gun safety
GA Firing Line

Washington Post Journalist Negligently Handles Glitter Gun, Ends Up in Hospital

A Washington Post journalist found out the hard way what happens when you ignore basic gun safety.

When the venerable Sean Davis of The Federalist found out what had happened to a Washington Post journalist, he didn't start calling him names or laughing or raising an anti-gun alarm. He simply wrote about as only he would: he drew attention to everyone's need to follow the simple gun safety rules we should all understand and obey.

Newsflash: guns are here to stay, and if there is one simple common-ground fact that we should all agree on, this is it. If it behooves us all to practice what we preach, then it's time again to preach gun safety, and here's why.

Mr. Davis found this piece by Washington Post journalist David Fahrenthold that said in his own words:

"When I came home from my last TV hit, the kids, ages 4 and 5 months, were asleep. The house was quiet. I was still full of caffeine and do-gooder energy and decided to tidy up.

Among the clutter on the coffee table, I found my 4-year-old's Party Popper, a bright yellow gun that fired confetti. For some reason, I held the gun up to my eye and looked down the barrel, the way Yosemite Sam always does.

It looked unloaded.

Then, for some reason, I pulled the trigger.

When I got to the ER, I had a swollen face, metal-foil confetti in my hair and a faint odor of gun smoke. Finally, the doctor could see me.

"I shot myself in the eye with a glitter gun," I said. I showed him the Party Popper, which I had brought with me, in case he wanted to send it off to the National Institute of Morons for further study.

I got home from the hospital with a scratched cornea and a tube of eye ointment. The next day, with some of my dignity permanently lost, I got started on a bigger story."

Let's review:

1. Treat every firearm as if it were loaded

2. Never point at anything you don't intend to shoot and destroy

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and ready to fire

4. Be sure of your target and what's beyond

First of all, it was a kids' toy, so no big deal, right? Wrong! Yes, it was a foolish thing to do, and had this been a legitimate loaded gun, he would be dead now, but hold on. Davis got it right on when he wrote:

"I don't highlight this incident to mock Fahrenthold, and I disagree with his characterization of himself as a "moron." The issue isn't that he's stupid, it's that he was never taught to not do what he did."

Truth! The point is, we want to share the issue of gun safety, recognizing that even those who never plan on owning a gun or ever even handling one should know how to act around a gun. Firearms aren't going away, so it stands to reason that you may still encounter one in your life, like it or not.

The real danger lies in closing your eyes to that fact and being completely unprepared for the experience. As Davis wrote:

"Violating rule #3 is the ultimate cause of every negligent firearm discharge. Even if you ignore all the other rules, the gun will not fire a bullet and potentially cause irreparable damage unless someone pulls the trigger. Fahrenthold could've walked away unscathed after ignoring rules #1 and #2 if only he had followed rule #3."

If guns are here to stay, and they are, then it's our responsibility to help educate the uninitiated, not to keep the information to ourselves. Folks who don't want to own a gun, or even see one in their lives, that's fine. We're just saying that our world is a safer place when everyone is aware of the four basic gun safety rules.

Those same people might come back with "Well, that's like saying since there are airplanes in the world, I should have to learn the basics of flight safety, and I'll never be a pilot."

The only problem is that there's not an airplane in every other house on your street.