You just never know
You just never know.
As a young boy I would often spend summer weekends with my grandparents who lived in the next town over, where I really didn't know any of the young boys around town and had no one to hang out with.
On one such weekend, a boy who appeared to be about my age came strolling down the street carrying a BB gun. He stopped at the fence in front of my grandparents home and we struck up a conversation.
In the course of the conversation, he told me he was going bird hunting with his BB gun and asked if I would like to come along. I asked my grandmother and she immediately said it was all right for me to go.
We walked around the neighborhood looking for birds, of course, and came upon a bluejay sitting in a tree. The boy took several shots and missed each time. I asked him if I could try and he obliged by handing me his BB gun.
My first shot struck the bluejay knocking it from the tree. It didn't kill the bird but merely stunned it. I handed the BB gun back to the boy and ran to the bird, which was, by this time, hopping around on the ground.
I picked the bird up and turned to say something to the boy and he suddenly pressed the barrel of the BB gun against my forehead and said, “I'm going to kill you.” Now I kind of figured he wasn't going to be able to kill me with a BB gun, but I knew it could hurt like the devil if he pulled the trigger.
When I asked why, he said it was because I had shot the bird, which didn't make sense to me because I thought that was the idea, and I said as much to him.
After some quick thinking and smooth talking about how we could take the bird back to his place and nurse it back to health, he lowered the BB gun and off we went to his house, where I left him instructions on how to nurse the bird and quickly made my exit to grandma's house.
I asked her who he was and told her of the incident. She said, “Oh, he's not right in the head, but he's harmless. He looked and acted perfectly normal when I met him, and I had no clue what lay underneath until I shot that bird. It was like a trigger that fired something in his brain when he saw that bird jumping around on the ground. I had no clue.
One minute you are having fun and the next you're sweating in fear that a BB is going to be implanted in your forehead.
A man walked into the newspaper office years ago and asked, “Who's Roy Faulkenberry.” When I walked up to the counter and confessed that I was he, the next thing the man said is, “I'm going to kill you if you write anything else about my son.”
His son had been shot and killed and the district attorney ruled it justified because he had been harassing another man for some time. Instead of taking the issue up with the sheriff or the district attorney, he decided he wanted to kill the messenger.
Any other time this man might have been rational, but anger made him want to blame someone and lash out in violence.
After every mass shooting in this country we offer prayers and condolences and for a few weeks we hear discussions about what should be done to prevent these things from happening in the future.
The debate over whether we should ban certain weapons, or have stricter background checks, or keep certain people from getting guns is muted when the NRA money starts flowing into the campaign coffers of politicians. And every politician, whether liberal or conservative, makes the claim of being a member of the NRA because they want that powerful voting block.
The NRA aside, you are not going to be able to stop such violence because violence runs through our very core as human beings. Albert Einstein once said, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” You can take away all the guns, but what are supposed to be civilized human beings will resort to picking up sticks and stones, or use their physical strength and hands to kill.
Those 58 people who died the other night and the more than 500 injured were just out having a good time, listening to good music, enjoying their friends and family. None probably ever imagined they would become targets of a man who, for whatever reason, performed the cowardly act of shooting from cover and committed another cowardly act by taking his own life.
They may never learn why he did what he did, or what it was that set him off because, in reality, you just never know.