Having had a couple of idiots discharge weapons while I was in front of the firing line changing a target and having been struck by the impact splatter from one of those, I don't find any need to wait for any sort of accident uptick to justify reducing risks still further now. Indeed, a key to safety is that it be routinely reviewed and periodically revised and updated to improve it. My own club does that every year, and it has resulted in some rule changes. Nobody had to get hurt for this to be considered prudent.
Moreover, I think most shooters are well aware of how adverse publicity affects gun ownership. For that reason I expect accidents that don't require immediate medical attention are often unreported and that we don't know how many there are or what the exact risk is.
The standard formula for risk equivalence is to take the risk and multiply it by the percent of your lifetime you spend exposed to it. That's where the moral equivalence between instructor and student falls apart.
Suppose, for example, a civilian student takes a class with an instructor who teaches 100 classes during his teaching career (just to pick some numbers to work with). In that instance the instructor has 100 times greater lifetime exposure to the chance he might be accidentally shot by a student during class than any individual student in one of his classes has, assuming no repeats. (You have to work with lifetime exposures because each of us only gets one lifetime, and it is that lifetime that a worst case accident would terminate.) Thus, if one of this instructor's classes were, say, 10 students and 18.5 hours and the instructor wanted to enforce exact risk mitigation equivalence, he would have each student wear the vest for 10 minutes of the class time while he wore it the rest of the time. That would give him 100 times more wear than each student got, thus more perfectly reflecting his lifetime risk of being shot during class. That actually might be a fun classroom exercise, just to let people know what police have to put up with, but you'd face having to wash the thing more frequently.
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Last edited by Unclenick; June 16, 2012 at 11:17 AM.
Reason: typo fix