How To Tell Someone It May Be Time To Quit


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beaucoup ammo
May 1, 2007, 10:59 AM
I checked the THR "library" but couldn't locate a thread on this. Perhaps a Mod could direct me there if such an animal exists. If not, I would greatly appreciate any information from those who have been involved in this situation.

I frequent 2 ranges. One in NE Bexar County (San Antonio) and one just outside Kerrville. The 1st is my primary as I live in the area. I was able to retire at 50.. and spend a lot of time shooting. I love it. There's a gentleman, not sure of his age, who I see most every trip and we have become friends over the last couple of years. He's got to be in his late 80's..perhaps early 90's. He's messing up. To answer the obvious, the range boss hasn't got a problem with "Joe" although I've brought up my concern in the past.

"Joe" is making safety mistakes. Little things and major: Not unloading and leaving the hand gun pointed toward the target while the range lady changes targets. Dropping a revolver on the concrete while cocked, leaving a round in the chamber when he's "positive" it's empty.. It goes on.

We have lunch at a nearby burger joint once in a while after a day at the range. When I follow in my Jeep, I've seen him do rolling stops through stop signs and come way too close to causing a major accident.

I need to have a serious talk regarding the real problem of his compromising the safety of others. This talk will happen..I'd just like anyone who might have addressed a simular event to share their approach.

Like me, "Joe" loves shooting..one of the few, if not only, things he can still enjoy. If you're young, and can't relate to losing control over your life, it's tough.

Any input would be truely appreciated.

Thanks!

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delta53
May 1, 2007, 11:10 AM
I'm not kidding steer clear when at the range and let nature take its course his driving will probaly get him before his range time. Why do you think so many old timers have such horific accidents in retirement area's because doctors don't have the heart to notifie the motor vehicle dept of someone's failing motor skills. If he starts calling you to drive him to the range then you will have to tell him why.:uhoh:

ZeSpectre
May 1, 2007, 11:34 AM
One of the things I most respected my grandfather for was his level of responsibility. I can still clearly remember the day he came home and told my grandmother that he no longer felt fit to drive a motor vehicle. My grandmother on the other hand, had to be convinced (after she hit the side of the garage for the third time).

It can be extremely difficult to allow someone to retain some dignity while at the same time curbing behavior that is no longer safe. You might want to seriously consider discussing this issue with a mental health professional or someone who works with the elderly as they might have better insight.

I will tell you this. If you feel someone is unsafe at the range and the range officer(s) aren't addressing it then you need to find another range, or at minimum pack up and leave when the unsafe person is present. If you can't convince them of the risks then you need to, at minimum, take care of yourself.

GEM
May 1, 2007, 11:38 AM
I hear you on that. On a range on 46 off 281, I saw a youngster of 50 have to almost wrestle away a rifle from Dad who was refusing to stop sitting there and pointing it down range during a cease fire and target replacement.

I think you might be able to contact DPS about the driving if you want to be proactive. About the rangemaster, if you stress liability - that might influence them.

Hate to do this but sometimes you have to.

fatelk
May 1, 2007, 11:40 AM
That's a hard thing to do. My grandfather had to give up his driver's liscense a couple years ago. It was a major blow to his independence. He still talks about his new hearing aids and how he's going to get his liscense back. We all nod our heads and go along with it, taking comfort in knowing that the DMV will never do it. He was getting quite dangerous on the road when he quit.

I had an elderly great uncle years ago (in his 90's) who voluntarily gave up his liscense after very nearly causing an accident that would have killed him and several family members. It was his decision and he was fine with it.

You have to be very careful when approaching this sort of thing. People need to be able to keep a little pride and dignity, especially when they are towards the end of life and have little else left. I have a cousin who treats my grandfather shamefully, absolutely no respect. What my 30 year old spoiled cousin doesn't realize is that by the time Gramps was his age, he had fought in a war, worked hard half his life, gotten married, and was raising three kids by working two jobs. My cousin blows all his money on toys and a string of girlfriends. Sorry, slightly off topic rant. I just hate when people don't give the elderly at least a little respect.

Back to "Joe" at the range- tough job. Sounds like he's getting dangerous behind a trigger and behind the wheel, and doesn't want to admit it to himself. Imagine how bad he would feel if he hurt or killed someone. In a case like this you need to carefully figure out a way to get him to see the danger, and the danger is very real. Perhaps he can continue to shoot with some help (close supervision). If I was that age, knew I was declining in muscle control and mental sharpness, I would really appreciate someone who helped me continue what I loved to do, watching to make sure I didn't hurt anyone.

As to his driving: if he is dangerous on the road, it is your duty to notify the DMV (anonymously, if possible) that he needs a driving test. I believe that's what happened with my Grandfather, probably saved his life and likely others.
My family and I are out on those roads too. Ignoring a dangerous driver is not the responsible thing to do.

MrDig
May 1, 2007, 12:06 PM
How about this, just a thought, Help him out... in subtle but good ways. You just relax and I'll do the work so you can shoot kind of ways. Kind of like "Capable Partners" program here in MN. Some of us buddy up with a disabled person and get them hunting and fishing. It's a cool program and the joy these people get is worth all the tea in china.

beaucoup ammo
May 1, 2007, 12:23 PM
"My family and I are out on those roads too. Ignoring a dangerous driver is not the responsible thing to do."

That really is the bottom line. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if "Joe" hurt (or worse) someone because I hadn't exhausted every avenue available to me regarding his slips at the range and on the road.

Thank you for the time and information. It's clear and obvious that I must be "proactive" as it seems I'm the only one giving this serious thought. Better to have him ticked off at me for a while than someone being seriously hurt.

In the long run I'm sure he'll see the wisdom in giving up certain things...and the experience should serve as a reminder to me when the time comes for my relinquishing some things that age can compromise.

There may be a movie I can rent that deals with this. He's been over to the house for my wife's cooking! I could pop in a film relative to age after we eat and bring things up in the context of what we have in common.

Thanks again!

**Mdig..just read your post..Great idea!

Lashlarue
May 1, 2007, 01:47 PM
The best thing to do is when he makes a mistake at the range , tell him and be firm about it, make a big deal out of it.Most states require driving tests after a certain age.I'm pushing 70 and qualified for my NHRA license at age 68, only ran a 10.60 but my reaction time was .017 on a pro tree. Been driving for 54 years with one at fault accident and that was the day my divorce become final in 84. I just sold my modified C5 Corvette, not because it was too much car , but because my arthritic knees made it too hard and painful to get in and out of.I would never turn anyone into the dmv unless you witnessed wreckless behavior on a daily basis.My step father was the worst driver I have ever seen but he managed to drive till his death, age 78 without any accidents, I think God was looking out for him.

joshk-k
May 1, 2007, 01:50 PM
You've said that shooting is one of the last fun things that he does, and that it really means a lot to him at this point in his life. SO DON'T TAKE IT AWAY FROM HIM!

What I would do is to have an honest, upfront, conversation with him at the burger joint lunch. Tell him your concerns, ask him if it's something he knows about himself, etc. Then say, "Joe. I want to help you keep shooting, but I can't ethically let you continue as you are now. Why don't you and I set up a regular range schedule and we can shoot together."

Then do it. Make it a regular date (he's probably able to go more often than you are, so you might even even go out of your way a little and be flexible with your schedule). At the range, be present with him in the same way that you would when teaching a new, maybe young, shooter. Maybe even take turns shooting, so that you're not busy doing your own thing when he messes up. Watch him closely, so that you can nip any potential danger in the bud, but also verbally remind him to police himself. When you're teaching a new shooter, you might say things like, "Have you checked to make sure it's unloaded?" or "Is your gun pointing in a safe direction?" That sort of friendly, non-aggressive questioning seems appropriate for this situation.

But it all begins with a compassionate, truthful conversation over a burger.

Hope this helps.
Josh

frostbiker
May 1, 2007, 02:01 PM
When I was in high school, my neighbor across the street shot a couple rounds of trap every day. He was up at 7am and at the range by 8. Most retirees played golf in our neighborhood, but he enjoyed trap. At one time, he was a highly competitive shooter and even won a few competitions.

Sadly, one day on his way home, he was broadsided and died immediately. His wife later told us he shot a perfect round that morning.

I don't know the exact cause, or who was at fault, but I know that he drove with a lead foot in his late 60's. He was one of those senior citizens who grew up driving Cadillac and was behind the wheel of the year's current land yacht at the time of the accident. He also drove like the world had no speed limits.

svtruth
May 1, 2007, 03:59 PM
do what Mdig and Joshk suggested.
Good luck.

tydephan
May 1, 2007, 04:30 PM
You've said that shooting is one of the last fun things that he does, and that it really means a lot to him at this point in his life. SO DON'T TAKE IT AWAY FROM HIM!

What I would do is to have an honest, upfront, conversation with him at the burger joint lunch. Tell him your concerns, ask him if it's something he knows about himself, etc. Then say, "Joe. I want to help you keep shooting, but I can't ethically let you continue as you are now. Why don't you and I set up a regular range schedule and we can shoot together."

Then do it. Make it a regular date (he's probably able to go more often than you are, so you might even even go out of your way a little and be flexible with your schedule). At the range, be present with him in the same way that you would when teaching a new, maybe young, shooter. Maybe even take turns shooting, so that you're not busy doing your own thing when he messes up. Watch him closely, so that you can nip any potential danger in the bud, but also verbally remind him to police himself. When you're teaching a new shooter, you might say things like, "Have you checked to make sure it's unloaded?" or "Is your gun pointing in a safe direction?" That sort of friendly, non-aggressive questioning seems appropriate for this situation.

But it all begins with a compassionate, truthful conversation over a burger.

Hope this helps.
Josh

I could not have worded this better.

In situations like this, there is a great way to approach the issue. Make sure you are in an environment where both parties are comfortable. Identify the problem. Discuss the issue. And offer a solution.

Josh's post does these exact things.

Not to go "Dr. Phil" on you, but just talk to the guy and let him know that you'll help however you can. Chances are he knows what's going on anyway.

I feel sorry for the guy. These folks are our greatest generation, and they are disappearing way too quickly.

Good luck. Keep us updated.

John

HuntCast
May 1, 2007, 05:08 PM
One word.........Video.
He won't accept it unless he sees it himself. Nothing more humbling than seeing yourself do something stupid.

thedpp
May 1, 2007, 05:21 PM
Yep or soon as he makes a mistake walk up to him and point it out.. like leaving a chambered round. After couple of days of doing that he will realize hes not fit to shoot on hes own.

beaucoup ammo
May 1, 2007, 05:34 PM
Josh, Et Al, you guys are the best. Very constructive, realistic and workable suggestions. I'm lucky to have your input available.

Yes, indeed, I'll keep you posted.

Thanks Very Much!

joshk-k
May 1, 2007, 08:25 PM
I'm glad that folks found my earlier advice to be helpful. Here's my one addition though:

Ethically, you can't let him continue like he is right now. As other pointed out, the risks to other people are getting more and more as he gets older, and don't outweigh his "right" to go shoot at the range. Know that ultimately, you have to be able to make that happen, one way or another. So the trick, which hopefully what I suggested above will accomplish, is to get those changes in his habits done without alienating him or burning your bridges. Know what I mean?

JOsh

Fred Fuller
May 2, 2007, 08:16 AM
Well said, joshk-k. Kudos to you.

It isn't always age that will do it to you. Several years ago I had some neurological problems that caused me to pass out occasionally with absolutely no warning. Standing, sitting, walking- didn't matter- bam and I was down. No auras, no funny smells, no precursors at all, just whammo and I was out like a light.

Local docs couldn't pin it down, neither could the docs at Duke or Chapel Hill. None of the usual anticonvulsants worked. Of course I quit driving. I also gave up surfing, and blue water fishing.

And I quit shooting.

It was hard, I had gotten certified as an NRA instructor and had just passed the very first class taught for concealed carry instructors in North Carolina. But I had to let it all go, I could not have lived with myself if I had an episode with a hot firearm in hand and caused a tragedy.

It was years before the seizures stopped, with no more rhyme or reason than they started. In the meantime I retired by necessity, cutting short my career, and still have some residual problems (headaches etc). But I have a drivers license again, and have been back on the firing line again also- with more gratitude than one might think at such a simple thing.

lpl/nc

Damien45
May 2, 2007, 08:41 AM
Every suggestion is a sound and solid one. I would only add that should "Joe" get upset at you, and tell you to bugger off, you should make a written complaint to the management of the range. Document your efforts if you are forced to go that route. It has been said that the dangers are real and the potential is growing for a tragedy. Should that happen, and you are present (wether or not you are shooting with him), things could get difficult for you as well.

My Grandma admits that she is not the driver she used to be. It's Ed (her 3rd Husband) that needs to admit it about himself. Not sure if her driving is worse, but at least her hearing is better.

Good luck with your difficult task. If handled with tact and care, he should appreciate your efforts to help him continue to shoot, safely.

beaucoup ammo
May 2, 2007, 08:41 AM
I'll bump this up one last time. "tydephan" mentioned Joe being a member of our "greatest generation." Very true. He is a decorated combat veteran of WW2 And the Korean War. The stories he tells are amazing.

I have a lot of respect for the man and will keep that at the forefront of my efforts.

Being able to retire early, there won't be a problem as far as my heading for the range when he goes. My goal is to make sure he doesn't shoot without me and, while it's a bit out of my way, I do the driving. He, as someone mentioned, is more than likely already aware of his mistakes and lack of attention to safety basics. I believe he'll actually be relieved to have someone he knows bring this up and..more importantly.. ensure his range trips will continue.

Damien45..right on regarding the range boss. I'm on record as having voiced concerns.

mmissile
May 2, 2007, 03:14 PM
Losing your independence is hard enough....but not having anything to do will kill him. Taking him shooting, will do both of you a service. I'm always facinated by the stories of old folks, and especially veterans. As a kid, old folks creep ya out.....but I had my grandmother spend her last years at our home. The lessons learned were immeasurable. I'm sure he smiles when he sees people who respect and care about him. just my 2cents

Geno
May 2, 2007, 03:33 PM
Every single range where I shoot has a set of laws, and a line of the ground. When the 15 minute break happens, the following rules must be followed by all:

1) All firearms down on benches

2) chambers empty & open (prefer bolt removed)

3) No one at benches while on target change break

4) Cross the line; warned once. Cross it again, you're out!

scrat
May 2, 2007, 09:11 PM
for sure id love to hear the outcome of this one

Run&Shoot
May 2, 2007, 11:29 PM
Just a little more to add to the excellent suggestions already made. If you work it out to shoot together, you could use those yellow plastic chamber flags to ensure absolutely that his firearm is totally safe when not in use, If you use them too then it is "let's be safe together, you double check that I am using a chamber flag, and I will do the same for you."

Dienekes
May 2, 2007, 11:48 PM
Lots of good stuff here. And, yes, it is all about respect, love, and independence. My Dad died two years ago at 94, and he had sense enough to cut back and stay within his limits. He made his own decision to quit driving before it became a real issue, and in so doing set a real example. I "helped" him a lot in the last few years and I got more out of it than I would ever have thought. And I got to do payback for all those years he gave me. Tough, but also incredibly rewarding.

Now and then I refer to those things with my kids. I have already told them that if I need to park the guns they have my permission to make the call and I will go along with it. They may see things that I don't, or at least don't want to see. No sense being stupid.

We're all getting older, even if we don't think so.

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