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.
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?
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.