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It was bound to happen

2002-01-03 02:26:51+00 by Dylan 17 comments

[Dan's Addition: the Chronicle is on the case.]

Unfortunately I can't find a link for this yet, just saw it on the TV news. KRON (Bay Area station) seems to have scooped everyone on this, but apparently a National Guardsman has accidentally shot himself at San Francisco International Airport.

At first the story made it sound like one guardsman shot another, which would be even more ironic, I suppose.

Seems this guy forgot to use the "clearing barrel" on his way in (that's a barrel full of sand you shoot your weapon into to be sure the chamber's clear). And then he (for some really nebulous reason I haven't figured out) felt a need to draw his sidearm, but caught it on the flap on his holster. The weapon discharged and he shot himself in the ass.

***note: I have deleted numerous bad puns from this space. The least stupid was "Boy, he sure made an ass of himself". You're welcome.***

[ related topics: Technology and Culture Bay Area Current Events Television ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:07+00 by: Mike Gunderloy

According to my handgun instructor, shooting yourself in the ass is the most common holster-related accident. Shooting yourself in the foot is second. This just goes to underscore once again that you should not carry a loaded weapon unless you practice with it frequently. Sadly, too many people who can shoot well do not practice the connected skills such as drawing a holstered weapon or reloading.

Which reminds me, I really need to get out to the range again soon...

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:07+00 by: Alex Bischoff

Reinstate the bad puns! We can take it :-).

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:07+00 by: TheSHAD0W

Here's a more detailed account: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/...i?f=/c/a/2002/01/03/MN117862.DTL

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:07+00 by: Pete

I'm not sure why this is newsworthy. That poor sap, who is there to protect us, hurt himself in a nasty way. What makes this a topic of interest/scrutiny/debate?

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:08+00 by: Dan Lyke

Pete, this is a perfect symptom of the ridiculous push for "more security", without looking at what the security is really costing us. I'm a card-carrying member of the NRA, but the idea of populating our airports with more people with weapons, most of whom aren't as religious about training and refreshers as the civilians I know who carry, seems a little misguided.

This is an instance where the appearance of security over real security caught up with reality.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:08+00 by: Larry Burton

I know some very good people that are NG members. I know some very good pilots in the ANG that have much more flight experience than current AF pilots. There are many highly skilled and competent people in the Gurard. That being said, though, there are also very many people that are in the Guard for a little exta pay and one weekend a month away from their wife.

It has bothered me to see armed military personnel in our civilian airports. That isn't the place for the military. This incident illustrates only one of the reasons that it bothers me.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:08+00 by: TheSHAD0W

Dan: Do us all a favor and quit the NRA. Sign up with the GOA or JPFO. The NRA is actually a gun control organization; if it's not a "sporting" use, they are willing to sell it out in order to protect their special use.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:08+00 by: Dan Lyke

Shadow, thanks for the pointers. I'm disappointed with some of the politics of the NRA[Wiki] and have actually let things lapse while I look around for a group that's more aligned with my own meta-politics.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:08+00 by: Pete

If the security guy had injured an innocent passenger, then it would be newsworthy and say something meaningful about his presence. This is just some poor schmuck trying to do his vaguely volunteerish job and getting grievously wounded in the process. The story brings me no joy, nor does it provide any illumination into the Current Situation.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:09+00 by: Dan Lyke

Pete, if a drunk driver runs into a tree in my neighborhood, is that news? I don't know if this is a trend or not, but I'm not the only person to ask if more people with guns in a crowded environment is a good idea. Especially since their presence there doesn't seem to be serving any real purpose.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:09+00 by: Larry Burton

Pete, the guardsman did injure someone, himself. Let's say that some mad bomber had been stopped by the security folks running the x-ray machine and become violent and this Guardsman had to get that M-9 out of his holster to stop that mad bomber from causing serious injury or death to this innocent passenger that you are worried about. Could he have done it or would he have just shot his own ass off in that scenario just like he did at shift change.

The problem is that he was put in a position that he had no business being in. I'm not angry with him, I'm angry with folks on up the chain of command that are putting people like him in places where they can hurt themselves. He is one of the victims of this madness just the same as the innocent passenger could possibly have been a victim had he had to pull the pistol from the holster under different circumstances.

Let me ask you this, Pete. Do you believe this fellow is competent enough with a sidearm to protect you from a terrorist in the airport?

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:09+00 by: Shawn

I was in the NG (in Washington - the real Washington - the state) for six years. Specifically, in the HQ for what amounted to the entire WA NG. Unfortunately, I'd have to say that the majority of the people I knew where not any more fit to deal with an enforcement/security situation than most civilians. That's one of the reasons I didn't re-up my enlistment. I found it wasn't nearly as professional and organized as I was looking for at that time in my life.

IME, NG don't get nearly enough training. And they get it with sub-par equipment and with little trained instruction (usually just somebody else in your unit who got assigned to do it).

By the time I left things were getting better, but I'd already made up my mind and had other things I wanted to go do. I suppose you'll all think a bit less of me, but I laughed out loud when I read this story. I was not surprised.

#Comment made: 2002-01-04 03:17:55+00 by: Tony Green [edit history]

Whoops, please see next comment.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:09+00 by: Tony Green

If the so called "clearing barrel" is for real, that is a very damning comment on the NG competency with sidearms and live rounds.

I can clear my primary sidearm (M1911A1) blindfolded. I can break it down and re-assemble it in about a minute, blindfolded. I'm not bragging, I think that level of knowledge and competence is required for safety. The military used to thinks so, too.

BTW - The sidearm the poor NG guy shot himself with is a Berreta M-92F, theres no such thing as an M-9 (or a milli-9, for that matter).

Yes, thank you, I know I'm anal.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:10+00 by: Pete

Dan and Larry, I do believe that having the NG improves security. I do not think that their presence is optimal, but I have no doubt at all that having them there is an improvement over blind reliance of the Argenbright mouth-breathers that the NG currently provides a second tier over. Hopefully a wholly new approach that completely removes the laughable Argenbright from their role will be in place soon.

I did a cursory search last night but was unable to turn up a web version of what I remember as a Washington (the real one) Post article on the day to day goings on of post 9/11 airport security that that contained several credible reports of situations where the actions of the National Guardsmen caught serious lapses in security as provided by the Argenbright personnel. And this was just at airports within the Post's home region.

So, Dan, I can not agree that this is merely the appearance of more security when compared to relying on Argenbright.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:14+00 by: meuon

Gun Nut Comments: In my life, I've had TWO semi-accidental discharges, both went where they should have, in a safe direction and hurting nothing. A USA made Beretta M9 is the military version of a M-92F, adopted January 15th, 1985 by the Army. It is supposed to have a good safety, and should have had the hammer closed. I'll bet this guy was carrying 'cowboy' with the hammer back and the safety off. If the safety is on, the hammer is 'dropped and blocked' which means an impact will not cause the hammer to hit the pin because the firing pin is blocked.

As for the poor guy that got hurt... anyone know how many normal security/police guys get injured in similiar accidents? I'll bet a lot.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:34:15+00 by: Larry Burton

I worked in the maintenance department of a for-profit hospital years ago. This hospital was in a declining part of town and the security staff often had run ins with people coming into the emergency room and also people up to no good in the parking lot. They carried nightsticks and mace and that was it. One of the security officers got his nightstick taken away from him one night and beat pretty badly with it. Within a month every one of the officers was qualified and issued a sidearm.

About nine months went by without any incidents but then one night at shift change one officer removed his gun from his holster, started to check it prior to placing it in the gun cabinet and accidentally discharged a round into the concrete floor. Another officer sitting in a nearby chair was slightly wounded by a piece of the concrete floor nicking his shin. The offending officer was chewed out and suspended by the captain for two weeks without pay. Eveyone kept their sidearms.

About two months after this incident there was a saftey fair held in a conference room at the hospital with all departments hosting a booth dealing with a safety topic. Security's topic was firearm safety. During a "safety" demonstration on the proper way to hold and fire a handgun being conducted by the captain a live round managed to find its way into the chamber of gun. He blew a hole though a hollow sheetrock wall into the adjoining women's locker room. Luckily the room was empty and no one was hurt. All guns were immediately collected from each officer and were removed from the hospital premises.

The problem was that each officer had qualified for carrying a weapon but after qualifying they received no further training. They weren't current. I suspect that was the problem with the Guardsman in San Franscisco. He most likely wasn't current in his training. I've got no problem with guns in public places carried by people who are trained and current in their training. The problem comes from people who are not traine or who are not current in their training. It doesn't take long for currency to lapse.