We toured the Alamo yesterday. As we walked the grounds, we happened across three volunteers who demonstrated the multiple steps of loading, tamping down, and firing the arms used by the defenders of the Mission against the overwhelming forces of Santa Anna. The process was cumbersome and posed a special risk for the humble pinky. The leader of the trio explained that the men of that era were trained to use the pinky to tamp down the charge, so that if the firearm discharged prematurely only the pinky would be lost.
Remember the Alamo, but remember the pinky, too! Its sacrifice helped secure the American West.