I just read of the tragic death of a 22 year old West Pointer from a accidentally self inflicted gunshot wound. While demonstrating his weapon to some friends he removed the magazine and then for whatever reason he pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger. Unfortunately a round had remained in the chamber and he was fatally wounded. As a youngster, I grew up with guns in the home. They were all long guns used for hunting deer, squirrel, rabbits etc. My father had a severe aversion to hand guns. He was always safety minded and ingrained in me forever the rule you never pointed your gun at yourself or any other human being at any time. This rule was rigidly enforced! Thus in the 60 years my dad hunted he never inflicted a wound on himself or anyone else. However, he did not escape the stupidity of a hunting companion. Fortunately the ammo was bird shot from a significant distance that hit him in the back of his hunting jacket with no penetration of the skin.
Ownership and use of a gun is a huge responsibility. In my opinion civilians have little need for a hand gun other than recreational target shooting. The decision to use a weapon for protection is huge and the margin for error is very small. The statistics show that the presence of a hand gun in the home sharply raises the probability of accidental death of the residents.
The young man that died was not as fortunate as I was to have a responsible father who ingrained safe behavior. I grieve for his death and for the deaths of all those that die from gunshot wounds. I am grateful for the life lessons of my father and mother that have protected me in many ways over my life time.
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