Which direction is the SAFE direction?

The Story:

A man in an upstairs apartment was attempting to clean his 9mm Glock when he negligently discharged a round through the floor, through the ceiling below, and into a woman's leg who was in the apartment just under his. She is, at this time, in critical condition with a life-threatening injury. 

Which rule was violated?

  1. Always treat every firearm as if it is loaded. 
    • He thought it was unloaded so he attempted to disassemble it to clean it
  2. Never cover anything with the muzzle you are NOT willing to destroy.
    • Pointing down or even towards the walls is not always a guaranteed safe direction
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are on target and ready to shoot.
    • Even when you think the firearm is unloaded, practicing this rule can prevent an "accidental" discharge 
  4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it. 
    • He needed to consider that there could be people in the apartment below, or even on the other side of the walls

How could it have been avoided?

Check, check, and check again. When it comes to safety, being 100% sure can never be overstated. ALWAYS check the chamber AFTER you remove the magazine, and then check it again. There are countless stories, a lot of them ending bad, of people who were so sure that the firearm wasn't loaded and it ended up being that they were wrong. ALWAYS treat EVERY firearm as if it is loaded, even if you "know" that it isn't. ALWAYS consider what is in front of your muzzle, and then what is beyond that - bullets can penetrate walls, floors, ceilings, hedges, etc... And never, ever put your finger on the trigger unless you are on target and ready to shoot.