Imagine this: there's been a lot of robberies in your neighborhood. Your husband isn't due home so you set the house alarm, but you're still feeling nervous. That chirping of the alarm as someone enters your house jerks you from your sleep, so you lean over and grab your pistol from your bedside drawer. And as someone starts to turn the handle on your door, you aim, you fire ...
... And accidentally shoot your husband, home to surprise you with breakfast in bed.
That's pretty much what happened in early January to Tiffany Segule, a 27-year-old Army spouse stationed with her husband, Staff Sgt. Zia Segule, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She told police that a series of home robberies had made her nervous. After her spouse left for work hat morning she had turned the alarm back on and went back to sleep. When he returned to surprise her with breakfast she woke-up to him setting off the alarm as he entered the home. She grabbed her gun and shot him through the bedroom door.
"I need an ambulance, I shot my husband, our alarm went off and I didn't hear him," Tiffany Segule is reported as having told dispatchers. "I didn't know it was him ... It freaked me out."
Tiffany didn't respond to my requests for comment, and it doesn't look like any chargers were filed against her. Her husband returned home from the hospital after a few days and was expected to make a full recovery.
I hate to say it -- but this? This could happen to anyone with a gun.
It's easy to feel a little jumpy as a military spouse. Long deployments, TDYs or overnight trainings may have you alone in your home overnight more often than you'd like. That dog you got to make you feel better sleeps through almost everything. Plus what is he going to do? Bark an intruder to death?
Did you remember to lock all the doors? And what would you do if someone broke in?
I know all about this. Remember those ISIS threats? I didn't change my habits or the way I am living, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't spook me a little. For awhile I heard bumps and thumps overnight that I had previously not noticed.
Owning a firearm is not necessarily a bad thing. Not every military spouse wants to own a firearm -- and if that's not you, that's fine. But for those who do, I linked up with the National Rifle Association (NRA) to come up with a few simple safety tips that can go a long way to making sure you aren't the next person in the news for accidentally shooting your husband.
Here's what they said.
3 gun safety tips for military spouses:1. Keep your firearm in a safe place. NRA officials don't like to tell people specifically how to store their firearms, but they do suggest you keep it in a secure place where children or other "unauthorized users" won't be at risk of using it. A few ideas include keeping your weapon on a trigger lock or in a gun safe. There are also small gun safes that can be unlocked with just a few taps on the right sequence of numbers so that you can get at it quickly if you need it. "You find what works best in your situation and your family to make sure the firearms are inaccessible to unauthorized users," said Catherine Mortensen, an NRA spokesperson. "We want each family to determine for themselves what they think is best."
2. Take a safety class. Mortensen says the NRA saw a 70 percent increase in the number of women taking the organization's gun safety classes between 2008 and 2014. You can use the NRA's website to find a class specifically catered towards women. The organization has also started partnering with local MWR offices to offer their Refuse to be a Victim classes, a seminar with a broader view than just gun safety. Regardless of what you decide to do, if you are going to own a firearm, learning how to use if safely is key. "If you do get a firearm for self defense take a class, because it’s not like the movies or on TV," she said.
3. Never shoot what you can't see. This is one of those thing you would learn in that gun safety class, Mortensen says, but it's worth repeating: do not shoot what you cannot see. "One of the first things you're going to learn about a firearm is never shoot if you can't see what you’re shooting at," she said. "It’s difficult to do that in practice because you think you hear something, you’re worried something is going to come through the door … but you can't pull that trigger unless you know what is on the other side of the door."
Segule would've saved herself some trouble -- and her husband a bullet wound or two -- by simply following this rule. If you're feeling jumpy or nervous while waiting gun ready for that door to open, keep your finger off the trigger, Mortensen said, and wait to put it on until you've confirmed that you actually have a target ... not a well intentioned husband holding breakfast.
Photo courtesy of Facebook.