In Season 5, Episode 6 (S05E06), ’The Eagle and the Daw’, Inspector Mallory picks up a revolver and sniffs it. He pronounces it recently fired. He flips open the cylinder to the scene here and says, “One shot fired.”
|Father Brown (S05E06) revolver inspection scene|
What, pray tell, is wrong with this picture? Find the answer below.
Getting a Bang out of Holiday Celebrations
I thought I lived in a reasonably safe neighborhood, but in Florida, guns, alcohol, and celebrations don’t mix. I can’t get used to Floridians firing off guns and firecrackers to honor the birth of the Christ child.
42 Lo, in the East, rose a light. 43 Three wise men gazed at the brightness in the sky. 44 One said, “My comrades, hark! Shooting stars!”Many years ago, a Floridian died from a bullet fired into the air. Do people learn? At midnight, a bullet took out a sizeable chunk of plaster above the television a neighbor was watching. Nothing rings in Sunshine State holidays like celebratory shooting.
45 “Nay,” said the second Maji. 46 “Tis shooting.”
47 “Verily. Let us ride,” said the third man. 48 “Let us take our gold and thou that… that… that weird stuff you have and let us celebrate peace and holiness by shooting lots of guns and ammo as we eat, drink, and be merry.”
As for current Florida New Year weirdness, another contributing factor has been a double murder bare hours into the year at a nightclub a mere stroll from my house. Did I say I thought my neighborhood safe?
A close scrape rattled me. I agreed to install a laser sight on an automatic pistol for friends. When I pulled it from its holster, I was chilled to find both Phoenix Arms safeties off. I set the safeties, removed the magazine, and installed the sight.
I grew up with revolvers and rifles, not automatics. We were strictly taught to leave the revolver slot under the hammer empty to avoid accidents. Don’t chamber a cartridge unless you intend to shoot. And always unload when not in use. As R.T. and I once discussed… guns are tools, not toys.
I suddenly realized that in my surprise when handed a ready-to-fire weapon, I hadn’t checked the breech. The hair on my neck rose.
I belatedly inspected. Damn, there lay a chambered cartridge. I said some strong words, including a lecture of how many Americans get themselves killed. My words meant zilch: Common knowledge has it bad guys with disdain for safeties always carry fully chambered rounds.
O’Neil wrote me about his police training. His conservative instincts were similar to mine, but NOPD policing is not a casual profession. New Orleans police were taught to always be ready to shoot.
My uncle believed that. His young son put a bullet through their dining room ceiling.
|Closeup of revolver cylinder (Father Brown)|
As you already spotted, no shots had been fired. The inspector, or rather the episode director, mistook the empty chamber (deliberately left vacant for safety reasons described above) for a fired chamber.
|unfired round — fired cartridge|
The inspector could have said one bullet was missing, but he couldn’t say one bullet had been fired.
Please, have a safe new year!