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Wednesday, March 06, 2013


Greetings and Salutations to All my Kith and Kin and All the Ships in Outer Space:

Why is it that whenever I watch a movie or a television show, all of the scenes involving firearms consistently depict unsafe practices?

You would think that after so many years have gone by, that by now, screenwriters and directors would have learned how to show firearms being used correctly, especially when the show's screen credits indicate assistance from technical advisers.

How many times have you seen a movie or television show where a good guy is pointing a gun at a bad guy, and saying, "Drop your weapon", and/or, "Toss the gun away"?

You NEVER ever do that!

The impact of a dropped or thrown firearm could very easily result in an accidental discharge of the weapon.

Instead, you order the bad guy to carefully place the weapon on the ground, and slowly move away from it.

Another all too-common fallacy is seeing a movie actor putting a pistol or revolver in their pocket, or even worse, tucking the firearm inside the waistband of their trousers.

What - - - , a person is going to spend all that money to purchase a really decent gun (after all, they ain't cheap), but they won't spend a few extra bucks so they can safely and efficiently wear that gun in a proper holster?

What kind of sense does that make?

You sure as Sam Hill don't want to be in a situation where you need your gun in a hurry, but it snags on your clothing as you're trying to yank it from a coat pocket.

And for OBVIOUS reasons, you would never tuck a loaded firearm inside the waistband of your trousers, unless you don't mind spending the rest of your life as a eunuch.

If you need to carry a pistol, then for the sake of safety, wear a proper holster.

In movies featuring military combat, over and over and over, I see guys kill enemy soldiers, after which they just walk away from the dead and/or wounded enemy, leaving their weapons and ammunition.

Uh uh, no way!

You NEVER ever leave weapons, ammunition, and/or ordnance behind.

You collect everything, including all weapons and gear, and you search their pockets for anything that might have intelligence value.

Any weapons, ammunition, and/or ordnance which can't be retrieved is immediately destroyed.

Another thing that Hollywood seems to always get wrong is showing someone who has never used a gun picking one up and effectively firing it.

So far as I'm aware, the only type of gun that can be picked up and immediately fired would be a fully loaded double action revolver.

All other types of firearms, i.e., shotguns, rifles, carbines, semi-automatic pistols, et cetera, have at least one safety switch, and some firearms have two safety switches, partly intended to prevent accidental discharge by an untrained novice.

Despite never having touched a gun previously, does the untrained novice already know how to load ammunition into the magazine, and/or how to chamber a round?

Does the untrained novice know how to line up the rear sight with the front sight, and how to properly hold that particular type of firearm?

Then, of course, there are the innumerable Western movies where the good guy uses his pistol to defeat the bad guys, who have rifles, and it's done with unbelievable accuracy at impossible distances.

How many Western movies have we seen where a guy just grabs his revolver and charges into a gunfight without even opening the cylinder?

Checking to see whether the gun is actually loaded or not is the very FIRST thing you do!

Those same Western movies show the unrealistic gunfights being face to face, mano a mano, with the good guy keeping his pistol holstered until the last second.

In actuality, a Western lawman would already have his gun out and ready to fire BEFORE he faced the bad guy, and chances are, that Western lawman, if he perceived a threat, would merely  ambush the bad guy and shoot him in the back.

CLUE: You NEVER give the bad guy an even chance - - - EVER!

When the good guys are fighting crime, NEVER fight fair, never attempt to do it by yourself, and never fight one on one.


Because the price of losing that fight is too great - - - , i.e., your life!

Hollywood likes to show police officers holding a pistol next to their head, with the barrel pointed skyward, but only because that makes a better visual impression on the screen.

The safe way for a police officer (or anyone) to carry their pistol is down by their side, with the barrel pointed towards the ground.

Think about that.

If the gun should accidentally discharge, would you rather have that deafening noise and blinding flash next to your head (and the possibility of the bullet hitting your head), or down by your leg, with the bullet harmlessly going into the dirt?

Also, what goes up must come down, which is why you do not fire your weapon into the air, because that bullet will come down - - - where? 

Hollywood also tends to incorrectly portray resolution of hostage and/or barricaded suspect situations.

For instance, even if it means a hostage's life is forfeit, you never surrender your weapon to a criminal, or else it might well result in more deaths at the hands of that violent felon.

Years ago, it was common practice for police officers to use their service revolvers as their primary weapon, and leave their shotgun in the patrol car as an emergency backup weapon.

Now, with the advent of Special Weapons And Tactics (i.e., "S.W.A.T.") teams, that outlook has changed completely.

Today, the police officer's primary weapon for a forced entry and/or building search is the shotgun or carbine, while the pistol is now considered a backup weapon.

Hollywood almost always shows a homeowner responding to a burglar by picking up a baseball bat or golf club, and then searching the darkened rooms of the house before finally confronting the trespasser.

Sometimes, that Hollywood scenario will slightly vary, with the homeowner being armed with a pistol, but still roaming the residence in search of the criminal.

CLUE: Police officers will confirm that the best weapon for defending the home is a short barrel twelve gauge pump shotgun.

Shotguns are nicknamed the "poor man's machine gun", because of their effect.

A shotgun doesn't require any skilled accuracy, and can therefore be employed by females, children, and physically impaired individuals.

A big advantage of a pump shotgun is the distinct sound made when racking a shell into the chamber, a terrifyingly intimidating sound instantly recognizable to every criminal.

CLUE:  If you detect a burglar breaking into your home, do NOT leave your bedroom to go search for him!

Instead, force him to come to you, so that you will have the advantage, and not the burglar.

Close your bedroom door, and if possible, barricade it.

Get down behind your bed, with the shotgun aimed at the door, use your cell phone to call police, and do not hang up or disconnect the call.

CLUE:  Your best burglar alarm for the home is a dog.

No, you don't want a snarling guard dog, for that will get you sued.

All that's needed is your typical, friendly, easy going, happy go lucky, tail wagging mutt, for that dog's natural instinct will be to bark a warning, allowing you to decide how to respond, thus avoiding litigation due to a visitor or a neighbor's child being bitten.

So, what do YOU think?

What are your impressions of how Hollywood seems to invariably portray unsafe firearms use, and WHY do you reckon it's done that way?

Thank you.

John Robert Mallernee 
Armed Forces Retirement Home 
1800 Beach Drive, Unit 311 
Gulfport, Mississippi  39507


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