first Safety lesson


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mobjacker
September 6, 2007, 10:24 PM
My wife was always afraid the kids would get hold of guns, so I never had any. When the youngest hit 18, we went out with a watermelon. I put the watermelon on the ground, walked off and went prone. 1 round, 30-06.

Then I went up and picked up two pieces of watermelon and gave each one a piece. They held it, dripping juice on their hands, wondering what I was doing. I said to them:

“You love your Mother very much. Now look at the watermelon- see the white rind and the mashed red meat? Remember that and think of holding your Mothers head , looking just like that.”

They got quiet, and one said- “that is not a pleasant thought.” To which I responded: “Your are right, it is not. But with a firearm you cannot say ‘I’m sorry’ and everything will be OK.”

“Firearms are great, and incredible fun- just remember if you make a mistake there is no going back. Be careful is an understatement”

To this day we blast away at all kinds of things, but when picking up a gun they always check it is unloaded and open, and have never pointed a gun anywhere unsafe.

60 seconds of prevention- a lifetime of safety

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eric.cartman
September 6, 2007, 10:48 PM
Drastic. Seriously. Not. Cool.

But sure sends the point across loudly :what:

Tommygunn
September 6, 2007, 11:32 PM
I recall in the 1980's miniseries "CHIEFS" Wayne Rogers played a newly appointed sheriff in a Georgia county and caught his young son fooling with his revolver. They had a watermelon patch in their back yard so he showed his son what the gun could do by shooting a watermelon.
That was a pretty effective lesson.
And that series seemed fairly "pro-gun" if it could be said to have any agenda.

eric.cartman
September 6, 2007, 11:44 PM
Real story...
My friend shot a bunny in front of his 12-yo daughter.
She cried.
...
She now understands what guns can do.

Bazooka Joe71
September 7, 2007, 12:15 AM
Well, instilling the 4 rules at a young age would have done the same thing, but whatever floats your boat.:)

MachIVshooter
September 7, 2007, 01:24 AM
Well, instilling the 4 rules at a young age would have done the same thing, but whatever floats your boat

Actually, I do think the shock factor is quite effective. With all the videogames and phony crap coming out of hollyweird these days, I don't think some kids realize just how horrible and permanent the damage of a real gunshot wound is. But you cannot ignore it when you witness it first hand with all of your senses. If I ever have kids, they will witness some varmint being blown apart first hand so that they can appreciate how devastating that trauma really is. (that, and to raise the next generation of varmint hunters)

GhostlyKarliion
September 7, 2007, 01:33 AM
I would have to say that what mobjacker did was a very effective method of instilling the premise of gun safety, as a wise man once said "people need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy"

hard to get much more dramatic than that.

ArfinGreebly
September 7, 2007, 02:55 AM
Our distinguished ambassador of firearms parenting, pax, has a cool web site (The Cornered Cat (http://www.corneredcat.com/)) for people of all flavors who need information and guidance on shooting, gun ownership, and that sort of thing.

On one of her pages (this one (http://www.corneredcat.com/Kids/momkids.aspx)) she says something rather similar to the OP:
Within a short time, all the veggies had been splatted and the water jugs were empty. I walked the boys downrange to look at the carnage. The pumpkins with gaping holes on their backsides caught my attention first, so I picked the first one up and showed it to them. “Boys,” I said very seriously, “I want you to look at this. We’ve had a lot of fun today, because shooting is fun. But every time you think about breaking one of the safety rules, I want you to remember what this pumpkin looks like. It’s fun and it’s funny at the range – but what do you think would happen if this was somebody’s head?”
Read the whole article to get proper context.

Safety works better for kids when the issue is really real to them.

Mainsail
September 7, 2007, 11:47 AM
That almost sounds like a comedy skit. “I love your mother very much so I just popped her head with a 30.06. Here, hold a chunk of her dripping skull!” Cut to kid biting into watermelon, “Mmmmm, mom tastes good!”

You don’t mention the age of the kids. I’m not going to criticize your method, but that’s not how I would have done it.

lucky_fool
September 7, 2007, 12:02 PM
You don’t mention the age of the kids.

He said this was when the youngest turned 18, so they were all (at least technically) adults. I personally think that's too old for a first lesson, but it isn't like he was traumatizing toddlers.

Mainsail
September 7, 2007, 12:04 PM
Woops, sorry. I missed that.

Mantua
September 7, 2007, 12:04 PM
By the time they hit 18, I don't think that saying "Don't screw around, 'cause the same thing that happened to this melon can happen to Mom" isn't going to scar them for life. I WISH Dad would have taken me out melon blastin' when i hit 18!

kungfuhippie
September 7, 2007, 12:07 PM
I learned about gun safety a few ways. Over years, before I'd ever touched a real gun. No watermelons were harmed in the learning process. My first lesson that really hit close to home was as a boyscout in the Calico Hills, we were having fun with airguns. Another scout (who is still an idiot a decade or more later) got angry at the scout master (forget why) took a air rifle and a handful of pellets, ran up a hill and proceeded to shoot into camp at people and things. He shot the scout master in the face, he bled but not much.
I learned a few lessons that day;
1. Don't trust an idiot with a firearm
2. A Ford Econoline van is cover from an air rifle
3. Even a bb gun/pellet rifle is dangerous

It was several years later that I owned or shot firearms. But I still remember that incident.
That was the last camp out with one friend. He was killed in a one vehicle car accident a few months later where the shooter was behind the wheel.
dumdum303 wasn't there, be he can vouch for this.

Wheeler44
September 7, 2007, 01:40 PM
Back in the '30's or early '40's when my Ma was growing up, she took a liking to Grampa's "dandy little pistol" a Colt huntsman or woodsman.
At the time she and my Aunty had been feeding a tame squirrel in their back yard.
Apparently one day Grampa came home and noticed that his "dandy little pistol" wasn't exactly how he left it.
You can guess the rest. When they were burying the little critter in the back yard, amidst all of the tears, Grampa asked the girls if they were sad. Of course they were. Then he said "imagine how sad we all would be if we had to bury one of you". Then he said " don't ever touch one of my guns without permission again".
As far as I know neither of them ever did.

kungfuhippie
September 7, 2007, 01:58 PM
wheeler44
That story is awesome.

cnorman18
September 7, 2007, 02:51 PM
I was practically born a shooter; my dad gave me my first real gun, a cut-down single-shot .22, when I was seven. I was raised to put the 4 Rules right up there with the 10 Commandments--along with a Rule 5, which is probably the most important one for little boys:

GUNS.

ARE.

NOT.

TOYS.

(That's how my dad said it.)

My friends would come over and see the glass-fronted gun cabinet. (It was kept locked, but I was trusted with the location of the key.) They'd say, "Hey, let's play with your dad's guns!"

I'd say, "No way, guys. We'll get killed."

"Naw, we won't either! We'll be careful!"

"Don't matter how careful we are. We'll get killed for sure."

"Why?"

"Because my DAD will kill us!"

I had a remarkable quality as a kid; when my dad talked, I listened. I learned that if I didn't, bad things happened. Like my butt would hurt.

I was a middle-school teacher for 26 years, and I know this: there's only one rule when it comes to making sure kids learn something.

"Whatever works."

AndyC
September 7, 2007, 03:09 PM
My dad did the watermelon thing as well, and his attitude towards me and guns was to gun-proof me. He taught me how to check them even if he'd already checked himself, the safety rules, etc - and that I could fondle them all I wanted if I first asked permission to see them and go through all the safety-steps.

It didn't take long for me to get to the stage where "playing with the guns" was no longer a novelty or exciting, and when I had friends over who wanted to see them, I'd just shrug and say "Nah, that's boring stuff" and we'd head off to do something else.

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