Gun safety for gang bangers - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Gun safety for gang bangers

This spring has seen quite a lot of gun violence throughout America, much of which apparently can be attributed to gang activity, per reports on the issue. Often, Joe Citizen becomes an unintended casualty, caught in the spastic crossfire. Heat – the temperature kind – may be a factor, as was the case in Chicago,Ill., over Memorial Day weekend, where something like 40 shootings occurred during record high temperatures.

(Note to gangs: Memorial Day does not describe a tombstone contest. It’s actually about American soldiers who sacrificed … oh, never mind. Stay in school.)

What would Capone do?

It’s clear that you gang members are not taking this business of shooting guns seriously. As a result, you aren’t taking each other out in sufficient numbers, nor expediently, and certainly not accurately. No, your work is too often sloppy, even amateur, especially when you wound or kill innocent bystanders.

Al Capone posing for the coppers.

The real gangsters, like Al Capone, John Dillinger, Joe Pesci, Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, and their respective henchmen, were far more stately and elegant about their gang violence, because they could apparently shoot straight, or aim, or at least waited until their target was nowhere near a stranger or crowd of same.

And they actually aimed at their targets using those things on the TOP of the gun barrel, those things gun experts like to call “sights.” They also apparently discarded most of their murder weapons in Lake Delton, WI, if the countless ’30s-era guns found at the bottom of that lake are any indication. You may recall that Lake Delton accidentally drained when a thin part of the shore gave way after record rains in the Badger State, on June 9, 2008. But I digress. The gun point is: Point your gun accurately.

(Note to gangs: The SIDE of a gun has no sights. Therefore, holding a firearm sideways – with the sights tipped 90 degrees left or right from vertical – is not a reliable way to aim a firearm.)

Cowboy manners

A true gunman, hunter or gunfighter knows his target and aims accordingly. Consider that, in the Wild West, gunslingers in those 10-count-step-away duels were not intent upon shooting up the crowds of observers morbidly rubber-necking their somber contest. No, these marksmen were intent, as should you be, on taking each other out, period. Leave the passers by, the audience, the lookie-lou’s, the gawking bystanders, out of your ass-cap blastings.

Hunter safety

Imagine what a chaotic, insane wreck hunting would be if groups of two or more shot each other up hunting for a squirrel or ‘possum or mice or mosquitoes or no-hunting signs or road signs or whatever it is hunters hunt. Hunters do shoot each other, but with extreme rarity. You, as a proud gang member and wanna-be gunslinger, can certainly out-shoot a crazy redneck, the likes of whom are bent on taking down cute, furry (or shaven, if our bizarre society soon goes that way) animals and road signs and sparrows for sport, fun, and food.

Cheney making a point. (Courtesy photo)

If the vast majority of hunters, except Dick Cheney, can safely hunt, surely you can safely shoot-out. Give it a try. Wait ’til the area clears before you aim at the guy you hate, instead of plugging the dude or babe or baby your bullet just met one trigger-pull ago. Consider enrolling in a hunter-safety course, to learn some basics. The NRA sponsors these in all major metropolitan areas, and swampy backwoods communities. And all points between.

Oops

In Seattle, WA, a self-proclaimed gang banger accidentally shot a bystander in the leg just outside Folklife Festival, which speaking from personal experience, is grossly overpopulated with hippies and organic  hemp and drums and guitar-accompanied wailings and related ballads, and persistently pungent smells of patchouli and burning grass (though not the kind you mow from your lawn). The lousy-aim shooter, apprehended fairly quickly, admitted to being in a gang and said he intended to shoot a rival gang member.

But he missed.

And hit someone not involved in his feud. Later, in court, the gang banger said he was sorry for having shot an innocent bystander in the leg. At the same festival in 2008, a woman and man, both bystanders, were hit by a bullet (apparently a single bullet, if news accounts are assumed accurate) discharged during a tussle between two other festival goers.

Florida: Land of the FREE!

Jeb thinking; we think.

Such carefree handgun play as many gangs enjoy may fare best in the state of Florida, where your aim and intent appear to be non-issues, given the “stand your ground” law in place since 2005. Recent investigations reveal that, thanks to this law (which allows you to shoot at, rather than retreat from, an attacker), it’s OK to blast a cap into someone in the back or who is lying down. There’s nothing more threatening in the universe than an attacker who’s rolling on the ground or walking  away from you.

According to state records, of about 200 “stand your ground” cases in Florida where defendants wrapped themselves in this handy law, 70 percent were not charged. How sweet is that? So load up the truck and move to Beverly …  Hills, that is, Florida. Zip code 34464 and 34465.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush welcomes you with all his arms.

Drive it or park it

As for all these drive-by shootings, it’s really best not to shoot from a moving vehicle. Most hunters aren’t inclined to fire at their prey while they’re falling from a tree stand, or while running full-tilt down a hill. Either way, from a speeding truck, weaving car, or rolling head over heels down a hill, your aim just gets all jostled around and bullets fly everywhere except to the intended target. Children and women you don’t know or don’t dislike absorb your projectiles, and the wily target of your disaffection gets away.

This is not a good plan.

News of an innocent bystander gunned down by a bullet fired from a car with bad shocks going 80 down a residential street only brings massive damage to property and immeasurable grief to a community and beyond, whereas a bullet skillfully and accurately lodged into the skull of a rival gang member brings grief to that person’s friends and family, but some degree of tragic relief to the rest of the world. “But he was a wonderful boy,” we read in the news accounts, so rest assured that your rival will at least be eulogized in a recent news article about his demise.

And sometimes, your bad aim has unintended consequences beyond the obvious. In Milwaukee, some years back, a drive-by shooting killed a little girl playing in the area. This wretched event also ended the extremist-radio career of an Ann Coulter wanna-be named Jessica McBride, who used the innocent child-victim’s untimely death to make tasteless jabs at a local politician.

Take a chill pill

It’s also best not to lose your cool when you’re packing heat. Ideally, you don’t escalate an incident. Rather, you defend yourself against danger when it comes at you. In one Seattle tragedy, a gang-banger killed a young lady and wounded her boyfriend because, as the gang-banger explains it, he felt “disrespected” by the two.

Most of us average citizens who belong to the Humans gang (a.k.a., “human race”) understand that audibly laughing at the way you walk around with your pants around your knees and wear your ball cap all sideways and wave your hands around with random fingers extended would only amount to a wild eruption of bullets and indecipherable slang headed in our general direction, so we tend to keep our laughter to ourselves and give you a wide berth on the sidewalks.

Learning from the past (again)
Al Capone and company didn’t go around wearing their pants around their ankles. No. These guys dressed to the nines, with class. They got seats at fine restaurants while wearing high fashion, not by wearing their pants as shoes. Neither did Dillinger and Babyface Nelson run around shooting strangers in the face because a stranger failed to tip their hat or kiss the passing Don’s ring.

No. The real gangsters went after each other and left everyone else – except the pursuing cops, of course – alone. Even the cops manage to not shoot bystanders. Consider: How would the St. Valentine’s Day massacre have played out if Capone’s boys had summoned their targets to the middle of, say, the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade? The Thompson sub-machine guns they used in the actual massacre would have cut down countless citizens, that’s how. But the true gangsters of yesteryear used cunning and disguise. They managed to corral their prey into a warehouse under false pretenses–posing as cops, no less. No innocent bystanders got so much as scratched in that brief, noisy celebration.

Advice from the NRA                   

Maybe it’s time to review the basics, such as the four basic rules of hunter’s safety, per the National Rifle Association, that stalwart national lobby that tirelessly fights for your right to gun fight, presented here with minor edits to address your gangsta needs:

  1. Treat every gun as if it is loaded. Yes, they’re often ready to shoot, even when you think no bullets are in the gun. If it goes “click” and not “bang” after you pull the trigger, resist the urge to look down the barrel to see if a bullet is crawling out, or if the barrel is obstructed. Often, a “misfire” will discharge within 60 seconds of having initially failed. And believe me, if the barrel is obstructed with a functional, fired round, you’ll need a new gun, assuming you survived the ensuing shrapnel.
  2. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction. By “safe,” this means at the ground or at the rival gangster you hate.
  3. Be certain of your target and what’s beyond it. Also, be certain of what is to the left, right, above, and below your target, especially when you’re firing from a vehicle going 120 down a school-zone street while wearing your hat all sideways and with your pants in a knot around your knees. Somehow, you guys manage to shoot everyone and everything around your target, but not your target.
  4. Keep your finger out of the trigger guard until ready to shoot. This is important if you don’t want to shoot your boy-parts off, as the following account illustrates.

The pistol as nutcracker

In May 2010, a guy in Lynnwood, Wash., decided to throw on a pair of sweat pants and head to a hardware store to shop for some guy stuff. His first mistake was stuffing his Glock 9mm semi-auto pistol into the flimsy waistband at the front of his sweat pants. His second mistake, while he was in the store, was to blindly grab at the sidearm to hike it back up while it slid down into his nether region. The weapon was loaded. He accidentally put his finger inside the trigger guard. The gun discharged, and the bullet passed through one of his testicles and lodged into his leg. No charges were filed because it was considered an accidental discharge, and the guy had a concealed-carry permit . And the cops and store management probably figured that the guy paid a heavy fine the moment that gun discharged in the store.

So be careful out there.


About the author

Mark Forseth

Mark Forseth is a regulatory technical writer with the Federal Aviation Administration in Seattle, Wash. His career has centered on public-broadcast journalism and technical writing for such industries as GE Medical; ABB Robotics; Harley-Davidson Motorcycles; Allen-Bradley Motion Controls; Johnson Controls; and Imago Scientific instruments, among others. Contact the author.
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