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The answer to that is better, sterner discipline, not guards who can't actually, y'know, guard.

They still have magazines on them, so they can respond to a threat in a few seconds. And no amount of discipline can completely prevent accidental discharge.

The way to prevent accidental discharge is to keep the rifle slung over one's shoulder, with an empty chamber, rather than nervously gripping it with one's finger on the trigger guard as pictured in TFA. That posture serves no purpose other than the intimidation of the ignorant. And it's clear from this picture the magazines, if they exist, aren't secured in one place on a sensible leather belt, but rather are rolling around in the bottom of one or more of those giant pouches he's got hanging around.

It's very unlikely that he is there to actually guard anything. In most countries, outside a state of emergency or war, soldiers do not have any right to shoot citizens in the streets. Even if someone specifically attacks the soldier, the correct response is to back away and call the police to handle it.

He's just standing there either for ceremonial reasons or for training (possibly both). In any case, his only task is to stand there and call the police if there's trouble.

No, he's literally guarding the place. The correct response to an attack may involve inserting the clip, chamber a round and issue a loud warning before possibly firing.

An attack on the guard himself is likely to lead to a resolute counterattack.

Soldiers guarding typically have limited police jurisdiction of the area they guard in most countries.

This should be common knowledge.

Both you and your parent commenter are sometimes correct, depending on the situation (believe it or not, laws vary from country to country, there are many different types of military groups in each, etc).

Your point of view is not always correct, so it should definitely not be common knowledge.

The historical nature of soldiers of armed guards with the authority to kill you lends credence to his suggestion that it's not an unreasonable expectation to believe that they _could_ shoot you.

Local mileage and laws may vary, but erring on the side of caution when you see a soldier means that it's prudent to act as if he can legally fire upon you -- even if that assumption is not actually true at that specific time or place.

He's showing proper trigger discipline, he looks fine. If it's any consolation then it stands to reason that he's posing for the camera, too.

This attitude is not just wrong, it's dangerously wrong.

It's this sort of blame-driven, individual-focused, ask-the-unachieveable answer that makes it completely impossible for organizations to move beyond a relatively low level of quality/competence. It's satisfying to say, because it can always be applied and always makes the speaker feel smart/superior. But its universal applicability is a hint that it's not going to actually solve many problems.

If you'd like to learn why and what the alternative is, I strongly recommend Sidney Dekker's "Field Guide to Understanding Human Error":


His field of study is commercial airline accident review, so all the examples are about airplane crashes. But the important lessons are mostly about how to think about error and what sort of culture creates actual safety. The lessons are very much applicable in software. And given our perennially terrible bug rates, I'd love to see our thinking change on this.

> It's this sort of blame-driven, individual-focused, ask-the-unachieveable answer that makes it completely impossible for organizations to move beyond a relatively low level of quality/competence.

Keeping one's finger off of the trigger is not unachievable; indeed, every infantry organisations instils that from the beginning in its riflemen. It's really Not That Hard. And indeed, one sees that negligent discharges are actually pretty rare, even in war zones.

You seem now to be talking about something different than me. I'm referring to your notion that "better, sterner discipline" will help. It won't.

That approach quickly plateaus. Then more discipline harms improvement because people just start covering up mistakes to avoid punishment. In addition to being covered in the book on air safety I already mentioned, your "beatings will continue" theory is basically why Detroit spent decades trying and failing to make cars as reliable as Toyota's. This was true even when Toyota went to great lengths to teach GM how to do it.

That experience was covered engagingly in This American Life's episode NUMMI:


Yes you do seem to be having a different conversation. We were discussing firearm safety. There is a right way, and that way is well understood. States which encourage cavalier firearm handling in their soldiery (I don't propose firing this soldier, but certainly let's fire whoever trained him) are explicitly valuing some other goals over the lives and health of residents.

That's like saying programmers would get their projects done sooner if they'd just type faster.

A better analogy is probably something along the lines of TDD.

Your statement is something akin to "who needs daily code testing, just get programmers who can, you know, program".

It's dumb.

Systematic measures to reduce problems are wise.

Until such time as those "systematic measures" actually compromise the ability of people to do their job.

Carrying a weapon implies the possibility that it will need to be used at a moment's notice, and it's a hell of a lot quicker to flip a safety off than reload. These measures could wind up with someone dead.

I agree with the GP - if accidental discharges where that much a problem, then the problem is poor firearms discipline, something that can be trained and drilled into people. These are better called NDs (negligent discharges), and they're called "negligent" for a reason: the shooter was doing something horribly wrong.

NDs will get you kicked out of recreational ranges in this country at a minimum. It can also be a ticketable or jailable offense.

Firearms discipline 101 basically breaks down to keeping your finger out of the trigger guard until you intend on shooting something, and possibly the weapon on safe (depending on situation).

Hardly unreasonable or "unachievable" as another put it.

If the guards are incapable of this one simple thing, something that recreational shooters are held to a high standard on, they should be replaced with people who can.

> Carrying a weapon implies the possibility that it will need to be used at a moment's notice

These positions are largely ceremonial, an incident requiring them to use their weapon will happen less than once a decade.

Also, Recreational shooters aren't holding a rifle 8 hours a day every day for years at a time. The increased amount of time combined with the monotony of the job dramatically increases the risk of mistakes.

Ultimately the odds of there being an incident which requires the guard to be able to start firing immediately is less than the odds of accidental discharge.

It is curious that wtbob knows better than the countless militaries and policy makers around the world on this topic.

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