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Beyond Targets

From the desk of Jerry Bolster

Southwest Asia


What’s beyond your target?

I have a close friend who’s been a detective for a number of years. Like most Law Enforcement professionals, there's several cases he’s worked over his career that are always close to his thoughts.  For him, one of these cases occurred early in his career, when he was still cutting his teeth. He wasn’t quite the steely eyed, gritty detective that he is now – he still had high hopes for humanity and a beaming enthusiasm. 

On this particular case, he was called out to investigate a shooting death. The case was especially difficult to work because after he had put the pieces together and sorted through the witnesses and the details – he learned that a small boy had been killed merely from a shooter’s negligence.  My friend, the detective, was a young father and the details of the case and his empathy for what had happened made for a tough several days as he put the case together. 

The setting takes place in a rural wooded area. A large snake was perched in a tree, and our shooter in the case had decided to take some shots at the snake with his rifle. After firing several rounds – the shooter successfully hit the snake and knocked it from the tree. What the shooter didn’t know was that far beyond where he was shooting, there was a small boy outside at play. One of the shooter’s rounds, tragically, traveled through a densely wooded area several thousand feet and struck the boy, ending his life in what can only be described as a freak accident. The shooter wouldn’t find out what he had done until days later when my detective friend could put all the pieces together and track down the origin point of the shot. Of course, the shooter was also devastated by his actions and had no idea of the tragic results his rifle rounds had caused.

I tell this story to stress the importance of knowing what is BEYOND your target. Realizing that your rounds will carry far beyond where you can see is crucial. Firing blindly into wooded areas, in the air, or at night are three scenarios to cautiously avoid.  

In Law Enforcement training, a common phrase is you will be held accountable for each round you send out of a barrel.  For civilians, this remains true, but due to a general lack of training, many don’t realize how important it is to know where your shots will come to rest. 

Remember the consequences – know what’s behind and beyond your target.



Until we reload,

The VSS Team

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