When I was riding motorcycles all the time, we had a saying “it’s not if you’ll go down, it’s when.” In shooting, I have heard the same saying about negligent discharges. It’s my number one fear, as I have seen great dudes get kicked out of schools and packages for letting a round fly when they should not have. I hope it’s not when, but if.
Yesterday, at a steel match, I’m sitting on a bench in between stages and another shooter politely asks me what I do for work. I tell him I do a few different things, and ask what he needs. He asks if I’m a medic and tells me a guy on the next stage over just shot himself. At that point, I sprint over to see what’s happening. The range had a golf cart there to transport the man to the front of the range. The guy who shot himself was standing there bandaged up, gathering his things. When I glanced down and saw a nice white field dressing on the man’s leg, I knew it wasn’t life threatening and asked somebody what happened.
A friend of mine who is a college senior with no background in field medicine got the shooter all patched up. Here is his reply when I asked him to sum up his background for this short article:
“Oh god, haha. I’m a senior in college. Medical training is basic first aid kind of stuff, a wilderness medicine course, stuff I learned back in the day when I was a boy scout, and a lot of youtube videos and books on how to field treat gunshot wounds.”
This young American knew his environment, what could go wrong, and planned accordingly. He’s taking responsibility when he should and he’s prepared to do so. I have a friend who routinely says, “it’s all about knowing your environment and how to operate it.” He’s spot on. Now, while the gunshot wound was not life threatening, this is still quite remarkable. This is what we need more of, more responsible citizens, personal responsibility, and people willing to help. To my friend who patched the guy up, well done.