Growing up, the Four Rules were hammered into my brain before I was ever old enough to even think of handling a firearm. I’m not saying I always did it right, but I never did it wrong because I didn’t know better. As a result, I’m a pretty safe gun owner who has also spent a fair bit of his time training to meet the threats that might present themselves. I’m not an expert or anything, but I’m more capable than many, less capable than many others.

However, first and foremost, I feel it’s my responsibility to be a responsible gun owner. After all, mistakes any of us make reflect on the rest of the gun community.

Apparently, not everyone shares that philosophy.

Gun owners are putting their metal where their manhoods are in a bizarre trend that sees men courting danger to prove how well they can manage a gun.

Those participating in the meme do so by pointing their gun at their genitals with the safety off, placing their finger over the trigger, and posting a photo of it on social media. And voila, just like that – proof they are very manly.

It was first assumed that the gun owners were embracing the risky pose as a way of trolling progressives. The author and storyteller Dylan Park, who originally reposted the images in a viral tweet, summed that theory up as follows: “To everyone asking why, I’m not 100% sure. But I think the thinking here is ‘Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people so we’re going to point them at our dicks to prove how safe they are’ or something,” he said.

But, as detailed in an article by Vice, the trend started more than a year ago after fighting within the gun enthusiasts community, which eventually led to one faction trying to prove superior knowledge over the other. As the Facebook page Gun Owners Who Hate Gun Owners explained: “It’s actually to upset people who think trigger discipline is important.”

Yes, these people place the barrels of their firearms at their junk and place the finger on the trigger. The safety is off, if there’s a safety, and they somehow think this makes them big and bad.

The Guardian calls it a trend. So does Vice.

The problem is, I’m not convinced it really is. After all, I’m pretty sure most people stupid enough to actually do something like that are too stupid to fill out a Form 4473. A few people are doing it, but I don’t see it as enough to make up any kind of trend.

“Why is it stupid?” no one with a brain asked.

Well, it’s stupid because cocked and locked handguns don’t require a great deal of pressure to go off, and some of these weapons shown qualify as such. Imagine you’re posing for an idiotic selfie to show how much of a hardass you are and how you don’t need no gun safety, only to get startled by a loud noise or something.

BANG!

Now, keep in mind where you were pointing that gun and think about it for a moment. Yes, you lose.

In fact, the only real winner is humanity. After all, you’ve now provided a tiny bit of chlorine into the gene pool. Thank you for that.

The downside, though, is that every one of these jackwagons makes the rest of us look bad. When we talk about responsible gun owners, there will be someone who remembers these turdnuggets and associates us with them. This is what they’ll think.

Worse, though, will be those that think this is how you become a “real” gun operator. They’ll get it in their head that if you’re serious about using a gun for self-defense, you’ll be up for this. Nevermind that not a single real trainer advocates for this kind of thing. Nevermind that I’ve never met a single professional–either trainer or user via military or law enforcement–who thinks this is a good idea. Some newbie will get it in their heads that this is the way and end up doing something stupid.

So please, knock it off. I don’t care if you shoot your junk off–it some case, I might prefer it if you did–but I do care about you screwing things up for the rest of us.

With that out of the way, I have to take a little issue with The Guardian. I mean, I don’t expect them to get stuff right, but they presented this bit as supporting those who don’t take safety as important.

“The uninitiated zero in on dumb sh*t like [safety] because it’s their entire knowledge base. It’s the only thing they understand,” said the moderator of a Facebook group named Sh*t Gun Normos Say (normie being a word pejoratively applied to people who stick to rules or norms with fervor).

The problem? Well, the actual post doesn’t support any such thing.

The uninitiated zero in on dumb shit like this because it’s their entire knowledge base. It’s the only thing they…

Posted by Shit Gun Normos Say on Thursday, May 14, 2020

As you can see, that post is taking issue with people who can’t look beyond trigger discipline. The issue is commending people for doing the bare minimum, something we teach new shooters on day one, and not looking any deeper.

While I may or may not agree with the group, this doesn’t exactly look like they think it’s a good idea to point a gun at your junk.

Not that The Guardian can be expected to understand the difference.