Bow Season Kick Off is July 14th!!
Our favorite time of year is fast approaching and I’m sure that you are as excited as I am. Right now you are busy finding places to hunt, scouting out places that you already have, planting food plots, working extra hours to build up some time off or any one of a thousand other things to get ready.
I have been doing this for a long time and have probably (hopefully) made every possible mistake, so I thought I would make some notes and hopefully save you some disappointment.
While you are hustling around doing the multitude of things that have to be done, DO NOT overlook your equipment. What follows is my list of things to check and things to do so that you can keep the infamous Mr Murphy from joining you on your next hunt.
- Check the strings.
How long have they been on there? If you don’t know, change them. Now. If it is more than 2 years, I would change them.
Look at the serving. Is there a gap in the serving in or around the D-Loop? Does it show a lot of wear from the nock? If so, have it re-served.
Check the axle-to-axle length, brace height and cam timing. If they are off, the strings have either stretched from extended use or they are worn out. Each bow make/model are different so you may need to bring it to us if you are not familiar with these specs. If they are off too far, the strings will need to be replaced.
Check the actual stands of the string. Are any of them broken or loose? If so, replace. Are they “fuzzy”? If so, apply a good coat of string wax and rub it in.
Is the D-Loop tied correctly and in the right spot? Or does it look like it was tied by a stock boy at a box store? If it’s tied CORRECTLY it will not move. If it does move, your “shot of a lifetime” just went down the drain. Is the loop in the right spot?
Check your peep sight. Make sure it is tied in securely. A tiny shift in the rear sight is huge downrange. Is it set so that you can see through it at full draw?
- Check the limbs. Are there any cracks? Splinters? Anything that looks suspicious? I so, get it taken care of now! If you are thinking “It’ll probably make it through another season,” you can bet that it won’t. Any issues with limbs will require replacement parts that may take some time to get. Even longer as the season gets nearer. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
- Check the riser (handle)
Is everything tight? Rest? Sight? Stabilizer? Quiver?
Are there any shiny spots that will glare and get you busted?
Does the grip squeak or creak when you draw the bow?
- Check the cams/wheels.
Are they bent from when you dropped it out of your stand last year?
Check every bolt/screw on the cam. Are the modules tight? WARNING! Steel screws into aluminum cams are easy to strip out. Don’t over-tighten.
Check the string and cable tracks. Any dings or dents on the inside of the tracks will wear the string, possibly cut it. If there is any debris in the track, remove it. This could cause a derailment and turn you into a spectator in the blink of an eye.
- Are they the CORRECT spine for your bow? Or did you buy them on close out on your way to the lease last year?
- Are they the correct length? Will your broadhead make contact with the bow at full draw? If so, disaster awaits.
- Are they all identical? Any variation in the arrows WILL effect accuracy.
- Inspect the fletching. Any holes or tears? Is the glue joint secure?
- Are they cracked or “dinged”? Inspect them. Flex them. Twist them. If you see ANY or feel ANY cracks, dents or dings, do not shoot that arrow! Ever. Destroy it and throw it away.
I’m sure most of you have seen some gruesome pictures of what a broken arrow through the wrist or hand looks like. 99.9% of could’ve been avoided by following # 1-2-5 above.
- Do you have enough? Pick a quality broadhead and make sure that you have plenty and that they are all identical.
- Are they sharp? I’m not talking sharp like the average pocket knife. I’m talking sharp like a surgeon’s scalpel. My dad always said “If it’s not so sharp that you’re afraid of it, it’s not sharp”.
- Are they “true”? Broadheads must be straight, no wobble when they spin. There are lots of ways to check them and most of them are not OSHA approved. Go on YouTube and watch a few different techniques. You will see people spinning them in their palm. Not OSHA approved and if you use this technique have lots of bandaids handy (See #2)
- Does it work? If you threw it in your pack after that hunt in the rain last year, doubtful. At the very least it will be rough and jumpy. A drop or two of oil will smooth it out.
- How does the wrist strap look?
- Is it torn?
- Buckle OK?
- If it’s Velcro, does it snap crackle pop like a bowl of Rice Krispys when you draw?
- Does it stink? All that sweat from summertime practice is soaked up in that strap. No amount of cover scent will mask it if smells like a truck stop bathroom.
- Do you have a spare? If you shoot a fancy/expensive release and loose it, you will be upset. If you loose it and then end up having a huge buck walk by as you are trying to pull your bow with your pinkie in the D-loop, it’s even worse. Carry a spare.
- Is it sighted in? Are you as accurate as you can be? Or is it “close enough”?
“Close enough” is not close enough. Put in the effort to get it right.
- Is everything tight on the sight? Remember… steel into aluminum.
- Does your sight light still work? Or did you leave it on last year and kill the battery?
- Is it tight? Or does it rattle?
- Will the arrow clips hold your new micro diameter shafts?
- Does the hood completely cover those ridiculously sharp broadheafs that we discussed earlier?
- Are you sighted in with the quiver ON the bow or OFF? Decide now which it will be and sight in accordingly. It will shoot differently with or without the quiver.
This list could go on for days, but I think I’ve covered most of Murphy’s favorite equipment failure opportunities. Look over your gear. Bring it in to Saddle River Range and let’s get everything ready to rock. Do it now! Don’t do like a lot of bowhunters and wait until the last second. Do it now! That’s right. You are probably reading this on your phone. There’s no cord tying you to the couch. Stand up. Take your phone with you. Go dig that bow out and look it over.
Come See Me!
By Thom Bolsch and Ron Mullins
It has been shown that the lessons learned in our youth remain with us for our entire lives. For many of us, we can remember, and cherish, the time spent with a senior member of the family learning about guns, how to shoot and the safety issues surrounding those guns. And we have a healthy respect for the safe operation of those guns as a result of that experience as a young person.
In consideration of that experience, Saddle River Range has launched another summer of Youth Firearm Safety courses.
We could tell you about the course; but let’s hear what the instructors have to say…
Jonathan Wyatt and Joshua Moore are the instructors and when we sat down with them to learn about the course; here’s what they had to say.
SRR: How would you describe the Summer Youth Firearm Safety class?
The course is a basic firearm safety class providing basic fundamentals of firearm safety and operation. It incorporates a modification to focus on a younger participant, even someone that has never handled a firearm – allowing them to get their “feet wet” so to speak in a safe and comfortable environment.
SRR: When is the course offered?
There are several classes on the calendar each month during the summer. Check out the calendar for the next class here.
SRR: Is each class the same, or do they vary based on attendees?
The core of the program is standard. We want to be able to bring a participant’s skill level to a recognized fundamental level within the time frame of the class; and for some attendees we are starting from the very beginning. Depending on the size and skill level of the attendees, we sometimes are able to add to the program to introduce some competition for bragging rights. This become interesting when siblings are attending together.
SRR: How did the program get it’s start?
Interestingly, it was requested by parents and grandparents. They remember learning firearm safety as a youth and want their children/grandchildren learn the safe operation of a firearm as opposed to learning from Hollywood or a video game.
SRR: For whom is this program best suited?
It is designed for 10 to 15 year olds. However, many of the adults sitting in on the class with their child learn a thing or two as well.
SRR: Why would a parent or grandparent want their child/grandchild to attend the program?
Today’s youth are exposed to guns in a negative light, more so now than ever before, through bias news media, movies, games, and other social media. This course provides some practical “real life” experience for them in regards to shooting, but more importantly, it discusses the aspects of proper firearm safety and use. All under the watchful eyes of an NRA Certified Instructor and range safety officer, kids can experience what it is like to shoot a firearm under safe, controlled conditions, while taking away any worries and concerns that parents, grandparents, or other adults might have if they took them out to shoot their first shots somewhere else.
SRR: Can parents or grandparents attend the class?
Absolutely. The encouragement of a parent or grandparent helps to promote the importance of the class, and gives them topics to discuss on the ride home as well as instilling a common interest for years to come. We’ve also had some parents return for a fundamental class of their own; as they picked up points they hadn’t learned. And you know you can’t have your child “school” you when you visit the range together.
SRR: What should a participant expect from attending one of these classes?
We will spend about 40-45 minutes talking about firearm safety, storage, types of ammunition, nomenclature of both a pistol and rifle, and the fundamentals of shooting properly. Following that, we’ll take a quick break and then everyone will head to the range. The instructors will demonstrate and perform how to unload and load both a rifle and pistol, as well as load magazines. They will get individual coaching to ensure they are performing the tasks properly. Once everyone gets that one-on-one, the attendees are then able go back and forth between shooting the pistol and rifle, shooting on their own, right under the watchful eyes of the Instructor and Range Safety Officer. This is certainly the best part according to past participants!
SRR: What would you tell a reader if they are thinking about signing up a couple of their children or grandkids for the course?
I would say look at our website or come in to Saddle River Range today to book a slot in the next course! Not only will the kids receive the fundamentals of shooting and begin to establish safe handling skills, they’ll have a great time on the range and will think that you’re the greatest grandparent in the world!! Plus, it will give you and them a common interest in which to discuss and experience together for life.
SRR: Thank you for an interesting discussion on an interesting program. I am sure our readers will be calling to get their child in the next class.
For more information on the Summer Youth Firearm Safety program, contact the training department at 936-271-2620 or via email at email@example.com.
Stay Alert, Stay Safe,
© Copyright 2018 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
All rights reserved
Practice with a Purpose
By Thom Bolsch and Ron Mullins
One topic we’ve discussed in a number of our articles is practice. If we don’t practice to respond to an incident; we will not be able to effectively react to an incident. In any emergency situation, we will fall back to how we were trained. If we have not trained, we could freeze or panic; not the best of responses.
This month we have a special treat. We had the opportunity to sit down with Saddle River Range Lead Instructor Chris Greenfield. Chris is an advocate of training and promotes programs that help the average shooter improve their level of skill and capability. Chris has been around guns since a toddler. His experience was enhanced during three combat tours with the United States Army and shared that experience as a Drill Sergeant. Chris holds multiple firearms instructor certifications across civilian, military and law enforcement disciplines. He has trained with the industry leaders in marksmanship, self-defense, and mindset in a weapons-based environment as well as an avid competition shooter. He joined SRR in 2015 and as of January 2017 heads the training department. Chris shared his thoughts on a program he teaches known as “Practice with a Purpose”.
SRR: Tell us about “Practice with a Purpose”; how would you describe the program?
Chris: Practice with a Purpose (PWAP) is a two-hour instructor lead group training session that focuses on key elements of safe pistol discipline with a challenging weekly format. We use standardized drills, shot timers, scored targets, even video playback to increase the amount of positive feedback from every repetition. We finish off each month shooting an evaluation such as the FBI qualification or the Hackathorn Standards to track the progress of the individual shooter.
SRR: How did you come up with this program?
Chris: The program is a modification of a program in which I participated while serving at my last duty station. The training group at SRR was looking to offer a weekly training program to help our customers increase their skill levels. We noticed that too often we see shooters come to the range, blast a couple boxes of ammo at the same B26 target and leave, with no real measurable outcome except the empty brass on the floor. “Practice with a Purpose” was developed to give our students a structured training session where the focus is on feedback and positive improvement. We have students that come almost every week and have done so for almost two years. It is pretty amazing to see the improvement of a shooter over a period of time.
SRR: Is this a standard training package that is repeated monthly?
Chris: Yes and no. The program is broken down into a four week rotation where we cover the same topic in relation to the week, but the drills, targets, and course of fire are constantly changing. For example, week one covers proper presentation of a pistol from the holster. It is formatted this way so that new students have the chance to learn skills and techniques; but in a manner that allows them to participate with the rest of the group without being singled out or holding the rest back. It also allows returning students to focus on this highly perishable skill. And this application is incorporated in each weekly module. We progress through the next three weeks covering the topics of pistol manipulations, reloads, and malfunctions on week two. Week three is applied marksmanship with an eye toward accuracy and speed, it also means we shoot a specific target application know as Dot Torture, and then we round off the month with evaluation day. Last month we shot the 10-8 Standards which is a complicated series of timed and scored drills. It even includes strong hand only reloads and failure to fire drills.
SRR: So a new shooter or an experienced shooter could be side-by-side in the class. Would you say this program would be valuable to anyone?
Chris: It is designed for the new shooter that wants to advance their level of skill and the experienced shooter alike. Anyone with a knowledge of the basics of firearm safety is able to attend, safety is the most important aspect of handling a firearm in any situation. We have had students in their teens attending with their parents, as well as retirees that now have a sub two second draw from concealment. Most of our students do become regular participants; and come when their schedule allows.
SRR: The course sounds interesting, but if a reader is on the fence; why would they want to participate in the program?
Chris: The question I would ask is “Why would a shooter not want to become a better shooter?” Most people never draw from a holster let alone draw from concealment. They never shoot on a timer and never shoot a prescribed set of drills. I might also ask “Can your readers safely perform a weak hand only presentation and get accurate hits on target?” Everything executed safely, all on the clock, all while your peers are watching you perform the task? Skills that hopefully are never needed; but could save a life if called upon? The majority of gun owners never get any formal firearms training. A LTC or CCW license requires demonstration of ability relative to the licensing state; but “Practice with a Purpose” significantly enhances skill, capability and confidence. Additionally, I’d say; come in and try it. At $40 it is no more cost to the participant than paying for a couple hours of range time; but with “Practice with a Purpose” you get professional level instruction with a group of like-minded individuals in a safe and fun learning environment. The only regrets you will have is not coming sooner.
SRR: When are the courses taught; and how would an interested reader sign up?
Chris: Classes are held every Friday afternoon from 3PM to 5PM. As with all of our training it is best to reserve your spot online at https://www.saddleriverrange.com/firearms-training/ or in store at SRR: We limit the class size to six and it typically sells out prior to the start of class, walk ins are not guaranteed a spot.
SRR: What should our readers expect when they participate in the program?
Chris: They should expect a safe, educational, positive environment that will build their ability to effectually use a firearm for self-defense, competition, or just target shooting.
SRR: Thanks Chris. Our readers appreciate the insight and we’re sure you’ll have a few more sign up for the classes this month and into the future.
Saddle River Range offers “Practice with a Purpose” weekly on Friday afternoon from 3PM to 5PM. Contact the training department for PWAP or any other course at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.saddleriverrange.com
Stay Alert, Stay Safe,
© Copyright 2018 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
All rights reserved
By Thom Bolsch and Ron Mullins
Let’s continue our discussion on Witness Responder. However, let’s look at the self-protection perspective…
There is a debate raging in this country on the benefits of firearms as a defensive tool against criminal violence. We are going to delve into this debate; and as we always promise, we will only present the facts that we can confirm.
First let’s get to the numbers…
Our article is based on information compiled and released to the public from the FBI, the CDC and the National Vital Statistics Report (NVSR); sources that we believe to be credible and unbiased.
The CDC reported that there were 2.7 million deaths in the United States in 2015 – from all sources and causes. The leading cause of death in the US is heart related. (An issue that is close to us. Learn CPR, you may need to know it to save a life one day.). In 4th place, we have accidents (including motor vehicle accidents) and suicide is in 10th place. In that same report, the CDC discloses that 34,000 deaths are gun related (this includes gun related suicides, law enforcement actions and homicides); with 13,000 categorized as gun related homicides.
The NVSR lists “Assault with a Firearm” at 107th place in their 2017 report.
The FBI’s count for gun related homicide in their 2015 report was 9,600 (the count increased for the 2016 FBI report to 11,000. The first significant increase in 15 years in what has been a relatively stable annual count).
To put these numbers into perspective; in the 2015 CDC report; 633,000 deaths were related to heart failure. (If we really want to fight premature death in the US; protest the unhealthy lifestyle most of us live: not our gun ownership!)
But, we’re discussing Defensive Gun Use. So let’s look at that…
In 1998, two criminologists (Kleck and Gertz) released a report on the compilation of survey data on the use of a firearm in a defensive measure. From their surveys they extrapolated an annual count of 2.5 million incidences where a firearm was used in self-protection during a violent criminal act. We should note that this report has received significant criticism; initially from the Hemenway report, but others followed. (We are not experts in the conduct of survey mechanics and will not state an opinion here.)
It should be noted that the Cato Institute interpreted the use of a firearm for defense as not only the discharge of said firearm, but the presentation of the firearm to avert or deter a violent event.
A National Crime Victimization Survey was commissioned for the years 2007 through 2011 and reported a total count of 29.6 million victims for that time period (just shy of 6 million events per year as an annual average). That survey also reported that in 236,000 (an average of 47,200 per year) incidences a firearm was involved in self-protection (the survey does not disclose if the firearm was discharged, only that it was presented). (The survey also does not disclose if off duty Law Enforcement Officers were included in that count.)
The FBI lists a Justifiable Homicide as the self-protection action of killing a convicted felon. The count for Justifiable Homicide with a firearm for 2006 through 2010 is 192, 202, 219, 218 and 232. In 2012 the FBI reported that the criminal homicide with a gun count was 8,342 and the justifiable homicide with a firearm count was 259.
So what can we take away from this data?
First, we have a lot of violent crime in this country. Second, there is a broad range of data on the subject – with no apples to apples comparison of attack versus defense. The best estimate that we can ascertain from the information publicly available is that each year about 6 million people are subject to violence in the United States. Of that number around 10-11,000 are reported acts of violence involving a firearm. Our best guess from the material to which we have access, is that, on average 40,000 events per year of potential violence are avoided, and not reported as a result of the potential victim presenting a firearm.
Some additional thoughts: We are at much less risk of being the victim of a violent crime than we are of being involved in a motor vehicle accident or heart related medical emergency! However, the reality is that violent criminal victimization risk is out there. We don’t recommend or suggest that you should change your behavior or routine because of that risk; but you may want to be a little better prepared to react to that risk.
With that said, let’s discuss preparation. If we should happen to be the witness responder to a violent criminal act; we must prepare for how best to address such a situation in advance. We learn and prepare ourselves in first aid for a medical emergency, we conduct drills in schools and work locations on actions to take in the event of a fire. We should also have a policy of actions in the event we are witness to, or victim of, a violent criminal act.
We have written in the past about raising your situational awareness. And we have also discussed the point that in any emergency situation we will revert to our training; but if there is no training, we are not going to spontaneously command an active solution.
Our recommendation is that; first you recognize that there is risk in the world. And second, take action to learn how you might deal with, and respond to that risk.
Ladies, take a RADD class. Everyone should take a self-protection class; and if you have a firearm; take a defensive firearm training course. Learn how to use that firearm in a self-protection manner. If you have a license to carry (concealed or open); we strongly encourage you to participate in regular defensive pistol training courses. These skills are perishable; and must be maintained. The heat of the moment is not the time to determine a course of action. Have a plan thought out in advance and practice that plan.
We hope you are never in a situation where you are required to present your firearm in a self-protection act. But, you should know what to do if that situation arises.
Saddle River Range offers Basic Handgun Training as well as Advanced Handgun Classes to include several Defensive Firearm Training Courses that will help you with training and preparation to protect yourself and those close to you. Start with a Basic Handgun course , private instruction, then the License to Carry class and continue to learn. Visit www.saddleriverrange.com /firearms-training/ for a full list of classes or contact them at email@example.com . We also host some of the nations top self defense trainers on topics ranging from weapons based grappling, use of pepper spray, as well as the criminal mindset and victim selection process, for a full list of these classes please click here..
Stay Alert, Stay Safe,
© Copyright 2018 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
All rights reserved
This month we’ll take a little detour with an issue that is becoming more important, with less interest…
The human species has been able to survive, thrive and prosper because we have come together in communities supporting a broader society. We watch each other’s back, we support both individual and communal projects that are in the best interest of the community and society and we prosper because of this collaboration.
Today the community, and society is at risk; which puts us individually at risk.
There are a greater number of members of the community today that are ignoring the basic tenant of humanity. Ignoring the establish rules and laws of the community, and looking the other way when someone else ignores those rules. Rules that are in place to allow millions of people to live together in harmony. And such actions crack the foundation of society impacting the sanctity of the community and our individual lifestyles.
It is our responsibility to protect ourselves. It is our responsibility to look after our neighbor. It is our responsibility to respond – and we must KNOW how to respond.
Each year millions of people are involved in a medical trauma or a violent act. We have come to expect that handling the victims of those events is someone else’s responsibility – after all that is why we establish police departments, fire departments and para-medics! They are the FIRST responders. But who saw the event? Who called for help? Who witnessed the event?
We are going to coin a new phrase – the Witness Responder. The Witness Responder is the responsible person that sees the event unfold, pauses from their own course of action and ‘steps up’ to care for the injured victim of our community.
Why do we need the Witness Responder? We have over a third of a billion people in this country and we have only a fraction of the number of first responders – police, fire and medical personnel needed to respond to every event in a timely manner; and the ones we have are on average eight minutes away.
It takes 3 minutes for a person to bleed out with an arterial sever. In 10 minutes a cardiac arrest victim is likely brain dead. An act of violence can be over in less than 2 minutes. If it takes a first responder 8 minutes to arrive on scene; time has been wasted; especially considering that a Witness Responder that can react in less than 30 seconds.
So. The Witness Responder. Who is this person? It should be everyone; but it’s not.
When only half the population is willing to administer CPR in the event of a Cardiac Arrest, it’s apparent, it’s not everyone.
Are you a witness responder? You carry a concealed fire arm to protect yourself; would you protect an innocent bystander? What if the event has already unfolded and you come upon a victim; could you (would you) administer CPR? Would you know how to (and would you) address an arterial laceration that resulted from a car accident?
Consider that on Saturday of this past weekend – March 31st; The American College of Surgeons and the Committee on Trauma promoted a Stop the Bleed Campaign day. A day to recognize the issue and promote an educational platform to teach the average person how to save a life. With the theme that a trained Witness Responder can potentially prevent someone from bleeding out and possibly save a life.
In light of that campaign, let’s begin our conversation on the training needed and the actions required of the Witness Responder with “Stop the Bleed”. And considering the amount of vehicle accidents and violent events of late; this is a skill that we all should know.
For anyone that has had a first aid class, this course is just a little more complete. And from personal experience it will dispel myths promoted from the past and portrayed by the entertainment industry.
STOP THE BLEED. Step 1: Call 9-1-1. Step 2: Find the source of the bleeding injury. Step 3: Apply pressure to stop the bleeding.
With increasing severity: cover the wound with a clean cloth and apply pressure; apply a tourniquet to a limb; pack the wound with gauze or clean cloth and apply pressure.
Application, use and expectations can be learned in a Stop the Bleed class, and you will gain practical experience in addressing the more severe injuries.
Learn more at www.bleedingcontrol.org and watch for a class to be held at Saddle River Range.
Stay Alert, Stay Safe,
Copyright 2018 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
All rights reserved
By Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
Last month an individual took a rifle that was legally purchased, entered their former high school and committed murder.
Those are the facts surrounding this incident.
The resultant media circus would lead you to believe that we have an epidemic of firearm induced murders at public institutions of learning. They are promoting a public outrage oriented around “Our Children vs. The Second Amendment”. But is that the real topic of discussion? Are guns the issue?
Yes, lives were lost; and we sincerely grieve with the families and community from which those lives were taken. We also hope and pray that it is does not occur again. But a heated emotional diatribe from positions of the extreme will not find a solution to prevent history from repeating itself. Cool, reasoned heads that will talk through a dialogue of rational, practical thought provides the only opportunity to address this issue in a realistic manner.
But, let’s first shine a light on the issue and see it in transparency…
We draft this bit of prose to present facts and dispel the myths and misrepresentations of material currently in circulation. We have made every attempt to remove bias from this article and only provide material that can be verified by competent independent sources: such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Top Causes of Death Among Teens
To focus on the big picture, we turn to the CDC. The CDC is the expert in mortality. They have been gathering data and reporting on the demographics, health and deaths of U.S. residents for a number of years. In 2007 they released a research report covering teen deaths from 1999 to 2006 (following additional research released annually since then, the 2007 report’s numbers are still valid with minimal variation through 2015.)
In the years since 1999, the number of teens (age 12 through 19) that die each year averages 16,000 plus. Less than 1% of all deaths compiled each year. Of those deaths the number one killer of our youth – accounting for almost 50% of teen deaths – is “Unintentional Injury” (considered by the CDC as preventable: car crashes (including drunk driving), poison (including substance overdose), and drowning). Homicide is a distant 2nd place at only 13% – a fourth of the unintentional injury count; and suicide is 3rd at 11% – a fifth of unintentional injury count. Of course we can agree that every death is tragic and we all grieve for the loss of life, but is the media’s attention misplaced? 13% of teens die as a result of someone else taking their life; but half die from a “preventable” incident? Should there be a spot light placed on irresponsible motor vehicle operation – for both adults and teens? And what about the Opioid epidemic in this country? Based on the information that is available to the public at this time; opioid related deaths are equivalent to homicide, but not nearly a headline grabbing a topic as a school shooting for media coverage.
Returning to the question above: Our public debate might better be focused on “Our Children vs. Irresponsible Behavior”.
In the field of aviation, every civilian aircraft crash can be attributed to a small insignificant act – human error – that caused a cascading domino effect that causes the aircraft to crash.
Something innocuous such as an improperly tightened nut, or skipping an item in a procedures check. Generally, these incidences never surface and never impact the safety of the aircraft, crew or passenger. But, every once in a while, human nature omits something in the process, which causes something else to fail that goes unnoticed and the dominos start to fall until eventually, the aircraft falls from the sky.
Turning back to our Parkland school shooting; how many dominos fell before that incident? Had just one person intervened and prevented any one of those dominos from toppling, there would be no story.
From what is known to date: If the three Sheriff’s Deputies had stormed the school, if the one Deputy on site had engaged the shooter, if there had been follow up to the suicide hotline call, if officials had escalated reports made to law enforcement, if law enforcement had followed up on tips or if his mother would have acted on seeking help for the suspect’s hurt and pain at the loss of his father; would this have prevented the tragedy?
Should the topic be more along the lines of “Our Children vs. the Imperfections of Human Behavior”?
Are we still asking if this is a “gun” issue?
Did society fail the shooter and by proxy the victims? Do we have a broken system?
“The System”, comprised of policies, procedure and protocols to deal with issues is only a construct of human origin. If those within the system act with a sense of personal duty, character and obligation; the system works for us. Without that personal ownership, and the indifference and irresponsible behavior that follows; any system will break down and the people of society lose; and lives are lost!
Fact or Fiction?
We’ve discussed some pretty important topics that are currently being ignored; let’s consider some misrepresentations you will hear in the public debate currently in play:
“18 school shootings in 2018”. Everytown for Gun Safety is responsible for providing that misrepresentation. The reportable fact is that since 2013 there have only been 5 school shootings similar to the Parkland shooting. Still, we think that 5 is still too many.
“The Second Amendment is Outdated”. A complex consideration, but based on known views of the authors of the Bill of Rights, that amendment is probably NOT outdated. It’s construct was to allow for the citizenry to organize into a combat force to confront attacks on the new republic. The individuality of the amendment was not a consideration to the authors as it was expected that individuals would assemble with their tools of combat to repel attacks on the republic. Their expectation is that we the citizens, as a collective of individuals, should combat the threats and attacks made upon our soil, our people, and our nation. These threats, and their associated risks to our way of life are still real and valid in today’s environment. We only need look at recent history to witness that risk with overlords ruling with an iron first, crushing the lifestyle of the people. (There is much more content to cover hear, but that is a discussion for another day.)
“The mentally ill should not be able to buy a firearm”. To this topic, we agree. For someone that has trouble with functioning in daily society, having access to a firearm is risking danger to themselves and others. But; if we consider the character and personality of the perpetrators of mass shootings, what in their background would lead to a red flag? The Parkland shooting aside; most shooters share a trait of rampant depression and social isolation. They may have personality flaws, but they function in society. Without advanced psychological evaluation, the average layperson would not be able to distinguish the mental illness of the actor from any other individual with in their surroundings. And who get’s to make the decision on who can, and who cannot own a gun? There are certainly many different types of mental illness; and not all mentally ill people are dangerous.
“Civilians should not own an assault weapon”. First, it should be cleared up that there is no such thing as an “assault” weapon. Assault is a word describing a human act; it is not an adjective attributed to an object. In fact, any device can be used as a weapon; blade, projectile, blunt object and yes, pressure cookers – all can be a tool of death. If used responsibly, that tool is an advantage for society; if not, well, we know the alternative. And for purposes of clarification; AR-15 does not stand for “Assault Rifle”, it is a model number that represents Armalite Rifles and AR-15 is Armalite Rifle model 15. The only difference between a classic semi-automatic rifle and a modern sporting rifle is the wood grain stock in comparison to plastic and metal railings. All semi-automatic rifles operate in the same fashion; one trigger pull launches one bullet. The next bullet requires another pull on the trigger.
“We need more comprehensive background checks for a firearm purchase”. This sounds good for a sound bite. Requiring more extensive background checks may be a worthwhile action; however, considering the most recent shooting, there was sufficient material on the shooter to have thrown up red flags in any background check – had that material been escalated to proper authorities and acted upon. And in the case of the Sutherland Springs church shooting, authorities never entered critical information into the database that would have prevented the shooter from obtaining the guns used in his assault ( and yes, that is the proper use of the word assault).
Thoughts for Consideration
If we are serious about protecting our children while they are in school; then the topic is not “Our Children vs. ‘Fill in the Blank’”, the focus needs to be realistic actions that provide security at the school. Getting rid of guns is not the answer. Some items to consider might be:
- Install airport style security at every entrance and exit to the school building
- Install cameras at entrances and in the hallways – and have them monitored
- Bring armed security into the school building (armed and TRAINED teachers and staff or independently hired and TRAINED security)
- Establish an emergency response and lock down plan
- Hold parents and students accountable for actions – punish bad behavior
- Accept that teachers are there to teach; parenting is NOT their responsibility
- If our children are worth everything, why are schools so underfunded?
- Get involved in your child’s life as a parent, know them as individuals, and get to know their friends and their friend’s parents
As humans, as a society, as family we have a responsibility to the next generation to provide an opportunity for them to learn and become responsible adult citizens.
Let them watch as we come together and realistically, rationally and responsibly address this challenge to provide a secure facility where our children can mature to take on their role and responsibility as informed adults.
Stay Alert, Stay Safe.
© Copyright 2018 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
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