3535– Tuesday, August 27, 2019 — Four Young Boys Growing Up in America, Part 2

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Twenty years have gone by since we have left our four young men.  They have now each reached their 32nd year of life.  Not one of them will see their 33rd year of life. 

Whitaker had achieved everything his parents had wanted him to.  He had gone to college, taken over the family business, got married to a beautiful young debutante and now had two young children.  The oldest, a girl, was nine years old and a boy seven years old.  Whitaker loved his wife and children very much.  Like his parents, Whitaker joined the prestigious country club and was head of the planning committee for events.  

The investment business was going very well, and his many clients were always pleased with the way that that their accounts were growing.  Whitaker seemed to have a magic touch.  Everything that was bronze or copper, he could turn into silver or gold.  His family life was also picture perfect.  Two very well-mannered children and a stay at home wife who alternated time between home and working on various local committees to help the less fortunate in the community.   

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in May.  Apple blossoms were blooming, his wife was planning a dinner that evening with some club friends and his kids had their usual Saturday morning league sports.  Whitaker had breakfast with his family and kissed each of them goodbye.  He took his golf bag and left for the country club.  There was some business to attend to with the planning committee he told everyone and if he had enough time, he might get in a round of golf. 

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Whitaker arrived at the club around 9 AM.  He greeted some friends upon arrival and then went up to an office that he kept in a private room at the club.  He entered the office and locked the door.  He walked over to his desk and sat down.  From a locked drawer in his desk, he removed a Ruger 9 mm automatic pistol.  He looked at it for a minute as though undecided but finally he flicked the safety off.   Whitaker put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger.  He died instantly.  Club members hearing the loud report rushed up to the room.  They had to batter the door down and when they entered, they found Whitaker slumped over his desk and quite dead. 

Jamal was heading to the country club about the time that Whitaker decided to depart this life.  Jamal had gone to college and obtained a law degree.  He had married the woman of his dreams and now had a set of five-year-old twin girls.  Jamal was a brilliant orator and could remember facts and figures that would astonish his listeners.  His law firm had prospered, and he now had two partners and more clients than even they could handle. 

Jamal had moved from the inner city to a well-manicured upscale home in the elite section of town.  He had a swimming pool, jacuzzi, a three-car garage and two large stone fireplaces.  Although never much of an athlete, he had taken up golf and joined the most prestigious country club in the city. 

This Saturday morning, he had packed his bags in an old beater car that he kept, kissed his wife and kids goodbye and headed off for a round of golf at the country club.  Despite having a Porsche, he always felt more comfortable in the old beater.  He told himself that driving it would keep him humble and help him to remember where he had come from.  He did not want to have his newfound wealth and status go to his head. 

As he headed to the country club through the expensive homes and gardens that dominated this area of town, he soon noticed a police car following closely behind him.  Then, the lights started swirling and the sirens started blaring.  “Pull over” a voice from the police car demanded.   Jamal pulled to the curb as did the police car.  A uniformed officer came over to Jamal and asked him what he was doing in this area.  Jamal still unperturbed, replied that he was going to play golf at the country club. 

The officer had received word of a shooting at the club and seeing a black man in an old car driving through this area had raised his suspicions.  “Step out of the car please,” he asked.  This was a little too much now for Jamal.  “Sir, I am a lawyer and I belong to the local country club.  What do I need to step out for?”  “Because I told you to sir,” replied the officer. 

Jamal had not been treated this way in a long time.  He was now feeling pretty angry, not to mention the potential embarrassment at being put up against his car within one mile of his country club.   Jamal spoke “I am not getting out of this car.”  The officer now quite irritated, unbuckled and drew his 10 mm Glock.  “Get out of the car, right now,” the officer demanded.

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Jamal swung the car door open, stepped out and started to walk away.  The officer shouted “Stop, Stop, Stop.”  Jamal either not hearing or not caring continued on walking down the street.   Suddenly, three loud blasts echoed throughout the neighborhood as the officer pulled the trigger of his pistol three times.  Each shot hit Jamal squarely in the back.  The first shot was enough though since it went through Jamal’s scapula, then his heart and lodged against a rib.  The next two shots were superfluous as Jamal was already dead when he hit the ground.  

Robert was fed up with life.  Nothing had gone right for him.  He had flunked out of high school and then got kicked out of the Army because of some asshole with more stripes than he had.  He had got married and had three children.  He came home early one day from a construction job and found his wife in bed with his best friend.  She took the kids and left.  Truth be told, he did not really give a dam.  His wife was an asshole, his best friend was a jerk and his kids were a pain in the butt. 

Things were looking up though.  It was Saturday.  The weather was fine, and he had the day off from his new job at the nearby cement plant.  The outdoor rifle range had opened.  Robert had bought a new rifle and was excited about taking it to the range and trying it out.  It was a Kel-Tec RDB 5.56 Bullpup.  Robert had purchased an optional fifty round magazine and one thousand rounds of ammunition.  He thought it would be more than enough ammo for a fun morning at the firing range. 

Robert arrived at the range and found that all twenty-four firing lanes were already occupied.  He looked around for the Range Master to see if he might have any idea when a lane would be opened.  It was a new Range Master, whom Robert did not know.  He was surly and brusque and replied that he did not have the slightest idea when a firing lane would open.  His manner really pissed Robert off.  Robert told him “I have been a member of this range for ten years; you should be more respectful to members.”  The Range Master laughed and told Robert that as far as he was concerned, he could take his business elsewhere. 

Something snapped at that moment in Robert.  Everywhere he turned, people treated him with disrespect and like he was dirt.  This was the final straw.  He would show the world that he was somebody and that no one could push him around.  Robert packed up his rifle and ammo and left.  He had made a decision that would change his life forever.

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Robert drove to the large indoor shopping mall just a few miles from where he lived.  He knew it would be packed on a Saturday morning.  He arrived and parked in a handicapped parking lot.  “Fuck, them too” he thought as he walked away and left the keys in the car.  He entered the mall through a side door and proceeded to take an escalator to the top floor.  Upon getting up to the second level, he took the gun off of his shoulder and surveyed the tableau in front of him.  Lots of kids with their moms.  Mothers pushing strollers.  Fathers walking holding their young children.  Teenagers hanging out with their friends and their ever-present cell phones.  “Fuck them all,” reflected Robert as he aimed his rifle at a nearby couple on the first floor and started pulling the trigger.

As soon as the first shots rang out, pandemonium reined.  Parents screamed and kids were running everywhere.  Robert kept aiming and firing, rather heedless of whom he was firing at.  Fortunately, security guards were close to where Robert sat and seeing him, they quickly opened fire.  Robert had already killed six people and wounded at least twenty-five others.  He knew his time was up, but he reflected, he would go out on his own terms.  He put the Bullpup under his chin and pulled the trigger.  The rifle blew the top of his skull off and Robert died instantly. 

Jack woke up this beautiful Saturday morning thinking how wonderful life was.  He had a great wife and a young five-year-old son.  His career since finishing college had gone very well.  He worked for a successful computer firm and had recently been promoted to a district manager position.  He lived in a nice house in a modest suburban neighborhood, not far from where he had grown up. 

He was making a list of chores to do this Saturday when his wife asked him if he could run a few errands for her.  She had the job of doing the Sunday fellowship snacks for their local church and was going to be busy doing some baking this day.  Would Jack get some more sugar and eggs at the local grocery store?  “Sure” Jack said.  He started to get his keys when his young son began to shout “Daddy, daddy, can I go with you.”  “Of course,” replied Jack. “Get your coat and let’s go.”

They climbed in the car and drove to the supermarket where Jack quickly found the sugar and eggs and some other food items.  Upon heading back to the car, Jack told his son: “Lets go to the mall and we will find a nice birthday gift for your mom since her birthday is next week.  You can help me to pick it out.”  His young son thought that was a fun idea and both dad and son headed for the nearby mall.

Upon arriving at the mall, they walked down a large open aisle looking in store windows along the way.  Jack requested his son to keep his eyes open for something that he thought his mom would like.   A loud sound like thunder broke the thoughts going through Jacks’ head.  Jack quickly realized that the echoing sounds were the sounds of gunfire.  He pushed his young son down on the floor and threw his body over his son. 

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That was the last effort that Jack ever took in this life.  A 5.56 caliber bullet entered Jack’s front chest and penetrated his heart.  His young son felt the life go out of his father and started crying.  When the medics arrived, Jack had been dead for ten minutes. 

  • More than 38,000 men, women, and children are killed with guns each year in the United States.
  • Over 85,000 people are injured every year.
  • More than half of all gun deaths are suicides.
  • Among high-income countries, the United States accounts for 80 percent of all gun deaths in the world, 86 percent of all women killed by guns, and 87 percent of all children younger than 14 who are killed by guns.

  Giffords-Stats-Page-Breakdown

 

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