Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Tears and Hope

 Here's a real life story that should bring both tears and hope to many.  The story can be found at Bearing Arms entitled How a Gun Saved My Life When It Almost Took It by Eddie Davenport.

First the tears:

I stand there perfectly calm, relaxed even, loading shells into my Remington 1100. After the third shell, I pull back the charging handle, putting the gun into battery. Like any good hunter, I top it up with an additional shell. Except, I'm not hunting today. I'm preparing to end it all. Years of stress as a first responder have led me to this moment, but just as I’m about to pull the trigger, the phone rings.
On the line is my friend from my rescue years, going through similar struggles. I share my dark intentions, and he yells, "IF YOU HANG UP, I’LL BEAT THE S*** OUT OF YOUR CORPSE!"

Davenport explains that his years as an EMT had so traumatized him, that he felt ending his life was the only way. Apparently, the fact that he did not do anything to cause these traumas, but he was one of those to respond anyway never crossed his mind. But, we don't want to leave gentle readers hanging on the phone. What happened?

As a first responder, we are taught that we are heroes; we don’t need help; we can do it on our own. We also knew that if you actually spoke up and sought help, your career was over. You wouldn't be trusted anymore by your superiors. Now, I’m about to be another EMT’s reason for going home and crying. Who knows, maybe I’d be the reason they go home and kill themselves as well. None of these thoughts crossed my mind as I stood there; what did cross my mind was why was I loading more than one round. The majority of suicides I responded to, the firearm was loaded with multiple rounds as well. I still don’t know why.
Fast forward to our opening lines, and my friend arrived; he took my shotgun, made me pour out the whiskey, and come with him. I slept for about a day, and then we went shooting.


My friend knew what he was doing. He knew the only way forward for me was to face my fears and stop distracting myself with alcohol. We shot guns and we talked; I cried a lot. In the end, I became a better man.
It wasn't an overnight change. There were years of hardship; I took my anger out on my new girlfriend (now wife), and I took my anger out on my wonderful dog who to this day loves me unconditionally; I do not deserve that forgiveness, but both of them gave it to me.
That moment we opened up happened over a decade ago, but I can still remember every move I made.
Today I work with an organization called Walk the Talk America; we are the intersection of guns and mental health. We train therapists in what gun culture is and work with firearm owners to seek care without fear of rights restrictions. When I was loading my gun, I needed something to grab ahold of my consciousness and cause me to pause and think. Luckily, I had a phone call. But not everyone is that lucky.

Gentle readers are urged to read the entire article. It really is not about guns in the usual sense, but in a periferal sense it may be. Most of us never have to use our guns in self defense. But, we practice all the time in various gun sports that prepare us. And shooting helped Eddie Davenport at a critical time in his life.

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