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Editorial: Back to basics

Anyone who has ever had children knows the danger of telling a child not to put a marble up their nose — sooner or later, you’ll be at the hospital, waiting for a doctor to get the marble out. But that’s children.

By the time we’ve reached adulthood, we should have a little more common sense and experience, and should know full well both the dangers and the consequences of our actions.

Plainly, we don’t. And that means, even though you shouldn’t have to treat adults like children, sometimes, we do.

This past Thursday, the provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources put out its annual, pre-hunting season cautionary news release, telling hunters basic things like, “Always point the muzzle in a safe direction”; “Treat every firearm as though it were loaded”; “Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions”; “Only point a firearm at the intended target and avoid all horseplay”; and “Avoid alcohol and drugs when hunting.”

It is frankly terrifying to think that you might be sharing the woods with an armed hunter who isn’t aware of those basic firearms rules. But they’re out there.

Consider this, from the same news release: “In 2016, Fish and Wildlife Enforcement officers encountered 244 firearms related violations throughout the province. Common offences include possessing a loaded firearm in a vehicle, shooting from a roadway, shooting near dwellings, hunting within commercial logging operations, and shooting near a school or playground.”

The warning, of course, comes on the heels of a similar back-to-school news release from the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in Corner Brook, which cautioned people about safe driving practices: “Pay particular attention to posted signage including: ‘No Left Turn’, ‘Stop’ and ‘Do Not Enter’;” and “Yield right of way to pedestrians at marked crosswalks.”

Here’s a pro tip: if you don’t know to pay attention to stop signs, you clearly shouldn’t be on the road.

The problem is that, obviously, there are adults both on the roads and holding high-powered rifles who don’t know the basic rules.

So, here’s an idea.

If you’re going to behave like you do not know the rules of the road, if you get a ticket for a basic and obvious infraction, maybe you should have to go back to the beginning. You should have to write the written test and get your learner’s permit — and since the experience clearly didn’t stick the first time you went through the process, you should have to do a mandatory driver training course — at your own expense — whatever your age and experience.

Violate basic firearms safety? Go back to the beginning there as well, and take firearms training course all over again. We can only hope it will stick this time.

Act like a child, and you have to be prepared to be treated like one.

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