It really is something isn’t it. Tragedies happen, they just do. Who wouldn’t want to live in a world where every light is green, the 1% is the 40%, middle class is sustainable and no man, woman or child is ever hungry. You see that in writing and it seems like it should only start with “Once upon a time”; like every other fairy tale. The past couple of weeks, it seems the narrative has been more about gun control then anything else. Orlando was a horrible incident that happened. The biggest mass shooting in US history they were saying. How quickly the Civil War is tossed aside. Yes, I know the Civil War wasn’t a terrorist attack but getting clicks is the way of the world so why not just leave out anything to slow the hype train down.
This will not be a sports blog, just some insight into the world as I see it. Now I don’t share the same love for guns that many of my friends have. I have a friend who owns over 800 guns, and is at a gun auction almost every weekend. His feeling is who can trust the market, and guns hold their value. Its his retirement plan. Even the guys from Sports Our Way love their guns. They are always talking about who is getting what and what the other guys think. Hollywood, Gov and Snowflake may start their own militia. I will support their right to do so but at most I’m sticking with a water pistol.
I think I was about 14 years old, kickin’ it at my buddy Jamie Bowden’s house. I have to say kickin’ it because no self respecting 14-year-old is playing at his friend’s house, he is most definitely kickin’ it. We lived in a rural area; Acton California. I had moved up there when I was 12. (My parents wanted to get away from the busy, high traffic area of South Bay.) We heard sirens, and in our neighborhood any commotion was interesting. We went outside and Police cars, fire truck and an ambulance were all next door. A fairly religious family, the Murads lived next to Jamie. Carolyn was a year younger then we were, she had a brother Jim who was maybe a year or 2 older, I forget exactly. No idea what their parent’s names were. Carolyn was quiet, barely talked at all. On the bus to school in the morning she would sit next to her friend Alison. They were inseparable. Alison talked for both of them. Jamie and I would play a game and see who could get Carolyn to talk, he would win much more often than I would. She was like most at a young age, shy unsure of herself but a smart very sweet girl.
I believe it was initially told to the police that someone was cleaning the gun and it discharged hitting Carolyn killing her shortly after. 13 years old, sweet as can be and just gone like that. I think it was later discovered that one of Jim’s friends was over at the house with Jim. They were messing with the gun didn’t know it was loaded. His friend pointed it at her made a threat, pulled the trigger and sure enough the gun was loaded. Something no one thought it was. One of the worst accidents that could possibly happen did. Unintentional, no malice just horrifying.
My senior year in high school I moved from Acton back to Manhattan Beach, but I wasn’t going to graduate on time. I ditched school too much and just didn’t apply myself. Went to Palmdale High School for 3 years and to give you a idea what it was like, when I go back there now, just to drive by there are iron bars up all around the school now. A place where I saw one of my friend get jumped and stabbed in the leg with a screw driver, another friend as he was walking to his 1st period class got tazed because he had sex with a gangbangers sister (he had no idea and she pursued him) and he was of a different race, was then told to stay away. You get the point, I won’t drag the point on.
I graduated on time, made up all the credits that I was behind. I did ok, I wasn’t stupid I just didn’t work hard, I didn’t try. One of my biggest regrets now. Issue I had was my closest friends weren’t in Manhattan Beach they were back up in Palmdale. So off I went back up to Palmdale. Literally days after I graduated, to hang with “my boys.” Now back in this time tagging crews were the new gang. Everyone had their “handle” and as you drove down the 14 freeway you would see everything drawn on. This is where it went from hearing the stories to reality. All my friends were doing this and the ONLY reason I didn’t get involved is I have the artistic ability of a dude with no arms so I just didn’t even try. Worst thing you could do is write up over someone else’s work. That’s is exactly what started to happen my friends were doing it and it was being done to them.
One night at about midnight we were all out just being stupid (something we excelled out) and one of our boys (we’ll call him Nick, not his name) jumped out of the car, “that mother fucker there he is” Nick saw one of the guys that wrote over his work. In all places the drive though at Del Taco. Nick runs up to the car, opens the passenger door and starts swinging on the guy in the passenger seat. By this time everyone else in our car was caught up. We had them outnumbered by a couple. Everyone was out of the 2 cars. Looking back now I cant imagine what was going through the minds of the people in line behind the car we went after. Nick pulled a gun, I knew he carried, most of my friends up there at that time did. I still couldn’t believe it when I heard the shots go off. As soon as I did, I was going the other way. Guys in the other car they had guns too. Nick was killed, 2 guys in the other car were as well, and one of our other guys was shot in the leg. 17 – 19 year old kids.
I was visiting a friend maybe a year later, somewhere in that time frame. He lived out of state. He had lived there for awhile at that point. There was a party someone at his school was having. We went, me him and a couple of his new friends. There were a lot of people there. Didn’t take long for me to be a person of interest. I was someone that nobody knew. Couple of the girls came over to talk to me. I look at that more as exploratory research, as I don’t think they were coming over to hook up in mind more of, hey he’s not ugly and new blood lets investigate. This however didn’t work well for some of the guys there. I was a threat to take their girls. Its like they couldn’t club them in the head and take them back to their cave if I had them distracted. One guy in particular started to come up to me. “Who the fuck are you and why are you talking to my girlfriend?” Quick note about me. I am not much of a fighter. I am quick witted, very funny but throwing down back then was never a good plan. I told Lurch “I didn’t know she was your girlfriend, she just came up and talked to me. No worried bro I am not trying to take your girl.” Eventually he walked away and my friend and his 2 friends came up to me, “Lurch was an amateur boxer according to them. So in my mind he could have been a white belt in Karate and I would have been in trouble. Back to the party, we had a few more drinks. Of course talked to a few more girls and that angered Lurch again. Look at this point it became clear, he was trying to be the alpha dog and had to assert that on the new guy. I was in the living room standing and Lurch came up to me again. This time he was just saying “lets box” and he started swinging at me but not hitting me, just making sure to be a few inches from my face. Now this is where most people would fight back but I looked around at a room full of his friends, the 3 I came with cowering in the corner and this wasn’t going in my favor at all. Eventually that dissipated everyone went other rooms including Lurch and I realized I was in a no win situation and it was time to go. I walked outside friends scurrying behind me and then I was surrounded and my friends vanished. If it were Palmdale those friends would have enjoyed those odds. So Lurch steps up and artificially creates a reason to kick my ass “ I told you to leave my girl alone” Again I looked around, everyone from the party was out there and the inner circle was Lurch and his crew as they should have been. I was done so I did what I always do, starting talking. “So let me get this right, you the amateur boxer wants to fight me, some random dude that can’t fight for shit. That’s a great idea” Lurch kinda stopped, I can only assume this was an approach he didn’t expect. He thought it would be best to just yell “Fuck you, I’m going to fuck you up” again I came back now loud enough like it was a presentation “Yea you will and if some strange miracle happens and I get you, all your boys around me will jump right in and beat the shit out of me. So let it be known if you are a new face talking to any girl, you got to piss on the girls to mark their territory and beat some ass makes sense.” Again he was puzzled “You’re a smart ass mother fucker” well now I cant stop. “Maybe so but I know all this makes no sense, 6 on 1, if you guys all need to feel like bad-asses go for it, do what you have to do. This party tomorrow will say wow did you see how bad that dude got fucked up by those 6 guys. THANK GOD YOU ALL ARENT NEW’ I don’t remember the next couple exchanges but they were similar, the last one was something along the lines of me saying “If she really was your girlfriend why was she talking to me” Not that exactly it was much less confrontational than that sounds. I am not a total moron, antagonizing wasn’t what I was going for. Either way Lurch was frustrated and he pulled a gun. Looking back it makes no sense, he could have just destroyed me by kicking my ass. My presentation just had gone too far. So I am there with a gun in my face thinking I am going to die. Nothing shut someone up quicker than that. He got out “Not so much of a smart ass now are you” again if not that it was something to that effect. I have never been so scared in my life. All I could do is walk away and hope he didn’t shoot. So I started to walk away, nobody tried to stop me and he just kept calling me a “fucking pussy.” Yep I’ll take that all day long. Next day I was back in Palmdale.
Over the next year it was some rough times, friends got in more fight, a few more instances of shootings. I did lose a couple more friends to it over the next few years, usually over the stupid tagging shit. My grandparents may have saved my life and took me in when I was 20, back in Manhattan Beach where things were much calmer. Then on May 15th 2013, I got a message from a old friend from High School. One of our friends from Junior High was shot and killed. He was 39 years old, had a pregnant wife and 2 kids. This wasn’t gang violence or stupid kids at a party. This was a business owner whose employee had his work truck parked on a dirt road that made it difficult, for cars to get around. Chris the owner came down to try to calm the situation down. Scott Shipley pulled his gun; I believe a shotgun and shot Chris in the upper torso, killing him. In my mind I thought that’s the Antelope Valley for you. Now it turned out the shooter did have some mental instability but still doesn’t change the result. Family left behind, main source of income is gone and what to do now.
These are just some of the accounts I have had in my life that give me the opinions on this topic that I have. People react in funny ways when they think their civil liberties are being taken away. 2nd amendment right people scream about. “I have the right to carry a gun.” You know what else the 2nd amendment talks about, is a well regulated militia. Yet that part seems to be left out. We spend more money on defense than the next 24 countries combined. Most are our allies. So what regulating are we really doing. As far as guns go, you see where my history is. I will not carry a gun. I have seen that when it comes out more bad happens than good. There is a meme talking about a guy in a supermarket legally carrying a gun and not being a victim if a shooter comes in and shoots up the place. If that ever happens to me and I am not carrying a gun, its ok I am not a victim. I made these choices and so be it. All this being said, guns are not the issue. A gun is an object, if the mentally ill guy who shot Chris was the one that pulled the gun on me at the party I would be dead. He didn’t, it was someone else but in both instances guns were involved 1 man lived and another died because of different human decisions the inanimate object can’t be blamed. Maybe stricter laws but people got drunk during prohibition. Meth is illegal and is a growing problem in America. As usual people are the issue, for that there is no cure. If its not a gun it’s a car, how many people are killed in car accidents each year, so do we take automobiles off the road? No of course not. To take them away or talk gun control is just senseless though. Make it harder to get one, regulate it more but bad will always happen.
There will be another mass shooting, it will be awful and this talk will happen again. Education and safety is always a good way to counter to senseless acts. Try to make the day better as much as you can.