During my super-brief time at the police department range, if there was one key message, it was this—always treat the gun like it’s loaded, and never point the gun at people unless you’re intending to shoot them. Even as the instructor demonstrated a gun that he’d already showed us was unloaded (by removing the clip and showing us the empty chamber), and then disassembled and reassembled to show how it was done while demonstrating various things, he always kept the gun pointed at a cinder block wall to an empty room, and would lower the gun to the floor if he needed to turn, such that the absolutely-positively empty gun was never pointed at anyone.
This advice is apparently not universal, though. A soldier in France shot 16 people during some sort of demonstration, believing this his gun was loaded with blanks. It seems to me, though, that this was deplorably preventable: one might check that the gun contained blanks before shooting at people, for example, or one might simply avoid firing a gun at people at all. And even if one did insist on firing a gun into a crowd without verifying that the blanks weren’t actually live rounds, one might stop after the first few people fell over bleeding.
And good old CBS News’ comments section brings us an argument over the French military and their merits and value to the United States, including whether they helped or hurt us during the Revolutionary War, apparently.