Looks like posting today is going to be all grabbed from Best Defense…
I had a negligent discharge while I was stationed in Hawaii. Fortunately, it was a blank round, and other than some acute embarrassment to me and my unit, there was no real harm. That and a Summary Article 15 to make the point that it WAS a serious matter.
It is disturbing that we still have these problems. And Birdzell zeros in on the cause. We have troops that spend relatively little time handling weapons in garrison and then expect them to handle them responsibly when they are out in the field or deployed overseas.
I seem to recall that one step the Army took was to issue rifles on Day 3 of Basic training, and have the soldiers carry their weapons loaded (with blanks) all the time. Good idea. I hope that is still the case. Blanks aren’t the same thing as live rounds, of course, but they do give an audible indication of someone being stupid.
One of the other problems with teaching firearms safety in the military is that THE fundamental rule of civilian firearm safety is at odds with life in the military. Civilians are taught not to point guns at people. Soldiers, on the other hand, EXIST to point guns at other people.
By Billy Birdzell
During OIF II, a USMC helicopter pilot accidentally shot and killed himself in the ready room while spinning his pistol on his finger like John Wayne.
During my battalion’s first Iraq deployment negligent discharges of weapons caused one death and one serious injury. The first incident occurred when a lance corporal who had been a problem child pointed a Corpsman’s pistol at the Corpsman’s face in a “hey, look at me” scenario, and then negligently shot him in the head. That Marine was sentenced to several years in prison.