Every day I read about the increasing gun violence in America. It truly amazes me that these shootings take place on a daily basis. Gosh, when is it enough?
When I worked in Dallas there was a guy named Don. Worked in the mailroom and then was promoted to management. Can’t remember if it was a temporary position. It was a time of growth in this particular office and we were filling spots everywhere.
Don would poke his head in my office and say good morning with a huge smile. Some folks thought he was sucking up to management. I didn’t care. Would rather have someone making an effort to stop and be friendly. More flies with honey than vinegar as the saying goes.
On cold days he would sometimes laugh and say he thought of me on the way to work. Because he once heard me kvetching about companies on the main road that did not turn off their automatic water sprinklers. In cold, RAINY weather! It was like a death slide into work.
Anyway, it is always nice to hear that you will forever be associated with automatic sprinklers.
Don’s wife worked in the office as a customer service representative. His son was also employed by the company.
The marriage went south. He and his wife split up. Not sure why. But it happens.
He kept company with one of our female employees. And I heard rumors that he also kept company with a crack pipe. Not sure when exactly these two things came into play. But rumors were rampant in an office that size so I didn’t pay too much attention.
So who knows what came first? The chicken or the crack pipe?
What I do know is this. One October morning in 1997 a group of us were heading to the Texas State Fair for the day. Under the guise of team building.
But before we left the office that morning we learned that Don was dead.
The girl he had been spending time with shot him. More than once. She then turned the gun on herself. Ending her life also. That’s what was reported to us. I suppose based on blood splattered walls and who was left with the smoking gun in hand.
I had no idea that this young woman carried a gun in her purse. And I heard, after this horrible thing, that she had. Quite frankly, the thought wouldn’t have even occurred to me back then.
My job in Dallas was managing attendance and disability. And many times disciplining and terminating employees who showed no improvement.
This gal with the gun was not assigned to me. She reported to my friend, Kim, who was in the office right next door to me. They met on more than one occasion. Kim might have even fired her. My memory fails me there.
But what has never left my memory is the image of an unstable, young blond girl sitting in my friend’s office with a loaded handgun concealed in her purse.
What bothers me still?
Schools, homes, offices, movie theaters, post offices, churches, malls, and routine traffic stops.
So many unsafe places in America. And so many triggers.