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Soldier Shot After Live Round Gets Mixed in With Blanks

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The armorer for the movie Rust, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is looking at hard time because a round somehow made it in with blanks that were loaded into Alec Baldwin’s revolver. While I still say Baldwin should be looking at time himself, a jury has already declared her guilty.

And, to be fair, it was her job to prevent that.

What’s weird is that blanks don’t look like live rounds. It simply shouldn’t happen, and yet, it did.

But I’m not actually going to talk about Rust a whole bunch. I simply bring it up because this was a rare occurrence that happened there and has just happened again.

This time, it was the United States Army that screwed up.

All live weapon training for the Army’s Special Forces units, and most of the elements that support them, will be shut down for much of this week due to a safety stand-down — after a soldier was accidentally shot during a training event, the service confirmed to Military.com.

A 7th Infantry Division soldier at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state was accidentally shot April 25 by another soldier with an M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, or SAW, light machine gun, according to one source with direct knowledge of the situation. The injured soldier was in stable condition and recovering at Madigan Army Medical Center.

The incident occurred during force-on-force training when live ammunition was accidentally mixed in with blanks. Blank ammo is commonly used in training and acts in all the same ways as live ammunition does in real weapons, except there is no projectile.

The Army typically takes great care to keep blank and live ammunition separate, and contaminating one set of the ammunition with the other is considered among the most damning safety mishaps possible.

“It is prudent of us to take immediate actions now to do an internal assessment as part of a safety stand-down,” Gordon said in a statement to Military.com.

And let’s be fair here, this is not exactly a common occurrence in the Army or the military as a whole. This was a freak mishap.

I won’t call it an accident, though, because it’s not. An accident is generally when everyone is doing things in the correct manner and something bad happens despite that. This is negligence, and I pity the poor soul who is responsible should his or her identity be discovered.

God forgives. The military doesn’t.

That said, this is going to happen from time to time. You can’t go through millions upon millions of rounds of training, even with blanks, and there not be a time when someone screws the pooch.

But I’d actually say that this happens rarely enough that the Army’s protocols are probably pretty solid, though I suspect they’ll be reexamined after this to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

It’s only too bad that the guy who got shot doesn’t qualify for a Purple Heart. He was shot while performing his duty, but since he wasn’t part of ongoing hostilities, it doesn’t count for that. It’s a shame, too, but at least he’s alive and expected to recover so he can gripe about it in accordance with the finest traditions of the United States Armed Forces.

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