Teachable Moments

I’ve had a few people ask me lately about teaching firearms safety, safety and self-defense to kids. I’m working on some stuff specifically about teaching gun safety and shooting to kids, but it’s also important to me that my daughter learn the skills of personal safety and awareness.

Nutmeg is almost 17 and she’s at that age where she finds sport in calling me an “old lady”. (I’m on the near side of 40, though barely, and this seems terribly old to her). So, she’s not yet learned the lesson that kids seem to forget between the ages of 12 and 25: namely, that the way Mom survived to be “an old lady” is because she actually knows stuff.

Because of this, Nutmeg tends to be impatient when she perceives that I’m “teaching” her stuff. She’ll say things like, “I have to listen to blah-blah-blah all day at school; I don’t want to listen to it at home too.” If she’s feeling especially flippant, she’lll say “learning stuff causes cancer.” There’s no question Nutmeg is growing up to be a spirited young lady, which is a good thing, but which means Mom has to be a bit cleverer about taking “teachable moments” where I can find them.

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Gun Safety: You Don’t Get to Have a Bad Day

Imagine this scene, if you will:

A man enters the gun shop. He unlocks a pistol case and removes a handgun. Dropping the magazine and cycling the slide, he sets it down on the counter. “I’d like to sell this gun,” he says. “Don’t worry – it isn’t loaded.” The store clerk picks the gun up and pulls the slide back to lock it. CLINK! A loaded shell tumbles from the ejector port and lands on top of the glass display case.

I’ve heard two versions of this story recently. In one case, the pistol in question turned out to have a broken extractor which failed to engage with the chambered round when the slide was pulled. I didn’t hear an explanation for why the round in the second case failed to eject the first time, but it doesn’t really matter. Whatever the reason, had the triggers been pulled, both guns would have discharged – possibly with tragic results.

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