Friday, January 14, 2011

Conflicted

Most everyone knows I am in the Sporting Goods Industry.  Which means for the past 15 years I've represented a wide range of products.  From the earthy, green outdoorsy stuff like kayaks and canoes and all things that give you the impression I eat Luna bars and do yoga to fishing tackle and WHOA! firearms.  That's right, I've hunted, I've harvested and I've cooked and fed my children resulting meals.  However my last name is Rath, not Palin so you can relax.  I do however have a bumper sticker that reads "God Bless Our Troops, Especially the Snipers" so take it for what you want.

I realize not everyone is ok with this, but this is my life I hope you will respect that and not innundate me with opinions of why I do not (and you do) have issue with hunting and responsible firearm ownership.  Please, I promise you I have heard it all and I do not intend to change my opinion on the subject.  Nuff said.  I do however respect yours and that's why I love all things blogging and sharing, so feel free to share here anyway, I'll just choose to disagree.

Now, point of my posting.  Yesterday on twitter came this

Alabamas13: Person shot at Shelby County pawn shop: Shelby County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a shooting at a Highway 280... http://bit.ly/dXnBXn


There are three pawn/easy money shops on Hwy 280, a very busy stretch of businesses linking Shelby County to Birmingham, most of which I consider very traditional and places I shop & eat - Target, Publix, several banks, great restaurants, Pier One, etc., you get it.  The surrounding subdivisions are some of the nicest in metro Birmingham, we are talking $300,000-$1,000,000+ homes people!  But two of these shops are in driving proximity of the daycare my children attend (as well as several other daycares and schools) and yep, this was one of them. 

Back in October 2009 (sorry folks already familiar with my fb posts, I thought it was last summer, I guess time really does fly) this also happened at this shop - scroll to the last report  on the page.

During that event, the kids were napping, thankfully not outside for play time.  I learned from the staff that the Sherriff's department did respond immediately and locked down the center as well as had troopers outside until the area was confirmed secure.  And although I honestly had absolutely no concerns as I love my daycare, it's a family business, family atmosphere and been around a long, long, long time to see lots of things happen over the years and that this could happen ANYWHERE, but I could not stop thinking that week about the what if's (no explanation needed).

Yesterday when I saw the tweet though, my heart dropped and all I could think of were the what if's. And I knew, the tweet could mean anything, could be another robbery, could be accidental, could be anything.  Of course, by the time the tweet came through, the news was already covering it and that meant law enforcement was already on the scene - nothing I could do immediately that would result in any change of the circumstances, but I did email the owner to make him aware of the situation. 

When I picked up last night, there was nothing to see, no tape across the door, in fact I think they were open.  But this time what went racing through my head was, I need to do something to avoid a what if from becoming, if only we had...

I watched the 10:00 news with baited breath and sure enough just a quick report, no details other than it was an accidental shooting. My mind however screamed only the shooting from that phrase.  Because in my belief as a gun owner, you DO NOT have accidents.  You have irresponsibility, but not accidents.

As an update my husband, who also works with me, was down at the Shelby County Sherriff's Dept today on something unrelated and gleaned some information for me on the incident.


The employees at (said pawn shop) were moving some display cases in the store and it seems one of them, I have heard from other sources it was the owner's son, removed his sidearm holster and pistol and set it down. Another employee picked it up to move it and discharged the weapon, accidently, killing one person - I believe it was the owner's son that was killed.

As a person in the firearms/hunting industry I have major problems with this.  Anyone that is trained and is a responsible firearm owner, especially one with a permit to carry a sidearm on person, will tell you that you do NOT leave anything in the chamber, EVER. Second, when removing the firearm from his person, the very first thing should have been to check the action prior to leaving it out of his immediate possession to be sure it was clear. I could go on but I won't.

I am saddened that a tragedy has happened to the people involved, do not misunderstand my intentions. My underlying issue here is a business which handles sales of firearms has had two separate instances of concern. One was not under their control per se (the robbery), the other was due to irresponsibility (my opinion). 

I do not take lightly irresponsible behavior, especially when it comes to businesses that should be handling things on heightened safety.  I can only hope the ATF will take a close look at the procedures and safety precautions and overall business practices at this place with due scrutiny. I've lived on 280 for nearly 14 years and have seen many transitions, just lately I've become more aware of the environment. I LOVE 280, I don't care about the traffic, it's what I identify as my home in this city even though we live in the boonies of Chelsea/Columbiana. And I am going to figure out a way to voice my concerns about this business, to our elected officials and through whatever avenues I can to make sure I feel comfortable that if only we had, never happens. 

If you wish to join me, or have any information that could help, comment or catch me at daycare. 

And please keep in mind, I am only concerned with this particular business and it's practices.  I am confident after the 50 years that my company has been around, that the businesses which we service and the majority of the industry members do follow the proper regulations and safety requirements and I support the industry and everything that is responsible gun ownership.  I will always believe in 2nd Ammendment (my license plate is 2AMNDMT). 

It's the human factor that concerns me.


Edited to add:  Perhaps I am ultra senstive to this situation today given the recent events in Tuscon.  That could entirely be it.  Or maybe I'm crying out for people to start being responsible.  Either way, today I couldn't be quiet.
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