealed carry. The primary principle must be that as many armed and willing staff as possible be present and available in every school so when an attack takes place, it may be stopped, then and there. To do less is to abandon deterrence, and to tacitly accept some number of injured and dead, and that number will be high, because only very rarely in American history have the police had any active role in stopping a school shooter.
We know people, like the unfortunate Dennis Alexander, will make mistakes. It’s preventable, but inevitable. But to allow the possibility that someone might be hurt by accident prevent concealed carry in schools, which is the only possible practical, affordable way to deter and stop premeditated mass homicide, is not only stupid, it’s immoral.