I’ve been waiting to comment on this one until all the facts came out. I was hoping for something less…stupid, foolish…preventable….

Galen Elijah Ruble told police he thought his muzzle-loading rifle was unloaded when he pointed it at his friend’s head and pulled the trigger, according to Boone police.

Outside of the criminal record, he gets to live with that visual in his head for the rest of his life. So do the others who were there. Personally, I’m not sure how that can be done.

Just for the record, Mr. Ruble managed to break all 4 of the Four Rules. Folks, we have these rules for a reason. They build on each other just to try and ensure that these sorts of things don’t happen. Let’s go over them again for those who missed that class:

  1. The gun is always loaded.
  2. Never point the muzzle at anything you’re not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
  4. Always be sure of your target and what is behind it.

Some people want to argue about these, unbelievable as that is to me. They want to lawyer about things like training (Use a blue gun.) and “How do you clean it if you can’t be in front of it?” (Render it unfireable.) I think that those people either lack common sense or just like to prove how smart they are. I think they’re also more like to get someone killed. In any case, here’s my commentary on the Four Rules.

  1. I don’t care if you just checked it, your friend just checked it and your sainted blue-haired granny just checked it. The damn thing is loaded! Treat it like that an no one gets hurt.
  2. Absolutely self-explanatory. Guns expel small bits of metal at high velocities. When that metal impacts anything, it causes damage. In the case of flesh, the damage can be fatal, and will surely be life-altering for all involved. Sure, guns are fun, but they are also dangerous. Treat them that way.
  3. If you’re a moron who has violated Rules 1 and 2, at least this gives you a chance to stop being a moron. Try thinking for a change.
  4. And in case Rule 3 doesn’t work for you, one final check–is this something you want to shoot? Is there something behind it that you don’t want to shoot? Bullets are meant to penetrate things, you know? Double check yourself.

It should take an act of will to ever point a gun at anything with the intention of pulling the trigger. You should have to override the red screaming alarms in your skull to do so if it’s something alive.

If Mr. Ruble had managed to follow any one of these rules, we wouldn’t be talking about this.

Do us all a favor–have a little talk with your friends about this, just to remind each other about what we already know and too many don’t practice.

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