An Ounce of Prevention

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Good evening! I can’t remember when my last update was, and instead of looking, I’m just going to tell a story!

Over the weekend, I was cleaning our new garage. These are the things that come from no longer living with one’s parents — one has to do things like clean garages, mow lawns, and get a power strip to put in the garage so that a mini fridge can be plugged in. You know, the important things. But this is not really about cleaning the garage, although that is the setting. The Goose was kindly staying with her grandparents, so I had time to arrange things.

As I was cleaning, I heard the POP POP POP of gunfire. Our home is in a neighborhood that borders a rural area, so I didn’t think much of it. Right across the street, if one were to go behind those houses, one would see open fields. I figured someone was out shooting in their back yard, because it had the rhythmic POP POP POP of range practice. I’ve fired a gun or two in my time. I can’t always hit the broad side of a barn, but I know what range fire sounds like.

So while I’m cleaning the garage and putting things into my car, I hear a WHIZ WHIZ with the POP POP POP.

POP POP WHIZ WHIZ. Oh what a…. nevermind.

SO! The WHIZ sound sounded like bullets going by me! I had heard that sound at the range before too, but only when I’m close to the other shooters and wearing ear protection that muffles the gunshot enough to hear the bullet sing through the air. I wasn’t sure what to think about this, but thought that maybe some weird sound-reflective property of the neighborhood houses was bouncing that sound back to me. I didn’t hear the THWACK of bullets hitting anything, so I didn’t think much of it.

UNTIL I SAW POLICE ACROSS THE STREET.

Without going into a huge amount of detail, here’s the gist: Our neighbor’s house across the street had sustained a bullet wound. The bullet had struck and penetrated the outer wall of the house, passed through the living room and struck an end table. The bullet kept going and passed through the end table, through the next wall into their child’s play room, and stopped in a stuffed animal. Only walls, end tables, and stuffed animals were harmed, fortunately, even though the children were in the room at the time.

Later we found out that our next-door neighbor’s house was hit too. OUR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR. I was outside during this whole thing and didn’t notice that I was in potential mortal danger. I’m very glad the Goose was out of town. I’ve checked our house all over and haven’t found any bullet holes, so we were spared. What’s crazy is that the people shooting were about a half mile away and had no clue their bullets were able to travel that far.

I won’t speak to what people should have known when using firearms. People make mistakes, and thank God, no one got hurt. To their credit, they all turned white as ghosts when the police officer told them he found a bullet in a child’s stuffed animal.

This is why people who have cats and children and firearms need to teach them all about gun safety. Especially the cats and the firearms.