My dad was a free spirit and he was very opinionated at times. He was a lot of fun to hang out with, and he was my good friend, actually.
I lost him in 2006. He had previously attempted suicide by other means and was able to get treatment, but this final time, he used a friend’s gun. He found the gun in a bedroom drawer, unsecured. Even though it was years ago that my dad died, the way I describe it for people is my dad shot himself and the bullet hit everyone in his life.
I started talking about my dad’s death with others, and I learned that other people either knew personally someone or knew of someone through another person who had died by suicide. And then I found out how many of those deaths are firearm suicides. It’s really shocking and you realize that it's something that so many people are dealing with. And they don't really talk about it enough.
If they did talk about it more, then these deaths – including my dad’s -- could be prevented. We can secure guns in the home so that in a moment of frustration or despair someone in the household can't easily get their hands on a loaded gun -- just creating that lack of access in the immediacy of the moment can help someone, perhaps, calm down or seek help out in some other way.