Guns have been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember. I was indoctrinated by our culture’s glorification of war and guns. I had toy guns as a child like most American boys did. My imagination was wasted on pretending to kill. My father was a cop so there was always a gun around. He taught my brother and I safety and all that other bullshit. The first gun that I shot was his 12 Gauge. I didn’t hold it as he advised and the kickback did a number on my hip.
My most prevalent memory of being a kid was when my father was addicted to pain pills and chased my brother, my mother and I out of the house with his gun. The memory of my brother and I hiding under the kitchen table is still so vivid. This tool gave a weak person power and as child understanding that the weapon in his hand could deliver death to those that I loved the most had an insane effect on me.
When I was sixteen I bought a stolen 38 Special off of my friend Sean for $125. It worked but the pin that held the chamber in was broken so every time it was shot it would fly off. I never asked Sean where he got it from but his older brother was doing 10 for armed robbery so I figured that he had connections. I thought I was tough, I thought I was gangster and I thought I would protect my mother if someone were to break in. I was weak and it gave me power. I saw how it empowered the most important male figure in my life and even though I didn’t want to be anything like him I may have been trying to find that power. But I’m not blaming anyone or anything. All of my decisions have been mine.
My friend Adam and I went to get beer at the local gas station one night. We were only 17 but our friend worked there and would sell it to us. As we got out of the car that night we saw these two dudes that went to our school hanging out there. We’ll call them Wes and Mark for the sake of following the story. Adam playfully pushed Wes but he was not trying to play around. He simply told Adam “not to run up on him like that.” We went in without being fazed by it. We grabbed a few 12 packs, talked to our friend that was working behind the counter, paid for our beer and went home. Wes and Mark lived at the foster home in our town. They were undoubtedly troubled kids but they knew the difference between right and wrong. An hour after Adam and I left the gas station they went in and executed my friend that was working. They made her get on her knees and then they shot her between the eyes. Wes was 18 and Mark was 14. They got a gun with ease and cut my friend’s life short in a split second. She was 19 years old.
When I was 18 I bought a 9mm off of a guy that I worked with. The serial numbers were scratched off and it was absolutely stolen. It more than likely had bodies on it. Walking home from the bar one night my friends and I got jumped. What started as a small fistfight eventually escalated into an all-out brawl. I was disgustingly drunk. I remember one of the guys screaming about getting a gun from his car. My friend John looked at me and said to go get mine. I ran back to the house with the adrenaline rushing through me. As I put each bullet in the clip I pictured each of the guys that jumped us. I ran back outside. I shot it in the air three times and watched them scatter. I felt like a god. I’ve never seen people so scared. I personally presented the possibility of death to them and it was amazing. How can I lie? I’m ashamed of all this but I know it’s something that very few experience in a lifetime. I should have went to jail but I didn’t. They couldn’t prove anything. I dismantled that 9mm and threw its pieces in a river so it would never be used again. That was one of the last times that I drank and the last time that I held a gun. If things played out a little differently I could still be in jail or getting out around now.
I don’t want to touch a gun or look at a gun ever again. Guns are just too powerful and people are just too fragile and stupid.