“Stupid is as stupid does.” – Proverb, circa 1862

While dining after a recent class, the Fortress Staff Instructors were relating to one another a few recent interactions they’d had with strangers.

As we went around the table, an obvious pattern formed.

It seems that we’re all regularly subjected to stories of poor gun handling and close calls by those who know we’re firearms instructors. Understand, said stories are not secondhand accounts from 3rd parties, rather they are from the people who actually engaged in the awful, unsafe, and sometimes illegal, behavior!

I’ve had it happen to me twice in the past two weeks. Someone finds out what I do and they immediately launch into some tale of personal failure with a firearm. However, they don’t actually see it as failure, they either want validation (I’m supposed to tell them what they did was “OK”) or, they think it’s funny and expect me to laugh with them.

The stories are horrific – brandishing, warning shots, holes in apartment walls, drunken discharges, road rage incidents, property damage – we couldn’t even begin to catalog it all!

And upon hearing such tails of idiocy, every one of us had the same stomach-turning revulsion and shocked disbelief. All while the orators think they’re relating to us and we’re now friends.

When it comes to those who haven’t experienced professional training and don’t have a clue what we do, we don’t want to hear about their misdemeanors or felonies – We don’t think it’s funny!

We find it embarrassing…because they’re NOT embarrassed. And they’re not embarrassed because it’s still not registering with them how terrible their actions were.

They lack shame.

Shame is a byproduct of guilt, and shame surfaces when a person accepts responsibility for their personal sins.

In our world, they have yet to repent. And until they do, we consider them heretics. No different than a heathen expecting a Christian to laugh with them while recounting the night their wife left with the kids because they blew the rent money on drugs and alcohol.

It’s not funny, it’s sad, pathetic, and disturbing. Not just because it’s stupid behavior, but because they are obviously refusing to learn any practical lesson from it. And, should they continue the same pattern of transgression, we know how it will end – tragically!

Some might argue it’s a cry for help – a confession to the priest, if you will – I don’t think so. I’ve handed plenty of cards to such people and they don’t show up to train. No, this is ignorance and pride. And that’s an incredibly dangerous combination.

We all make mistakes. And we can all humbly pass on accounts of those mistakes as a teaching point to others. That’s great, and should be encouraged. However, having a sense of pride about one’s unintentional or illegal firearm discharges is an act of desecration in our “temple.” We’re apostles preaching “The Way”, and they appear as apostates burning our holy text.

Those who insist on engaging in such irreverence will never be one of us.

To be one of us, you must repent! (As we have.)

Repent of your sin and religiously practice our 4 Commandments, blessed upon us by the Rev. Jeff Cooper:

1. All guns are always loaded. [At all times we treat every gun as if it is loaded. That includes the counter at the gun shop.]

2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. [Can you afford what your muzzle is pointed at?]

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are aligned and you’ve made a conscious decision to shoot.

4. Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.

Next time you send rounds over your neighbor’s head because his dog shits on your lawn, don’t be surprised when we excommunicate your schismatic ass…and you wind up in jail.

“For the wages of sin is death…” – Romans 6:23