20 September 2017

At the Bottom of the Laundry

Over the past few years, Kevin has talked about buying a handgun for home protection.  I am not onboard with this idea but know that it's probably inevitable.  He will do it legitimately with a license and training and he wants me to also.  It is the responsible thing to do, I understand.

We live rurally, response time from first responders is not as quick as the city, and we all know we've had some weird shit happen around here over the years.  So, I get why Kevin thinks it's a good idea.  However, I also know the statistics of something going badly because of the presence of a handgun sometimes outweigh home protection.  And, I'm just not comfortable with guns.  I never have been and I grew up in a hunting community.

Sidenote: this isn't a gun debate.  I will say it again: this is not a gun debate.  This is my opinion and feeling about it and that alone. 

Of course because Kevin said he wanted to do this, his brother had to do it also.  If Kevin says he's going to buy something, quite often his brother will do it also, sometimes before him, and will always spend more money on whatever.  It annoys me to no end. 

This was not an exception.  I didn't know until recently that Brother had purchased a handgun.  His brother is the exact wrong person to have one. I believe he's the guy that would shoot his wife because he thought she was an intruder or have an accident because he thought it was unloaded.  And let's talk about seven grandchildren visiting that house, one a being toddler.  And that he lives next door.

To further illustrate him, he didn't have the courage to call Kevin's best friend to ask for safety and shooting lessons.  He had Kevin do it because reasons. 

This is one of those instances where Kevin gives me the least amount of heads up that is possible because he knows I'm going to be annoyed.  In this situation, it was a quick, off-hand "Oh we're meeting Friend to go shooting. My brother bought a gun." twenty-four hours before they were meeting. 

I'm uncomfortable with this meeting because I'm uncomfortable about guns.  I'm uneasy with his brother having a gun.  I just had this unease about the whole thing.  That being said, I trust Kevin's best friend with not only Kevin's life but my own.  I've known him since I was eighteen years old and he is the best of humans. 

Kevin said that he was mostly going as an observer.  He wasn't super excited about shooting.  He's not a hunter and it's just not something that has ever interested him.

The boys met at lunchtime and off they went.  Kevin said he figured it would be two hours tops.  I have a cold so I just liked being able to watch television and sleep on the couch in peace. 

Then time started passing.  I didn't get a text or a photo or anything, which I thought was unusual but it's a gun thing.  Not time to be playing with selfies.  Also, Kevin and I both possess a talent for underestimating how long things take. 

Four hours later and I was concerned.  I didn't text him because I figured if something had changed or went wrong, he would text or call.

Finally, he walked in and sat down.  He was pale and quiet.  "Well, that went sideways.  Really. fucking.sideways."

The gun range they went to wasn't busy that day.  The three boys, another guy who was a soldier arrived at the same time, and another guy was already there when they arrived.  After spending about an hour shooting, they were starting to wrap it up.  OF COURSE, the brother's gun was jamming and having issues.  EXHIBIT A: Why This is a Bad Idea.  

Kevin had struck up a conversation with the soldier because he's never met a stranger. The soldier was practicing and using two of his father's guns that it sounded like he had inherited.  Kevin said he was a really nice, low-key kind of guy. He said he seemed a little lonely. 

He offered Kevin to shoot one of the military guns he had and Kevin did.  The soldier trained him for that specific gun and explained how he came to have it. 

Unfortunately at the same time that Kevin was shooting, the gentleman who had arrived before them ran onto the range and committed suicide.   Kevin said alarms went off and instructions were given to put everything down and step away.

All Kevin knew was that his best friend took off on a dead run and he followed.  Because they're helpers.  I can't think about this part because gunfire.  I waver between being proud and What.the.Actual.Fuck were you thinking. 

This is where I say that Friend is a First Responder.  He saw the actual act and ran to help.  Kevin heard but didn't see, then saw the aftermath.  The gentleman was gone instantaneously so there was nothing to do.  Someone on Facebook posted the nicest thing in the comment section of the news post on social media:
"To the firefighter that witnessed this.  You did well by this man. There was nothing you could have done to stop him. Praying for you, family, and all affected."

This made me cry.  I had held kind of firm until I read that.  

Kevin shared that he initially didn't know what had happened.  He didn't know if one of his shots had ricocheted because at the time he was the only shooter.  He has difficulty with human suffering so a little bit of him is struggling that a fellow human being can be in that dark of a place. (Difficulty as in empathetic, not impatience)  Plus just the abject powerlessness of the situation.

He said that the sheriff and state patrol interviewed him/them and took their information. They offered on-site counseling and it sounds like they did talk a little bit.  Friend has been checking in daily with him as well.  He hasn't been sleeping very well but that's to be expected.  I'm giving it to the end of the week before sounding any alarms.  He processes much like me, he just needs some time.

The gentleman had left a note so there isn't a doubt as to intent. He had brought his dog with him and asked for arrangements to be made for him to be taken care of.  I had a moment of madness, thinking we should see if he's adoptable but no.  The gun range guy said that he'd been watching him, sensing something was happening but had checked in with him twice to no avail.

Not to make this about me for one second but I can't think much about what happened.  Again, I waver between proud and fear knowing that those two boys ran toward danger.  My heart is broken that they shared this experience but am soothed that they have each other. 

AND THEN the fucking laundry kicked my ass this morning.  That day Kevin said he was going to shower and I asked him to put every stitch of clothing into the laundry.  It took two days for me to get to it but I finally started that load late last night.  This morning I switched it from the washer to the dryer and this is what I see:

(that's a spent bullet casing)
So, Godspeed gentleman whose name we'll never know.  I hope you found peace.  Send good vibes out for Kevin and his Friend.  Keep an eye out for your fellow man. 

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