What a Hot Iron and a Gun Have in Common
Updated: Nov 12, 2019
So I came to an important realization after I burned myself on a hot iron that my boyfriend had just used to get the wrinkles out of his shirt. The mindset you have around guns is just as impor
tant, if not more, than whether or not its loaded. Let me explain how burning myself has anything to do with handling a gun.
My boyfriend uses this iron every morning on his work shirts, but I personally never use it. Before leaving for work he irons his shirt, unplugs the iron and leaves it on the floor to cool. It never really leaves that spot next to the outlet, therefore the majority of the time I see it, it isn't hot. Being the clumsy individual I am, I sometimes run into it during the day while reaching for something on the counter or switching on the light. I always trusted that it wasn’t hot... because it usually wasn’t. One morning we went through our usual routine. I did my yoga and he ironed his shirt while getting ready to leave for work. He left it in the usual spot as it cooled. The thing about routines is that muscle memory begins to kick in. We tend to go on auto-pilot and make certain assumptions based on the past. As I went to step back over the iron after getting a banana, it was like my body was moving in its usual path before my mind could even detect that something may be different. The split second before my leg hit the iron, I remember time slowing down just enough for me to lightly contemplate whether or not it was hot. Because I have tripped over it before and I usually assumed it was room temperature, and also because I had a split second to decide this before my leg hit, my mind determined it was cool. I quickly realized that it was scalding hot and my skin was burning. My leg is still healing as I write this, reminding me of what I learned.
Later that morning I hopped into the shower where this parallel hit me. This experience can be applied directly to firearms. My repeated assumptions that the iron wasn’t hot created a pathway in my brain that would then carry me into future interactions with that object. Then when it came down to a split second decision, that pathway I had created was the main factor. One of the 4 main safety rules when it comes to firearms is to always assume it’s loaded. This rule keeps you and everyone around you safe from accidental discharge. Even if you clear it every single day, you are still human and something could still happen where you forget you loaded it or someone else tampers with it when you aren’t looking. The rule creates the muscle memory so when it comes to a split second decision, you will automatically assume that it’s loaded. I don’t think that I gave enough credit to our repeated assumptions until an assumption that I had solidified in my mind translated into an action that got me burned. We should probably all remember that when it comes down to taking action quickly, our minds in the moment rely on the assumptions we have made and what we have deemed to be true in our minds. Please be safe!
For anyone that needs them, the four safety rules are:
1. Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded
2. Never point the firearm at something or someone you are not intentionally willing to destroy
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot
4. What your target and what's beyond it (bullets can go through walls)