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Some people just should not have guns. (Me)

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by bigjim, Jan 30, 2005.

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  1. bigjim

    bigjim Member

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    So Stupid, perhaps I am done with guns.

    I did something stupid today at a public range in front of
    Friends in the same shooting lane I have been using since 1989.

    At this range they call a cease fire. Then Clear your guns and put a safety flag in the chamber. Then step back from the benches past a red line. Then they allow folks to go forward and check or post targets.

    After every one returns they check the range and call it hot.

    After the range command to go forward and check your targets and people started walking out I stepped to the bench loaded my pistol and shot at the target. No one was hurt. No one was in front of me. I could not even see the people from my lane because of the shooting lane baffles. However this lapse is not excusable. I could have killed someone. Let me be clear: In conflict with clear range commands, I fired a pistol on a cold range with people forward of the firing line. I fired the gun three times before I heard people yelling at me. At first I did not even know what the hell they were yelling about. My first thought was, did some jackass go down range when it was hot?

    This is one of those “Mistakes†that is so grossly negligent and so clearly indicates that I lack the judgment and self control to take on the awesome responsibility of shooting that I think after 24 years, its time for me to call it quits.

    My pride and self image is in tatters. Until this morning I was considered one of the “real shootersâ€. The range master sent people over to me when they needed help. I am one of the few people that have actually worn out a gun from shooting and not abuse. I taught Hunter safety for years. I was the 19th California BFSC Instructor and taught that course for years as well. I hold 5 NRA instructor certifications.

    All of that, and I still did this stupid thing. I am a changed man, and the process of change is still happening. Right now I think at the end of it I may no longer be a shooter.

    I had to wait at the opening to down range for the people to return from down range to say I was sorry to each one. To a man they were more gracious than I would have been.

    I am 43 years old and the sudden and undeniable realization that I am an IDIOT just like the hundreds of idiots I have yelled at over the years is a bitter pill to swallow.

    Anybody want to buy 42 excellent center fire Pistols and rifles?
     
  2. ZekeLuvs1911

    ZekeLuvs1911 Member

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    BigJim,
    I'm sorry that you had to go through that. I would say that the biggest thing here is that no one got hurt. To give up shooting is not the right move. The major thing is is that we take what we can out of our mistakes and learn from them. Remember the scene from "Top Gun" after Maverick had lost Goose? The head instructor kept sending him back up. Everyone gets thrown from a bucking Colt once in a while. it takes more to get back on it.




    P.S. I'll give ya $50.00 for all your stuff!!! ;) :evil:
     
  3. Braz

    Braz Member

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    :banghead:

    Damn! I wish I could console ya BigJim, but you're obviously sick about this and words must mean little. I will say I've made mistakes, we all have, or will sooner or later. Take some time to calm down before you sell your guns. It was a mistake you can recover from, imo. No one was hurt. Your pride is suffering, but you'll be back. I'd wager that is one mistake you'll never make again. Hang in buddy.
     
  4. 727 torqueflight

    727 torqueflight Member

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    so what you did something stupid dont give up your guns just work harder a making sure you dont make a mistake like that again
     
  5. 727 torqueflight

    727 torqueflight Member

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    circle of life,ashes to ashes poop to poop
     
  6. Model520Fan

    Model520Fan Member

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    Don't sell your guns yet.

    The fact is that people sometimes make mistakes. Of course, this was a serious one.

    Figure out for yourself why this happened, and whether there is anything you can do to keep it from happening again. Obviously, selling all your guns would work, but you may be able to figure out something less drastic.

    Sleep on it, and think about it for a few days.

    Most of us have made a serious error one time or another. The main question is what can be learned from it.
     
  7. 727 torqueflight

    727 torqueflight Member

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    i dont even know why i posted that last reply
     
  8. Old Fud

    Old Fud Member

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    Jim,
    What ELSE is on your mind?

    I don't know you, but can tell from your post that you are a good man.
    A well-trained and conscientious one.

    So your attention wandered onto some other subject.
    It had to be important to you.
    Find it and work on resolving it.

    All the best.
     
  9. HungSquirrel

    HungSquirrel Member

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    If your love and respect for the sport of shooting is as you portrayed it, then quitting the sport will only be depriving the sport of someone who has been made even safer and more respectful. We young guys need old timers like you to instill in us the respect for the sport, and you can do the job that much better by recounting this story to those you teach. It's a very sobering personal account and would certainly help people have a respect for these dangerous tools.

    Where are you from? I would be honored to have you instruct me in firearm safety at a range, as I have had very little formal instruction since Boy Scouts. Don't leave guys like me without good help at the range that can only come from seasoned shooters!
     
  10. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    Jim - in this situation, I can well imagine I would be busy with little else than self-flagellation ... it is initially inexcusable. I would be deflated to the max, I would be wallowing in self condemnation and recriminations.

    BUT!!!!! Know what? ... I consider that a guy of your experience, despite this awful lapse ... would still have kicked into ''safe mode'' the moment your peripheral vision saw the slightest movement and sensed a sufficiently dangerous situation. You screwed up on range discipline, big time but - I'll wager your knowledge of the rules themselves would have kicked in before harm was done. Your ego damage - that can mend and this is surely a more than salutary lesson to use positively - tell those you teach in the future ... make em see that even you could screw up.:)

    I salute you for being courageous enough to admit it and share - it is a good reminder to us all - myself included - that however long we have shot and been experienced - lapses can occur. So - for me, it is a great reminder that 30 or more years of shooting does not guarantee me no screw-ups.

    I have gained thru your honesty and candor - so I thank you.
     
  11. Declaration Day

    Declaration Day Member

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    If it were me, I might be too embarrassed to go back to that range. I might be. But I certainly would not give up shooting.

    Sorry that this happened.
     
  12. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Consider this at least before walking away. As a shooter of your experience, you at least are able to place your rounds where you want them, so folks downrange are at considerable less risk, even with you firing, than with the true "idiots" we see out there. I'm sure you practice the 4 rules, and are aware of your target and what's behind at all times.

    Sure, there is a danger of ricochet or bullet fragments, but I'd rather walk downrange and have someone pull the trigger that is well aware of what they are shooting at than one of the crazies just blasting away.

    Before you walk away, consider this question: Even in the "mistaken" state of mind you were in, do you believe that your experience and training would have screamed "STOP!" if someone had walked into your field of view? Do you think you would have kept shooting if you'd seen a person downrange?

    If you think you would have kept pulling the trigger then yes, perhaps it's time to do something else. If you think you'd have stopped if you saw someone, then you were still aware of the rules and in control of the weapon.

    Think on that one for a while.
     
  13. Curare

    Curare Member

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    Get a good nights sleep and return to the range ASAP.
     
  14. Wild Bill

    Wild Bill Member

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    :what: WOW :what:

    Yeah - that's a big OOPS!

    Gonna take you a while to get through this. While you do remember:
    - do nothing in haste
    - you're human
    - no-one was hurt
    - you can be retrained

    The best analogy I can give you is from way back i my construction days. Saw a senior rigger just walk off a platform with no line on. Watched a veteran rail switchman get crushed between two couplers because he cut through without looking or locking the track. Helped patch-up a 20 year carpenter who zipped the fingers of his left hand off on a table saw ... sadly the list goes on.

    .. point is I wonder sometimes if it's just blind luck that saves more of us from your situation. The more time you have on,the easier it seems to forget the basics and have that one moment of inattention/stupidity/bad karma that leads to what you did.

    You've been shooting for longer than some of our members have been breathing. I have no doubt that if you would have seen anyone downrange you would not have fired.

    Give it some time before you decide to give it up. Lock the safe. Walk away for a time. Leave the decisions for later when you have a clear head and a more rational perspective that's not clouded by guilt and emotion.

    Good luck man.
     
  15. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    Jim--
    It's been said before...we all do things that, upon further reflection, we wish we hadn't. It also needs to be said that a dose of humility once in a while is strong medicine.

    What impresses me most about this incident, and your reporting of it, is that you do not make excuses, you do not blame anyone else for it, and you hold yourself up for humiliation and ridicule. You will get none of those from me.

    It takes a man to stand up and say, "I screwed up. Big time." Most people (myself likely included) would have gone home, licked their wounds, and never told a soul. You have taken the high road, and as such, have earned my respect, and I imagine, the respect of many others here.

    We need your kind around here, and in society as a whole.
    Best regards, Rich
     
  16. HungSquirrel

    HungSquirrel Member

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    Like me. :D
     
  17. np15cgg

    np15cgg Member

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    Responsibility

    BigJim,

    Only you can know the answer to this particular problem. If you think that it is time to stop, then take that decision. But before you make any choice, give yourself some time for very careful reflection.

    The truth is that when a highly experienced surgeon, an 8,000 hour pilot-in-command, or a winning F1 driver makes a mistake, the consequences are plain to see but they are still damn good at what they do. Being really good at what you do does not mean that you can not make mistakes - it does mean that you never repeat them.

    Lastly, you may now want to think about all those "idiots" on the range. Each of us is a whole lot closer to being an "idiot" than we'd care to admit.
     
  18. Arc-Lite

    Arc-Lite Member

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    mistakes happen, to everyone, it is apart of life. you screwed up, you know that....my guess is ..this will bring you to a much more aware point, with your shooting and everything you do, what is important now, is your next choice. You have faced this error, head on, now turn it into something positive for yourself. After reading this, I know I will do things with this story in mind...I think this goes for many of us, on the forum. You fell of the horse, dust yourself off, and get back on ! It is what one does after the fact, that defines the man.
     
  19. Hawkman

    Hawkman Member

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    Big Jim,

    I was a fighter pilot in the USAF. One day on a simulated air combat mission I made a mistake that darned near killed me and scared the bejeesus out of my wingman. I felt like you do now - at the time I was an instructor at the USAF fighter weapons school! How could I do something like that?

    Truth was, we all did at one time or another. To a man, we learned from the mistakes and got back into the cockpit.

    You do the same. Don't quit.
     
  20. bigjim

    bigjim Member

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    I don't want to seem ungrateful for not responding to everyones comments.

    I am reading these comments. I just have nothing to add right now.

    Thank you
     
  21. kayak bum

    kayak bum Member

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    Don't dwell on what could have been. You made a mistake; you are well aware of it, you accept responsibility for it; and most importantly no one was hurt. Complacency and carelessnes sneak up on all of us from time to time.
    Take what time you need, but get back in the saddle as soon as you can!
     
  22. Arc-Lite

    Arc-Lite Member

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    Big Jim....you have 18 positive supportive and understanding comments, in less then a hour....from people who have all screwed up...at one time or another.... personally I think the range should re-examine they rules as well...
     
  23. Atticus

    Atticus Member

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    It's hard to understand, and/or explain those moments when your brain switches off for brief period. In your case, the only things hurt were your pride, self confidence, and reputation (maybe). Now you get to confront it or run away from it. I doubt your the runnin kind. You wouldn't be here talking about it if you were. A few people may give you grief over it for years....but most won't. Deal with it.
     
  24. griz

    griz Member

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    I know a guy who drove up to a green light and stopped. When it turned red he pulled out, to the sound of screeching tires and honking horns. He had been driving about 30 years at the time. Brain farts happen.

    I'm sure the fact that you were endangering somebody else instead of yourself is eating at you. Do like others have suggested, take a break, figure out why or how, and go from there.
     
  25. antsi

    antsi Member

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    At both the ranges I use, there are big obvious indicators of a cold range.

    One, the larger and better-equipped, has a series of gumball lights and a siren ("beep-beep-beep") running to let you know that people are going down range and not to handle your firearms or ammo.

    The other one, smaller and less expensively equipped, has a string of flags that you hang up in front across all the shooting stations so that if you approach a station, you see a bunch of flags in your face. This is an inexpensive way of accomplishing the same thing: an obvious reminder that you aren't supposed to be shooting right now.

    The experience you had shows the need for some improvements at your range. You are obviously an experienced and safety-conscious shooter, but like any human being, you are fallible and subject to "brain fade" from time to time.

    In safety-critical industries, experts are always trying to find ways to reduce human errors: built-in reminders to help get our attention when we have a "brain fade." For instance, in medicine, it is now against industry standards to package critical medicines in packages that look the same: the packages have to have different colors and different designs to reduce the chances of confusion. They don't do this because doctors and nurses are "idiots." They do it because doctors and nurses are human, and all us humans need a little help now and then.

    Used to be in medicine, when someone made a mistake, we would do "train and blame." Blame the individual (often fire them and strip their license), mandate extra training for the rest of the staff, and then go back to the exact same way of doing business. And act all surprised when the same thing happened again.

    Now, we are moving towards improving our systems to reduce the chances of errors. Most hospitals are also collecting information on "near miss" incidents - when something really dangerous almost happens, we analyze the situation and look for ways to improve.

    The people who run your range need to take heed of this incident.
    Yes, you screwed up. Luckily, nobody was hurt.
    It sounds like, at your range, this is an easy mistake to make and it is very likely to happen again if they don't change how they do things. Maybe next time won't be so lucky.

    A string of flags to hang across the firing line would cost what, $10?
     
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