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Old November 4, 2013, 05:43 AM   #1
chrisintexas
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'I will break your finger' says the instructor to the student

My friend recently took a shooting class. The instructor told him - 'If you do that I will break your finger'. The context was that my friend put his finger on unloaded gun at the range while the gun was pointed down at target. Friend feels that Instructor was too kind of racist and should have been polite. I don't know if it is that. what do you think?
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Old November 4, 2013, 05:57 AM   #2
WeedWacker
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Quote:
The context was that my friend put his finger on unloaded gun at the range while the gun was pointed down at target
So he touched an unloaded firearm? Or did he put his finger on the trigger before the line was declared hot? From a safety point of view I can understand having students index their finger off the trigger. ("Treat every firearm as if it were loaded")

ETA:
Quote:
Friend feels that Instructor was too kind of racist and should have been polite.
This kind of loads the question being asked, and I can think of all sorts of reasons for this feeling. Namely excitation transfer in conjunction with guilt and shame principles or self-serving bias. Was the racism real and expressed, or was it internalized due to guilt and shame from being called on breaking a rule? If an unbiased answer is desired then the "racism" allegation should be omitted as it will influence thoughts and reactions of those experiencing it.
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Last edited by WeedWacker; November 4, 2013 at 06:09 AM. Reason: Additional info
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Old November 4, 2013, 06:34 AM   #3
NoSecondBest
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I teach firearm safety. I would never use words that threaten an individual if he/she broke one of the commandments of firearm safety during a training class. If someone told me they were going to "break my finger", I'd probably offer to let them try. What I would do, and have done, is threaten to have them leave the class for making too many repeated safety violations or not paying attention. I have every right to do that. If they fail to follow instructions a warning may be given. Repeated failure could result in dismissal from the class. I'd need more info to decide about the racial bias. Was language used that was racist? Just feeling like you were discriminated against for being warned about making a safety error isn't discrimination.
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Old November 4, 2013, 07:53 AM   #4
Mike Irwin
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The instructor needs to work on his instructional techniques. Threatening someone is unacceptable.
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Old November 4, 2013, 07:54 AM   #5
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I can't say much about the instructor's response to your friend's unsafe actions since we don't have all the details, but I must admit that I'm trying to figure out how "If you do that I will break your finger" can be considered racist?

Do only people of a certain race have fingers where you live?
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Old November 4, 2013, 07:57 AM   #6
45_auto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike irwin
The instructor needs to work on his instructional techniques. Threatening someone is unacceptable.
I've had some VERY good classes (notably at Gunsite from Herschel Davis and John Bowman) where a good part of the instructor's banter was technically a "threat". I would very seriously doubt that the instructor was really going to break the student's finger.
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Old November 4, 2013, 08:17 AM   #7
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Without more testimony about the incident it would be premature to make judgment. The tone and volume of the warning, the physical expression, even the distance between the individuals are important pieces of evidence.
That said any time an instructor, range/safety officer encounters a safety question their response must be immediately and resolute. New shooters do not always appreciate the inherent dangers of what may appear to be a minor indiscretion. The range officer will always be seen as the 'bad guy' by the person receiving the admonishment as no one wants to be called on the carpet. But safety rules are in place for everyones sake. In the order of responsibility it's OIC'S [officer in charge] range. They are ultimately accountable. No instructor, range officer,block officer or director ever wants an injury to occur on their watch.
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Old November 4, 2013, 08:19 AM   #8
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Seems the instructor needs to work on his communication skills and the student needs to work on his listening skills. oh, what WeedWacker said too.
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Old November 4, 2013, 08:34 AM   #9
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hmmm this is such a funny loaded question that i just got to say something.

if a cashier swipes their carton of milk twice, is the cashier racist?

if the automated checkout line breaks out mid transaction, is the automated checkout line racist?

if their box of "super winky wunder cereal" come without the promised toy in it, is the cereal box racist?
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Old November 4, 2013, 08:45 AM   #10
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How is this a "race" issue? Is your friend Taiwanese and does the instructor have something against Taiwanese people?

Moving past race, I have several comments:

1. You do not provide enough information for anyone to opine on what your friend was doing that caused the instructor to make the comment. Was the gun at rest? Firing line cold? Did your friend touch the gun with his index finger? Was he playing with the gun when he shouldn't have been? Was he holding the gun, pressing the trigger while the line was cold? Did he violate a particular range rule? Did he read the range rules?

2. Any instructor who threatens to break a student's finger for any reason is a blowhard idiot who has less control over his mouth than your friend apparently has over his itchy trigger finger.

The best way for your friend to handle the situation is immediately comply with whatever rule he was apparently breaking. Then, after the lesson go up to the instructor privately and express to him how unprofessional it was for him to threaten to break someone's fingers. Most likely your friend is paying for the instruction, and the instructor isn't a government paid military drill instructor. If the one-on-one conversation with the instructor only elicited more snarky remarks from the instructor, then write a letter to the company he works for. If he's just some one-off independent instructor, and your friend doesn't feel confronting him would do any good, then just safely pack up your things and leave.
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Old November 4, 2013, 08:49 AM   #11
wogpotter
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I'm confused.
Why do you think an admittedly over the top instructor was being "racist" be enforcing range safety rules? Was race an element of the situation?
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Old November 4, 2013, 08:53 AM   #12
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how many times was your friend given the instructions before the "threat"?

did your friend touch the weapon again?

how old are you and your friend?
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Old November 4, 2013, 08:55 AM   #13
Mike Irwin
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'I've had some VERY good classes (notably at Gunsite from Herschel Davis and John Bowman) where a good part of the instructor's banter was technically a "threat". I would very seriously doubt that the instructor was really going to break the student's finger."

That kind of comment tends to immediately establish an adversarial relationship between the shooter and the instructor. That's rarely the type of relationship that is beneficial to the shooter.

When I was teaching I would NEVER think to make that kind of statement.
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Old November 4, 2013, 09:42 AM   #14
chrisintexas
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I will let you guys know all you ask, after I talk with my friend. And that will be tomorrow. Yes, he paid for the classes. It was a beginners shooting class.
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Old November 4, 2013, 09:44 AM   #15
aarondhgraham
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That's the old drill sergeant mentality,,,

That's the old drill sergeant mentality,,,
It's a holdover from times when former military were the norm at gun ranges.

It's just stupid to continue that type of range management.

I've run into it and will never put up with it,,,
It is as unacceptable as a range master I knew of in Riverside, California,,,
This man would put his hand on his holstered 1911 while yelling in your face R. Lee Ermey style.

No one has the right to yell at you,,,
Or threaten you in any manner,,,
Whether it be verbally,,,
Or implied.

It is simply bad behavior and should not be allowed under any circumstance.

Aarond

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Old November 4, 2013, 09:54 AM   #16
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 45_auto
I've had some VERY good classes (notably at Gunsite from Herschel Davis and John Bowman) where a good part of the instructor's banter was technically a "threat". I would very seriously doubt that the instructor was really going to break the student's finger.
Without the context of the interactions, it's impossible to say if you or Mike is right.

It depends entirely on the relationship/interactions between the two parties. If they're bantering back and forth, if their personalities "align", there's a lot to it.

It's like one guy says to another "I'll kill you!"

Are they best friends or worst enemies or something in between? Completely changes the situation.

Was this instructor growling between his teeth or laughing out loud? Was there a context to a prior statement that had the whole class laughing?
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Old November 4, 2013, 10:29 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Irwin
The instructor needs to work on his instructional techniques. Threatening someone is unacceptable.
I agree completely. The instructor was out of line. The only acceptable threat for something like this is, "If you do that again you will be excluded from the class and you won't get a refund." Physical threats are NOT acceptable.

That said, I join with others who are wondering just how a simple, physical threat is "racist."
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Old November 4, 2013, 11:34 AM   #18
NoSecondBest
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Quote:
Without the context of the interactions, it's impossible to say if you or Mike is right.

It depends entirely on the relationship/interactions between the two parties. If they're bantering back and forth, if their personalities "align", there's a lot to it.

It's like one guy says to another "I'll kill you!"

Are they best friends or worst enemies or something in between? Completely changes the situation.

Was this instructor growling between his teeth or laughing out loud? Was there a context to a prior statement that had the whole class laughing?
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Old November 4, 2013, 11:35 AM   #19
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I find the "break your finger" remark to be just fine -- said in obvious over-the-top-banter -- and far less humiliating than "I will eject you without refund."

Sorry troops.
That's my take.
(and hardly "racist" -- which has become a catch-all Red Queen throw-down card these days)
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Old November 4, 2013, 11:42 AM   #20
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Assuming no racism, I'd want to know the tone of the instructor's comment. The words were clearly out of line but I'd want to know the tone before judging. If it was harsh, then totally out of line. The instructor could have gotten his point across in a much more polite manner.

On the other hand, the words could have been said with a clear understanding that the instructor wasn't going to break the person's finger. Sounds like that wasn't the case though.
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Old November 4, 2013, 12:23 PM   #21
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I agree on the "racist" part. It is becoming a meaningless term as its applied to so many things that have nothing at all to do with race. I also notice the OP did not respond to my question if there was an actual element conducive to racism involved.

Would I instruct this way? No! Absolutely not. There are two basic instructional techniques.

Supportive & instructive. In this technique you encourage correct performance by positive reinforcement & reduce negative traits by explaining why they are bad things. This is done so the student understands, not just follows "Monkey see, monkey do" mindlessly.

The second is more military in its concept. basically "Do it because I'm the instructor & that's the way I say it should be done! (based on the instructor's assumed higher level of knowledge & experience.)

Physical threats have no part, even in jest, in a civilian training program of any kind. The instructor needs what Wal-Mart calls "Corrective Counseling for success". If a physical threat were acceptable he'd be getting a punch in the jaw.
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Old November 4, 2013, 12:32 PM   #22
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Is that any different than when a student inadvertently sweeps someone who says, "If you do that again, I'm gonna' take it personally?"
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Old November 4, 2013, 01:11 PM   #23
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Let's sidestep the race issues, folks. They're not relevant.

I have heard that accusation made simply because the accuser didn't get the result they wanted from an interaction. At this point, we're dealing with a "my friend said this happened" story, and we don't know if that's even remotely what happened.
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Old November 4, 2013, 01:34 PM   #24
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If friend was offended, the simple solution was to stop right there, get a manager, demand money back for reason's stated and find a different place to take his shooting class.

Sounds as though this instructor has just not yet addressed the 'right' person in this threatening 'wrong' way.
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Old November 4, 2013, 02:02 PM   #25
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I think the problem is the syntax, context, and environment which we are not privy to. The instructor, as stated, could have been attempting to use hyperbole in a humorous context, but he failed in communicating his intention. The other option, which has been mentioned and is no less a possibility, is that the instructor is a dip stick.

However, I would agree that bodily threats do nothing to teach and/or correct a mistake which is the opportunity for learning.
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