The night I almost shot and killed a man | Street Jazz

The night I almost shot and killed a man


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I’ve written about this before, in a brief mention for Grapevine 20 years ago, but the sudden frenzy on the part of lawmakers to re-arm America (as if it had ever been disarmed) and weaken some gun laws - well, except for when their own personal safety is involved - brought back a flood of memories for me this week.

In 1982 I almost shot and killed a man. It is one of my most shameful memories, and has informed much of my feelings about firearms ever since.

And there was nothing particularly dramatic about the circumstances. At the time, it seemed a situation I felt I emotionally could not survive, but we’ve all gone through similar times. The exact details don’t really matter.

What matters is that there was a young man whom I felt responsible for the unhappiness in my life, and I had a gun in my hand, a .380 automatic, and I was intent on ending his life.

What is especially shameful is that he was asleep at the time.

I stood over a sleeping human being, a gun in my hand, and felt not the slightest hesitation about pulling the trigger.

In a movie, or a bad TV show, I’d have an epiphany at this point, a spiritual reawakening. A flood of emotions would surge through me, and I’d walk away a better man.

None of that happened.

I simply lowered the gun and walked away, steeped in misery.

Again, if this were a movie, or a badly written novel, I’d reveal that I never held a weapon again in my life, but that would be a lie. I have been slower to anger, and haven’t raised my hand in response to anger, even when mightily provoked.

If I learned anything that night, it is how easily anyone can be moved to murder, especially with a weapon so handily designed for it. Intellectual twits like to say that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” but I just don’t know if they’ve ever had that moment when they have automatically reached for the gun to rid themselves of what they saw as the poison in the lives.

I wouldn’t have grabbed a kitchen knife, or a chair, or a pillow to smother him. The gun gave me false courage.


Yeah, well, there’s a difference

Some legislators like to tout their military experience when talking about gun control/gun rights.

Killing in the defense of your country, in a kill or be killed situation isn’t really the same thing as sitting in the dark, coming to the conclusion that the gun in the drawer is your only solution.

Congress needs to hear from a few more - hell, a lot more - of these people, and less from the NRA and gun manufacturers when it comes time to legislate.


Quote of the Day

Dog’s lives are too short. It’s their only fault, really. - Agnes Sligh Turnbull


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