It’s happened again. A hunter accidentally shot and killed his guide on a brown bear hunt in Alaska. Details are sketchy now, but authorities believe there wasn't any foul play. Now this was no kid or backwoods Gomer. Rather it was a cardiovascular surgeon from Ohio. It would seem prudent to review Jeff Cooper’s Four Rules for Gun Safety:
All guns are always loaded.
If everyone treated every gun as if it is loaded at all times there never would be the lament of, “I didn’t know it was loaded.
Never allow the muzzle to cover anything you aren’t willing to see destroyed.
Arguably the most violated rule of the four, a lack of “muzzle awareness” is indefensible. This also includes the morons who use their riflescope as a binocular.
Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.
Right behind the second rule as the most often violated rule; the trigger is just that—the final human/object interface for fire control. It is not a resting spot for your trigger finger.
Be sure of your target and what is behind it.
Guns cause excitement. That’s why we like them, but excitement can blur focus and/or create tunnel vision. Veteran gunnies are as at risk for this as a neophyte. You must be absolutely sure of your target and everything behind it.
As I said, details of this Alaskan tragedy are still forthcoming, but here—as in all so-called accidental gun tragedies—at least two of the rules must be broken in order for the tragedy to occur. It doesn’t matter whether you have been handling guns all your life or are just starting. You own everything that comes out of that gun, and it is your sole responsibility to know where it will land.