You can peel away the layers of idiocy in the death of Blake Wardell like an onion of ignorance:

A South Carolina teenager was charged with involuntary manslaughter after police say she fired a shot at a friend in a bulletproof vest, but missed the Kevlar and struck him in the heart.

Anderson County Sheriff’s Lt. Shelia Cole said Blake Wardell, 26, found an old flak jacket early Wednesday morning in Greenville, put it on and asked 18-year-old Taylor Kelly to shoot him.

Kelly fired a single round from a small-caliber handgun at the vest, but just missed. Authorities say the bullet went through the lining and into Wardell’s heart.

Let’s step past the shoddy reporting here to get to the actual facts of the matter.

Obsolete U.S. military fragmentation vest, AKA “flak jacket.” It is not bulletproof.

A sharp-eyed reader will note that Wardell put on “an old flak jacket,” or fragmentation vest. While they were a form of light body armor when they were issued, flak jackets are not remotely bulletproof vests. Flak jackets were designed to stop small, low-velocity pieces of shrapnel from exploding artillery shells and hand grenades, not bullets. Wardell was apparently dim enough to think that it might be able to stop a pistol bullet, and further, dim enough to think that it might be fun to test it while wearing it.

Blake Wardell (Facebook)
Blake Wardell (image via Facebook)

Taylor Kelly apparently never heard of the rules of gun safety or chose to ignore them, especially the one goes, “Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.” She pointed the gun at Wardell and pulled the trigger, and the bullet went through the flak jacket and pierced his heart. He apparently bled out on the garage floor.

While Wardell was dumb enough to ask to be shot at, Kelly was ultimately the one that pointed the gun at him and pulled the trigger. Now he’s dead and she’s in jail, facing charges of involuntary manslaughter and the possibility of a five-year sentence in a South Carolina jail.

taylor kelly
Taylor Kelly (via Facebook)

Folks, you never point a firearm at another human being—for any reason—unless that person is an immediate lethal-force threat, and for only as long as they are a lethal force threat. If you keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times, you and others around you will be safe even if a gun has a mechanical failure.

Taylor Kelly will have the rest of her life to regret her decision. Make sure that your family members are educated about firearms so that they don’t make a similarly stupid decision.