Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Do I Trust You? When My Life Is In Your Hands...NO.

US Marines play a game that occasionally has deadly consequences:

It wasn’t so different from other nights. Outside it was cold and wet. Inside, quarters were close, but they were comfortable enough. The half dozen or so Marines sharing the small wooden hooch at Combat Outpost Viking in Saqlaweiyah, Iraq, were killing time, watching movies and cracking jokes shortly before midnight March 9.

That’s when Cpl. Mathew Nelson came in from the cold, discarding his balaclava and goggles on his rack, and taking up his M9 sidearm.

Looking back, it’s hard for him to remember exactly what happened next. He would later tell investigators he switched the pistol to safety, dropped the magazine out, and pulled back the slide. The weapon was clear, he thought.

After “messing around” with another Marine, he swung toward Lance Cpl. Patrick Malone, 21, quietly sitting on his rack and watching a movie.

“Do you trust me?”

Whether those were Nelson’s exact words isn’t clear. But if they were different, the meaning was the same. He was playing a game, one familiar to all the Marines in the room, a test of wills and faith.

They called it “Trust.”

“Do you trust me?”

It’s not clear, either, if he answered. Malone smiled at Nelson, other Marines in the room told investigators.

The next moment, a gunshot sounded; and then a Marine was yelling “ND! ND! ND!” — negligent discharge — and Nelson would recall seeing smoke rising from the gun and then all eyes turned to Malone, suddenly slumped in his rack with a bullet hole in his forehead, according to a copy of the investigation report obtained by Marine Corps Times.

They tried to save him, they told investigators. They applied pressure and administered CPR before Malone was rushed to an aid station. But 20 minutes later, he was dead.

My Adamantine Rule: A Gun Is Not A Toy. Don't Play With It!

Col. Jeff Cooper's Rule 1 of safe gun handling: A Gun Is Always Loaded.

Col. Jeff Cooper's Rule 2 of safe gun handling: Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.

This stupid "Trust" game needs to be driven out of the Marine Corps. There is no place for it there.

1 comment:

MauserMedic said...

I have an answer to that question. "F**k no, if you're stupid enough to point a gun at me."

To be shortly followed by my own game "Does This Hurt", in which I ask the question after breaking my A2 buttstock (I'm Guard, we got old stuff..)on his face.