A Bad Solution Is Better Than No Solution

When M and I arrived home from the range we were met with the sad news that a young man from her high school had committed suicide. He was a senior, 17. M did not know him well, but they were friendly to each other. They casually chatted in the hallways and laughed at silliness they saw. One of M’s dearest friends was his neighbor and they were very close. Apparently yesterday at school was a somber and quiet one. They had grief counselors and everyone was distraught.

His death is a bit of a mystery at this point. He was liked by teachers and students. He was smart and funny and was not bullied. Who knows what really happens behind closed doors, but his family appeared to be solid. M’s friends were all very upset and shocked. None of them saw it coming. One boy said he was playing XBox with the young man the night before. They were laughing and having a good time. I suspect in the days that follow we will find out there were signs.

A ran into a casual friend while out and about and she asked me if I felt bad for carrying a gun.

Me- Why, would I feel bad?

This young man jumped from a bridge into freeway traffic and was struck by a vehicle.

Her- You are contributing to violence.

Me- How?

Her- It’s an attitude that perpetuates the idea that violence is ok.

Me- Lisa(not her name) have you ever seen me be violent to anyone or anything? Have you heard me say a cross word to someone or even behind their back?

Her- No, of course not. You’re very kind.

Me- Then how am Icontributing?

Her- You carry a gun for no reason. It’s like you are advertising violence is the answer.

Me- How did you find out I carried?

Her- I came to your house and you answered the door with it on.

Me- Right, you came to my house, unannounced and when I opened the door you saw My gun. Did you ever see it before that time?

Her- No.

Suicide is very sad and very complicated. There are no easy answers. She was/is looking for a quick fix to a problem that doesn’t have one and that’s fine and natural, but useless. It makes sense to try to find a way to deal with something so tragic. Often doing something, anything gives us comfort and a sense of purpose, but in situations where people are dying those things we do can’t be casual or knee jerk. A bad solution is NOT better than no solution. We can, by our actions, make things worse. Getting rid of guns will do nothing to prevent suicide. It will only serve to cause more death and violence to innocent people who will be at the mercy of a bad guy or maybe two.

I can go on and on about all the reasons, but most of you already know. What I think is worth looking at is that outside of the crazy Joans of the world many anti gun people are simply misinformed. There are a lot of people who are not crazy anti gunners or who are simply looking for people to take care of them. They don’t know what they don’t know. We need them on our side. We need them to understand that the bull they have been told is just that, bull. It’s doable. Barron and Robb have some good ideas on how gunnies can handle themselves is a positive manner.

I had a long chat with her about suicide and guns. She did not know my brother had killed himself or that I was mugged. Outside of this blog I rarely talk about either. She was reacting out of grief and shock, but after we talked she was willing to concede that perhaps her solution was not the answer and she apologized for lashing out at me.

I am glad my daughter was not at school yesterday. I am glad she was home with me. I am glad that while she mourned this young man’s passing she was in a place where she knew she was loved and cared for. I am glad that she is secure in herself and that while many of her friends were falling apart she was a calm easy voice of comfort and support.

I remember those days and weeks and months after my brother died. I remember how it destroyed my parents. It destroyed them in ways that 10 years later neither has recovered. There is something very unique about the death of someone you love dying by their own hands. My heart goes out to this young man’s family. I pray they find comfort and positive ways to heal.

21 thoughts on “A Bad Solution Is Better Than No Solution

  1. If the students miss school for grieving, the school system doesn’t get the federal money. Here, it is an unexcused absence. And “they” wonder what is wrong with society.

  2. another fellow blogger Matt, that lives near you posted about that yesterday. His wife was merely 4 cars behind the ones who got hit when he jumped. And was a witness to it.

    We had a friend in September that was much like this young man, no one expected anything, he was happy, seemed solid..the life of the party. Came home from work, sat in his tub and shot himself.

    whatever the problem people are going through, its not that bad that suicide is their only alternative. It is a long term solution to a short term problem. And then your family and friends are left empty and with a huge void, walking around asking “why” ?
    I am sorry for your daughters loss of a casual friend…and my prayers and heartfelt sympathy goes out to those who knew him best and his family…so sad

  3. Well thought out post, and yes it’s HARD to determine what those ‘clues’ are ahead of time. Much less know the real reason… I think you handled ‘Lisa’ well too!

  4. About your acquaintance Lisa;

    You were certainly kinder than I think I would have been. :) People like her are the ones who contribute to violent culture, by refusing to defend civilization, even their very own lives.

    There is some kind of delusion that everyone can be made perfect simultaneously just by removing all the weapons and we can all live in some kind of planet-sized padded room where somehow no one will hurt another. It really is a mass delusion.

    Being civilized does not mean refraining from violence, it means setting some tenets to live by it some times REQUIRES violence to defend them against those who would violate the tenets.

    Many fail to consider “law and order” are based on violence – the whole legal system is a mechanism for society to inflict violence on those who defy its tenets. Unfortunately it has at least two big flaws: it is so big and unwieldy now that it trips over itself and often yields bizarre results; and if you give it enough power to respond immediately to every violent incident, it will smother the society it is supposed to protect.

    It is a shame about the young man. I hope M can absorb the lessons of the situation and move on.

    • Very good points. People certainly have misguided ways to deal with life’s difficulties.

      Sometimes I want to be less diplomatic, but that’s not me. Good thing we have a balance in the community. Folks that are more vocal and folks like me:)

  5. If the young man had been forced to jump from the bridge because the drivers were firing at him, I could understand her opinion of guns.

    The world is full of idiots. Most of those idiots are carrying, and that adds a special danger to those of us who ‘calmly carry’.

  6. This CT shooting is apparently another bad solution being worse than no solution. What set this guy off to want to go and target 9 year olds and younger?

    He ensured there would be little to no resistance and that many of his victims would be CHILDREN.

    AGirl, I hope in your EMT training, you NEVER have to respond to a scene like this…

  7. I dunno……when I was a kid we had a classmate that committed suicide. Now, what I am about to say may seem harsh. It is simply how it was dealt with by the school I went to and the teachers. In a nutshell, we came to school, were told that so and so had committed suicide over the weekend. That was it!!! No gushyness, no wailing, no nothing. We heard what was said and went about our business. I truly we as a nation have become a bunch of wimps! Really. Is suicide sad? Of course it is BUT it does happen, just as death follows life. All this “talk” about “it is for the children”, about all the “violence”……and on and on and on. Granted much of what is shown on tv today is violence without reason. A healthy dose of reality is not the same as some action movie that portrays violence for its own sake. One hears about bullying on social networks…..well….really now….are we that far down the rabbit hole that we need approval for our actions and beliefs from crowds of people??? I look back over the years and I am astounded and disgusted at how far we have fallen from a proud and self sufficient society into one where “we have to be protected”. What a crock of BS!!!

    • Curt, you know I love you and your no nonsense approach, but I think we need a balance. Suicide is not a casual decision. There should be some compassion for those kiddos left behind.

  8. I’m sorry for the family, what a horrible thing to deal with.

    You, as usual, handled Lisa beautifully. We do need more spokespeople like you.

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