I’m All For Thorough Reporting

But I think this staff reporter must be fresh out of school. I remember the days of all too wordy explanations in order to fulfill minimum word counts.  Although, I would generally make an effort to have some clue about my subject matter. How else would you explain a paragraph like this?

As the two men sat eating at a desk in the office area of the store, Huskey, a seven-year veteran of the department, went through an elaborate process taught to every law enforcement officer to safely clear a weapon. It involves ejecting the magazine and removing a single bullet that is loaded into the chamber. He then handed the weapon to Bohanan, who looked it over and reloaded the magazine to feel the weight difference between the weapons, a report on the incident states. [emphasis mine]

Could you not just say that he dropped the magazine and locked the slide back to show clear? Oh I see! It’s an elaborate process that only those who have been magically transformed by the deep powers of the shiny badge can master. It’s a skill handed down through generations and must be transferred in a sacred ceremony. First they must retrieve the badge from some watery tart…

Sorry.  Back to the story.

After Bohanan — who started as a deputy in 2006 — passed the weapon back, his recollection of the events indicates he reminded Huskey to reload the bullet into the chamber. Huskey did so, aiming the weapon away from himself and Bohanan, and performing an action called racking the slide where a mechanism that covers the chamber is pulled back and released to allow access for loading the ammunition. [emphasis mine]

What does that even mean? A mechanism that covers the chamber? Must be part of that elaborate process.  No word on whether or not the slide was forged in the fires of Mordor.

For any readers that are unfamiliar, the particular firearm in question is a Glock.  The slide is the part on top that houses the barrel with integral chamber, recoil spring assembly, and firing pin. (Among other things, but we’re keeping this simple.) Racking the slide just means pulling it back. If there is a loaded magazine inserted, the slide will strip a round off of the top and chamber it when it goes forward again.  The gun is loaded and ready to fire at this point.

And this is where the deputy’s elaborate process failed him.

“I did not realize (Bohanan) had put the magazine back into the firearm and, while pointing the firearm in a safe direction, I pulled the slide back and released it, then pulled the trigger to get ready to reload the firearm,” Huskey said in his statement on the situation.

You what? At no point do you need to pull a trigger on a firearm in order to reload it.  What’s rule one again? Say it with me now.

All guns are loaded.

Very good. When someone hands you a firearm, the first thing you do is check it.  We joke at blog meets, when everyone is passing their guns around, about how each person checks it twice.  And that is after you just watched the previous person check it twice.  After they have handed it to you with the action open showing clear.  Each and every gun blogger at the gatherings I have been to will take the firearm and run the slide forward.  Then they will pull the slide back and look in the chamber. They will then look over it and check it again prior to dry firing it pointed in a safe direction.  Commentary is shared, slide is locked back, and the firearm is passed to the next person who will repeat the entire process.

Hmm.  Maybe that is kind of elaborate, actually. But we’ve never murdered the bologna at a blog meet.

The gun released one of the bullets in the magazine when Huskey pulled the trigger, with that projectile flying through the monitor, to and through the wall of a walk-in freezer and lodging in a pack of frozen bologna, Hodges said.

Did you get that? It was the gun that released the bullet, not Huskey. All he did was pull the trigger.  At least they didn’t try to say it ‘just went off.’  Officer Huskey chambered the round when he racked the slide.  Also, it was not released from the magazine. That’s an entirely different kind of problem to have.

“Cpl. Huskey immediately informed the shift supervisor and the store owner of what happened, then the supervisor called me,” Hodges said. “The sheriff, our firearms safety instructor and myself met within an hour of the incident to determine what needed to be done. We also conducted a function check of Cpl. Huskey’s firearm to determine if there was anything wrong with it that could have caused a misfire. We determined the weapon was in working order.”

Of course it was in working order.  It did exactly what it was designed to do. He pulled the trigger; it went bang.  That’s kind of the point. He forgot to engage the safety between his ears, is all. I’m just glad no one was hurt. I hope he learns from his mistakes.

8 thoughts on “I’m All For Thorough Reporting”

  1. “…while pointing the firearm in a safe direction…”

    *BZZZZZZ* Wrong. If it went through a monitor it wasn’t a safe direction.

    It sounds like a perversion of competition shooting…you point the gun in a safe direction and pull the trigger to show that it is empty. Not to get ready to load it.

  2. Unless he was going to remove the slide as part of a tear down, THEN you DO have to pull the trigger.

    Honestly, that’s my guess as to what really happened. They’re doing the whole gun comparison thing, and he just automatically did a trigger pull as part of a tear down behavioral pattern.

    Always gives me the heebie-jeebies when I do it, even though I’ve cleared it. But I always DO clear it!

  3. I know there are plenty of law enforcement types that are competent and skilled with their sidearms and firearms in general.

    I know there are plenty of officers, deputies, troopers, and agents (special or otherwise) that could school me on every aspect of safe and skillful handling of firearms.

    Those two points being made cops with guns still make me nervous. The indoor range across the river where I shoot after work is popular with the local PDs and damned if they aren’t the worst when it comes to flagging the line. I know their training budgets are stretched thin. I know they’ve got to maintain competency with a whole range of tools besides their sidearm. I know that just like the population from which they come not all cops are gunnies. I get that. Really I do. But jeezaloo….

    And again, apologies to those men and women of the badge that actually understand the responsibility inherent to that particular tool on their belt of many pounds. You are the example I would wish the rest to emulate.

    BGM

  4. Dangit, Jennifer…I’m sitting here, at church, in a sanctuary full of needy families (we’re doing our annual “Night of Wonders”, providing food for Christmas dinner and presents for the kids of needy families in the area), and trying so hard not to laugh at the “watery tarts” reference that I’m about to tinkle in my boxers!!! Not cool! Hilarious, but NOT COOL!!!

    (btw, you win the Interwebs for briliant Monty Python sneak-attack)

  5. Wow that’s some awful writing by somebody who THINKS they understand what they’re talking about.

    BTW one defensive point, back when I was still and anti, never held or fired a gun, but watched a lot of movies, I assumed that piece of metal that is inside the ejection port when a pistol is in batter was some sort or mechanical door that retracted when it was time to eject the spent shell, rather than just the chamber that the slide pulled away from.

  6. “I did not realize (Bohanan) had put the magazine back into the firearm and, while pointing the firearm in a safe direction, I pulled the slide back and released it, then pulled the trigger to get ready to reload the firearm”

    This is from his official report/statement? I have never even held a semi-auto pistol, and I know better than to believe that sequence is normal!

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