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ADs and NDs: A Curious Badge of Honor

They’ve been flooding my newsfeed on Facebook for months. Big holes, little holes, ragged holes, relatively clean-edged holes. Thighs, hands, sides, and a somewhat surprising posterior. Sometimes only holes, other times missing important chunks of tissue and pieces of tendon, chunks of bone. Always bloody, always mangled to one degree or another. There seems to be an epidemic of Accidental Discharge/Negligent Discharge situations, but odder still there seems to be an epidemic of ADs and NDs being cool. Wait. What?

Interestingly, the posters are unfailingly male. Whether this is due to only men being idiots – which I can testify is not at all true – or whether it’s due to only men being willing to openly showcase their idiocy for all to see, it’s hard to say for sure. But these cases of an ND (or AD, depending on who you ask) are being delivered with amusement if not out-right pride. “Look at this awesome hole I blew in my side, a little to the left and I’d be dead, isn’t that awesome?” they say with unmistakable glee. Then begins the explanation. The holster screwed up, they say, or perhaps their tee shirt bunched up and somehow worked its way into the trigger guard – through the holster. The gun somehow went off, they exclaim, and God knows how so it’s being sent straight back to the manufacturer (they claim with no small amount of self-righteousness).

Are they all hopped up on post-ER morphine or prescription narcotics when they write these posts – complete with pictures, no less – or are they just experiencing a major lapse of judgement?

Apparently quite a few readers are experiencing the same lapse, because the threads following the ND/AD posts invariably go as follows: those holsters have a reputation for causing guns to go off, one guy comments, while another adds his two cents of your gun has the wrong safety/worthless trigger/dumb trigger guard/was built in a factory on Mars. Are there ever any naysayers in the crowd? Of course, but the naysayers seem to be outnumbered by those commiserating with the poor, hapless poster with an alarming frequency.

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The obvious signs seem to be largely ignored: a picture clearly showing the poster’s hand must have been covering the muzzle of the offending weapon at the time it fired or an image depicting entrance and exit wounds that really could only have been created one way at a certain angle. Then there’s the little detail of history. Why not let your fingers walk your Facebook page on over to the poster’s page, which is invariably replete with photos depicting foolish or downright stupid behavior with firearms. Best of all are the supposed victims who have spent months or years sharing pictures of themselves drinking copious amounts of alcohol while playing with guns (and if you’re going to argue that it’s possible to drink and shoot responsibly, let’s make this easy: get off my article).

ADs and NDs Basics

It seems it’s time to clear up some confusion regarding how guns work. A brief tutorial: finger on trigger, gun goes bang. Whatever object – whether animal, plant, mineral, or humanoid – was in front of the muzzle of said gun gets hit by the fast-moving projectile exiting said gun’s muzzle. Easy enough…right?

Now, a refresher course on the four golden rules of gun safety: 1) Treat every gun as if it is loaded, 2) Know your target and what is beyond it, 3) Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target, and – here’s the big one – 4) Do not point your gun at anything you are not willing to destroy (or obliterate, mangle, amputate, make mincemeat of…you get the idea).

With these basics in mind, it’s time to cover something a little more complicated. Negligent Discharge versus Accidental Discharge or, as is easier to put it, ND vs. AD.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence refers to something being done out of a failure to use one’s brain. Too harsh? Okay. Being negligent is when someone does something dumb because they aren’t paying attention or using common sense. Now for the other one. Accidental means it shouldn’t have happened, but outside, unforeseen, uncontrollable forces conspired to make it so. When something is an accident, it was out of your control.

With guns, we are all aware accidents happen. Sometimes a trigger is improperly manufactured or improperly installed. Sometimes an internal mechanism does its job when it shouldn’t. These are the exceptions to the rule, and these are the times a bullet goes zipping off into the ether without warning. This is the reason for the golden rules, specifically number four: do not point your gun at anything you are not willing to destroy. That means if an accident happens, the resulting bullet won’t injure or kill an innocent bystander.

Negligence is something else altogether. There are far too many people out there who either own a gun or have access to a gun and not only ignore the golden rules but pretty much dance a reckless jig all over them. These tend to be the people who pay no attention to who they are sweeping with the muzzle of their (loaded) gun and who think it’s a great idea to purposefully fire at solid, ricochet-inducing objects. These are also the people who blame a firearm’s manufacture for an injury or death when it was them, the shooter, who had their finger on the trigger and/or the muzzle of the gun pointed at a loved one.

So when someone posts pictures of their bullet-hole riddled body parts on Facebook, is it an ND or an AD? Well, it depends on the situation. Sometimes it was an AD. Sometimes. Most of the time it was an ND. More often than not, the injury took place not due to a holster with violent tendencies but due to their own irresponsible practices.

Final Remarks

The real question is why people are suddenly so comfortable posting these incidents. It really does seem as though an ND has become some sort of warped badge of honor, at least in the minds of the original posters. To them this is not evidence of monumental stupidity but a sign they sure did get lucky, darn it all! They did get lucky, and so did those around them at the time of the gun being fired recklessly. That bullet could have removed fingers entirely or destroyed just the right muscle in their leg to cause a permanent limp. That bullet could have killed them or, far worse, killed one of their friends or family members. And yet they continue to post, and they do not seem to have learned their lesson despite what one would think was an obvious display of “just a fraction of an inch more and I’d be dead, holy crap I never want to go through that again.” Instead, they laugh it off and move on to recklessly endanger people another day.

It tends not to make you popular when you call people out online. Getting on any social media platform and being one of the few – or the only – person to stand up and draw a line in the sand tends not to get you friends. But sometimes it’s necessary, and considering the sudden proliferation of “look at my self-inflicted gunshot wound” posts, it seems it is time to make a few enemies.

To those posters: stop being stupid. You didn’t just scrape by, you got inordinately lucky to escape with your life. Guns are not toys and a gunshot wound is not a badge of honor when you inflict it upon yourself by being a fool. If you absolutely must post your mishap on Facebook, admit that you were wrong and use it as a teaching moment (thus far I have only seen this approach taken once). And whatever else you do, make sure it never happens again. Follow the golden rules and for heaven’s sake, get some lessons. Sign up for a basic handgun class, because it is all too clear you have not advanced past the earliest stage of beginner. It’s not a badge of honor, it’s a mark of a moron.

Oh, and one more thing: it was an ND. End of story.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

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