Thursday, April 29, 2010

THOR'S DAY RANT: Avoid Danger!

My in-laws have this annoying habit of endangering themselves on a fairly regular basis. I'm not just talking about how they refuse to lock the door to their home during the day- despite there having been cases of criminals barging into homes and attacking people in their town. No, I'm talking about how they dash outside when they hear loud noises. Or sit on the porch to watch for tornados during Warnings. Or how when they hear there's a big fire, they get in their truck to go for a drive and take a look.

I like to say that my in-laws are the same people that Godzilla steps on in his movies. You know the ones. While all of Tokyo is running for their lives, these fools stop, turn toward the camera, point a finger and yell "Gojira!" Then a building falls on them. Or they get stepped on.

"Curiosity killed the cat" does apply to people. And not just my in-laws.

Just yesterday, I was reading an article about a shooting in our town. The police were called to a park where a shirtless man was walking around, pointing a gun at people as they drove past. The police responded and ended up having to shoot the man when he pointed his gun at them.

What really struck me as ignorant in this article, was the neighbor who walked outside to see why the police were at his nearby park. He sees the gunman, goes inside and tells his wife to take the baby and go to the basement. Then neighbor goes back outside to watch some more.

Folks, bullets can travel a really long distance. When they hit glass, or even bodies, they can continue to travel. They don't fly a few feet and drop to the ground like a baseball.

More importantly, bullets go where they are pointed- which is not always where the gun wielder was aiming.

When I was in the Air Force, this fact was hammered into us. We were told to never, ever discharge our weapons in the direction of the very-expensive aircraft. Especially our M-16s, which have an effective range of almost 400 meters (over 1200 feet and that fire a round that can punch through concrete blocks.

If you see the police with their guns out, or some criminal waving a gun around, don't just stand there looking. Take cover.

Which brings up a very important issue the movies are always getting wrong. About cover.

"Cover" means something that will protect you. "Concealment" is something that hides you. A bush will not stop a bullet. It might hide you, but if a bullet is accidentally fired (possibly through poor aim or random accident), it will go right through that bush. Similarly, car doors, couches, windows, etc will not stop bullets. Even human bodies don't stop all bullets.

It is very important to seek cover, or get the hell away. Don't stand there waiting for Godzilla to step on you. Seek cover. Run away.

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