I recently had the pleasure of teaching a 40-hour class at Boondocks Firearms Training Academy in Raymond, Mississippi. The picturesque range has all the modern training conveniences including shoothouses, beaucoup shooting bays, an excellent classroom and, yes, indoor plumbing in all the convenient places.
Owned by Mark and Kim Condon, the organization hosts groups like The Well-Armed Woman, and offers free firearms safety training for the local community. Mark told me that NRA would provide materials for its child safety effort, the Eddie Eagle program, but they would not authorize the Eddie Eagle costume for any entity but law enforcement. Kim and Mark wanted a mascot they could put in front of the kids in costume to answer their questions. Thus was born Boonie, the gun safety dog.
Now, brother Mark has a way with words. When he cautions students to be aware of their surroundings and keep their nose out of their smartphones, he uses the succinct warning, “Get your head out of your app.” I think I may steal that…
They trimmed the Eddie Eagle mantra from four instructions to three. From Eddie Eagle, it’s “Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.” From Boonie, it’s “Paws (pause). Turn tail. Sniff out an adult.”
“Cute” makes it easy to remember for the target audience, first through third grade children. Retention is also enhanced by the imagery of the paws, the dog’s rear end, and the doggeh’s sniffer. (Boonie is, naturally, a sheepdog wearing a gun concealment vest.)
I’ve found adult males can remember Eddie Eagle’s advice easily by channeling what their lady loves tell them when they catch them eying another woman: “Stop. Don’t touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult.”
Come to think of it, that should work with Boonie’s advice, too.