“Precaution is better than cure.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I am not an addicted outdoorsman but I do enjoy going out to a hunting camp with friends and all that comes with it. Generally there is a lot of story telling, unhealthy eating, campfires, laughing and sometimes even a little hunting.
Several times I have taken a group of fathers and sons to the place where we hunt in Wisconsin and created great memories. We are always extremely cautious when it comes to guns and ammunition and follow very strict rules concerning their use. Basic firearm safety includes two very important rules that everyone should know.
- Always assume the gun is loaded
- Never point a gun at anyone
In addition to those basic but important rules we also teach when it is appropriate to load and unload a gun, how to carry it etc etc.
On one trip, one of the sons wounded a deer and we tracked it into the swamp at night. We were huddled over lanterns and flashlights for a long time following the faint blood trail in a place where all of us, fathers included, would have otherwise been frightened to be alone at night. It was spooky. When we finally found the animal it was still alive and needed to be shot one more time but nobody had a gun. I sent somebody back to camp to get my dad’s old 30-30 rifle. He soon returned and without further ado I worked the bolt-action knowing that there was no bullet in the chamber and pointed at the sky and pulled the trigger. It was my habitual way of making sure it was unloaded when I put the gun away at night…but I would only do it after I first checked thoroughly that there was no bullet in the chamber.
To my surprise and to the shock of the group of men and boys around me, an explosion of sound and light went off. The gun fired. I was stunned. Everyone thought I was doing a John Wayne and trying to be funny but I was numb with shock. I acted like nothing was wrong and went over to the deer which by then had died but not from my bullet. I was mortified.
I gathered everybody around and confessed to what had just happened. I told them about the two golden rules of hunting…always assume it is loaded and never point a gun at anyone. I explained that for whatever reason I had broken one of those rules but because I had at least followed the other one, nobody was hurt. I still cannot fully explained what happened that day.
I am almost annoying to those around me regarding gun safety. If it could happen to me it could happen to anyone.
The HighFive Your Life principle is to put in safeguards to protect that which is most important to you and then put in back-up safeguards just to make sure. Layer them. Pound them into the heads of those concerned. It could have to do with driving or dating or keeping a job or protecting your marriage. Whatever is most important, build in multiple layers of safeguards to avoid a disaster when the first safeguard fails. They can be simple but they just have to be there.
These safeguards could include daily family prayer, or waiting up a son or daughter who is on a date. It could be the purchase of a cell phone or a better software security program. It could be keeping all computers and laptops operating in open space where all can see what is being studied. It could be an agreed upon place to meet in case of a disaster. It could be cash in the bank or at home and less debt. It could be a blanket in the trunk of the car or a flashlight in the glove compartment. It could be a 72 hour food storage box with candles, matches, water and extra batteries.
This requires some thought but mostly it requires action. These safeguards are not items you want to have linger on your to-do list. You will be surprised when your first safeguard fails and then be ever so thankful that you put in a back up to protect what you love.
HighFive Your Life principle: Put in safeguards to protect that which is most important to you and then put in back-up safeguards just to make sure.
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