Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The First Priority

Sue's DQ - YouTube

The YouTube Video is not clear, but it seems that the lady brought loaded magazines to the Safety Table in her hand. This is a clear violation of rule 10.5.12:

10.5.12 Handling live or dummy ammunition (including practice or training rounds, snap caps and empty cases), loaded magazines or loaded speed loading devices in a Safety Area, or failing to comply with (http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif Rule 2.4.1. )
The word “handling” does not preclude competitors from entering a Safety Area with ammunition in magazines or speed loading devices on their belt, in their pockets or in their range bag, provided the competitor does not physically remove the loaded magazines or loaded speed loading devices from their retaining or storage device while within the Safety Area.

If the shooter brought loaded magazines in her hand to the safety table, the rule is appropriately applied.

This is a rare and difficult enforcement of the rule; it requires that the competitor violate safety rules in the presence of a Range Officer, or someone wh is qualified to act in that capacity.

IF the supposition is true (the competitor did 'handle live ammunition' at the safety table) then the DQ is legitimate. No question about it.

This has always been one of the more difficult Safety Rules to monitor. Again, it presupposes that the infraction occurred in the presence of a Range Officer.

At the same time, it's one of the easiest Safety Rules to break. You see in the video that the competitor was paying more attention to her conversation, than to the safety rule.

It may happen that the purpose of this competitor's live is to provide a good example of a bad practice.

Competitors may handle ammunition ANY WHERE on the range .... except at the Safety Table. Until she actually laid the loaded magazines (?) on the table, she was deemed "safe".

During my "Introduction to USPSA" classes, I try to emphasize that all safety infractions are similarly penalized by a Match DQ. This rule is difficult to illustrate, because I have never seen a violation. Now I have seen one, and while the Match DQ seems "friendly", it had the same necessary consequence; the competitor seems to be insufficiently aware of safety considerations, and is disqualified from further competition.

I think this DQ Judgement, while unusual and perhaps a little bizarre (given the circumstances) may well serve as a valuable example to both new and old shooters, for a variety of reason:

  • ALL Safety rules are equally applicable, and must be imposed upon EVERY incidence;
  • Participants in USPSA/IPSC competition are perceived in a common practice; running around with loaded gun (not at all times ... supposedly). We are all subject to the most stringent safety rules, and a violation of ANY rule necessitates a Match DQ, because it illustrates that the offender is not in the right mental state to be trusted with his/her loaded gun;
  • This incident was clearly a situation where the 'offender' has been distracted, and yet the most powerful consequence (being disallowed to continue in competition) has arbitrarily been imposed upon her. This is entirely appropriate. The existing rules serve to identify an "un-aware competitor", and remove her from the competitive. The rules work to support the primary goal of "SAFETY", above all other considerations.
  • If the safety rules sometimes seem to be too harsh, they still impose the SAFETY priority; even in marginal circumstances, they identify and remove unsafe shooters from the competitive environment. This serves the sport, and guarantees the safety of other competitors wh share the range with the unsafe violator.
The last two discussion points obviously overlap. This is entirely within the philosophy of competitive Safety Ruless, which apply a "Belt AND Suspenders" method of stopping unsafe shooters before they can violate even more drastic Safety Rules.

We want everyone to go home from the match without injury, or fear of injury. If one competitor is forbidden to compete (for reasons of safety), that is MUCH better than that this or another competitor be injured.

We will NOT accept an unsafe shooter into our ranks. If a competitor cannot understand, accept and practice the safety rules 100% of the time, it's better to penalize that shooter than to ask other competitors to accept the risk of allowing unsafe conditions to exist.

We are safe.

That is the first priority.

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