A few years ago I was mentoring 2 friends younger than me, both adult males in their 20’s, both intelligent savvy talkers. One was a troubled local youth that glorified gun violence and gangster resentment because he was too cowardly to face his own demons. The other was a family friend, and star student of mine at the college where I taught, who I loaned money to, and donated to help to renovate his idea for a coffee bar at the motel where he worked.
The troubled ‘boy’ and I had a disagreement about cooperative attitudes, and we stopped talking; and then one day my car gets vandalized. When i went to visit him unarmed in my casual attire at his grandmother’s house, he pulled a loaded gun (auto-pistol) on me and threatened to shoot me because he was “insane”. The story unfolds from there, where I informed the police that a felon was in possession of a fire arm and claimed to be insane. All of which I wrote about in my report to the Court, which I submitted to the State Troopers along with video tape of his rants for my SCOD Post-Apoc film.
The Troubled Student, soon after threatening me and others, went into a bar and opened fire, killing Nice Student instantly and wounding others. Troubled Student is currently in jail, but i like to check to make sure every year. I am sure that if I had encountered him a second time after that, I would have had to defend my life with extreme violent prejudice. This story is about the failing of a government and social system, to save people from the dark cracks of life, and about 2 young students, that made different choices, and how those worked out for them. Finally, this story to me is about my failure to save either one of them from tragedy.
At some point I hope to be able to write about this story as fiction, with fictional names, to be able to tell it more fully with personal detail and emotion. I still struggle with understanding why it happened, or even what lessons can be learned from it. I have my own thoughts about it, and they weigh heavy on me.