About an hour ago, I was sitting at the dinner table with my wife and kids enjoying a nice meal when I got a message from a friend of mine. A man with whom I was friends online but had yet to meet in person, a man I respected for his honesty and integrity, a man with whom I shared interests and passions, a man whom I figuratively stood beside in the constant fight to maintain our rights, especially our Second Amendment rights, that man reportedly took his own life today.
In addition to our rights, he was also an ardent supporter of law enforcement. He and I often spoke about LE shootings that we were both defending.
I feel like I just got punched in the gut, then kicked in the nuts.
Bob and I had many mutual friends, many of which knew him far better than I. One of those people is Tim (MAC) here at Full30. Sadly, I got to be the one to break the news to Tim.
While Tim and I spoke, he immediately started doing the same thing I was already doing; playing back all his recent conversations with Bob to see if there was something he said, something he should have said, or something he missed that Bob said, a clue or hint that could possibly have prevented this horrible event from happening.
One thing I have learned in my 20 years as a cop, unless that person said “I’m going to kill myself” and you failed to act, there is nothing you could have done. But that does not stop us from second guessing ourselves. If you find yourself in the same boat, take some solace in knowing that what happened is not our fault. It was a decision made by a grown adult, a decision I will never pretend to understand.
It is absolutely acceptable to grieve, to be sad or angry. It is absolutely okay for you (me) to feel what it is we feel. But it is not okay to blame yourself. Don’t do it.
I feel absolutely horrible for Bob’s family and for his close friends. The unexpected loss of a loved one is a very tough thing to deal with, especially when that person took their own life.
But in Bob’s case, I feel even worse for his family and friends because I know what is practically guaranteed to happen as soon as the anti-gun crowd finds out about this incident. Bob’s poor family will not only have to deal with their loss and their grief, but they are likely to be victimized by the very people who claim to care about people who find themselves in the situation Bob found himself in. I won’t pretend to know the specifics, but it is apparent that he was facing something that was bad enough in his mind, that death seemed the better option.
On that same line, I feel guilty and angry, because in the back of my head, I am concerned that what happened today is going to be used as ammo by the very people Bob battled on a daily basis in the fight against us.
I’m angry at Bob for giving them that. I’m angry at myself for being angry with Bob. I’m sad for his loss. I’m sad he felt he had no other way out. I’m angry at myself because even though I know I didn’t, I feel like I must have missed something. I’m so freaking conflicted.
Suicide freaking sucks!
It victimizes the family and friends of the person who killed themself, and most times it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Please, if you are contemplating suicide, reach out to someone for help.
National Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-8255 https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
To Bob’s family and close friends, please know you have my most sincere condolences.
If you are the giving type, a GoFundMe account has been set up for Bob’s wife and two young daughters.
(This blog post was originally written for Full30 but due to some technical problems, I have been unable to post it there yet.)