The Guns I’ve Known — Briefly
Most of the guns I’ve intimately known have been imaginary. My first introduction to the real thing — Mr. Bazooka and the Big Boy guns — was at Fort Bragg. My first Memorial Day after my son was killed, the Army flew me to Fort Bragg for the unveiling ceremony of his name engraved on that black marble Fallen Warrior Special Operations Soldiers Memorial Wall — that no mom wants her son’s name etched on. The day before the ceremony, the Army set up tents and displayed equipment our dead children had used. I wanted to put on the J-TAC equipment my son wore. Proud mom interjection: He was the Army’s first qualified J-TAC Evaluator. Take that, Air Force!
I had not yet started CrossFit, so my biceps weren’t strong enough to snatch and clean that heavy sucker over my head and then slip into the 35+ pound J-TAC vest. My Army Ranger escort lowered the carrier vest over me and righted the helmet perched on my head. I hugged the vest close, closed my eyes to feel what this vest felt like against my son’s chest.
My heart wanted to emotionally visualize how my son felt wearing it. In that moment, clutching that vest near my heart was as close as I could get to my son this side of heaven. I aimed a ‘thingee’ that measures the distance from or the coordinates of a target to blow up. The weight of the vest, the “bazooka,” the MK48 and the other big guns that fire a lot of bullets simultaneously surprised me.
What kind of strength does it take to carry warrior garb into battle? Bet the sheer weight sure makes the parachute drop a lot faster to avoid incoming fire. No wonder so many Special Operations soldiers do CrossFit. I needed help to just balance the Big Guns on my shoulder. Being able to touch, hold and attempt to aim those armaments made my day.
Make My Day
When my Warrior Firstborn was four years old, we moved to a state with the Make My Day gun law. The first week I received bizarre, unsolicited advice: If you shoot to kill, make sure you drag the body over the doorstep before you call the cops. Being a gun virgin, plus having moved from the state of fruit and nuts, that seemed like an odd welcome howdy-do-to-you-too. Well, I guessed that was a dandy little fact to file away in my brain . . . just in case I ever bought a gun and killed an intruder . . . I didn’t need to fear prosecution and prison.
Fast forward a decade or so, I confess . . . the threat of terrorists wanting to kill families of the military, shot terror through my heart. The Army Times reported, “Soldiers and their families should be warned the Islamic State is calling on its followers in the United States to use social media sites to “find the addresses of service members, show up [at their homes] and slaughter them,” according to the Army Threat Integration Center. Their social media ‘what not to do list’ didn’t inspire confidence in my safety, since I’d already littered my social media with “I love, love, love Netanyahu’s UN speech” tweets and my name was attached all over the Internet to my son’s notoriety.
To cope, I upped my Walter Mitty dream life. I purchased a handgun with a red laser to aim at the heart to make sure I could stop any terrorist crossing my threshold. Fear churned up my emotional hysteria about the need to obtain a concealed license to carry, a gun, and a pink, girlie fashion-statement holster for my gun and iPhone. My need to verbalize that fear nearly drove my friends crazy and almost sent my daughter-in-love’s Canadian mother over the edge while crossing the border from the United States into Canada. She’d warned me about her multiple, less-than-favorable experiences crossing back and forth into Canada, but I failed to pick up on her message of fear.
Never Say “Bomb” When “Gun” Will Work
During the Cold War, I criss-crossed borders in the Iron Curtain countries smuggling in Bibles and the Good News via a Christian ‘pop’ singing group. We’d laugh hysterically after reciting the four spiritual laws into the lamps and vases (a.k.a. facades for microphones planted by the KGB) for any KBG agents who might be listening. Even the Communist Youth Party invited us to sing and share at their Friday night college gathering, but that’s another story. Trust me, passing back and forth with sale-priced — minus the sales tags — contraband between the American-Canadian border is a breeze. When she said, “Let’s talk about our story before we cross the border and make sure we’re on the same page,” I thought, “What story?” So I was pleasantly surprised by the border guard, who asked, “Where do you live? Where are you going? What’s the reason for your trip?”
“To visit family,” I replied, and pointing to Sarah’s mom, “this is my daughter-in-love’s mother.” He granted us the green light to enter Canada. No hassles. Since my brain was still processing the Army Times warning, the word ‘slaughter’, and my gut fear response, I said, “I have a question to ask you. If I have a concealed license to carry and a gun, can I bring a gun into Canada? I don’t have a concealed license to carry or a gun, but I was just wondering.”
Now my daughter-in-love’s mother’s version of events is: The second I mentioned the word “concealed license to carry” and “gun” the border agent shot straight up into an alert position in his chair as if my chest sported a suicide vest or my car trunk concealed dynamite. All she wanted to do was cruise through the border — no problem. Now I’d committed border-crossing suicide. She imagined being jerked out of the car by the neck and dragged into wherever Canadian border agents drag gun toters to interrogate or to water board suspected terrorists for the next six hours. My version of events is: The nice border agent didn’t flinch, not even one bat of an eyelash, as he politely answered my question.
At least, I learned that he’d take away my gun and pink holster, minus my iPhone, if I ever attempted to bring a licensed concealed weapon into Canada, which was good to know. Because I’d be pretty darn mad if I spent my hard-earned cash on a gun and my pretty pink holster only to be seized at the border — never to be returned. And imagine this American’s surprise to learn that it’s not an international right to bear arms. I guess only hunters in Canada can own guns. Later Sarah’s mom told me a Canadian border agent took away my daughter-in-love’s pepper spray. The nerve of them! A mile past the border, we stopped at Canada’s Starbucks. I picked up a legal Canadian self-defense weapon to keep in the car — a black plastic knife with a serrated edge.
Back in the Good Old USA
When I returned to America and my daughter-in-love’s home, still bothered by the terrorist threat, I gathered the courage to send a frantic Facebook message to my friend, whose husband owns the top gun shop in my town: Sue, I’m visiting my grandchildren right now and will return to the Springs on October 28. I want to buy a gun. I want to learn how to shoot. And I want a concealed weapons permit. Can you help me figure out how to do this? Scoti
I imagined using my new handgun with the red laser dot aimed at a terrorist’s heart. Pow! Pow! Pow! Did I mention I’ve thought about writing murder mystery novels as therapy to kill off anyone who’s ever done me wrong? Needless to say, I’ve practiced quite a bit with my handgun. Apparently, my imaginary target practice paid off. My son-in-love offered to let me shoot his BB-gun rifle. I put on my dollar store magnifying glasses, looked through the viewfinder and aimed the BB-gun up, down and around until my eye located the target in the cross hairs. The target kept bouncing up, down and around, refusing to stay in the middle dot where the hairs crossed. Being a fairly determined person, my competitive self did not want to miss hitting the target. Frustrated that I couldn’t hold the gun steady, I asked, “Am I supposed to hold my breath before I shoot?”
“I saw on a TV show that you take in a deep breath, breathe out and then pull the trigger,” my son-in-love advised.
Sucking in air, I held my breath, anchored my elbows on my knees, eagle-eyed the target, slowly pulled back on the trigger, and BOOM! I breathed out. A pop can leapt out of the grass, sh-zizzled it’s juicy contents and exploded. “Wahoo . . . I hit the target!” What a great feeling!
“That wasn’t the target.” My son-in-love pointed to a 2 x 1 inch plastic Ninja Turtle squatting on a board nailed to a tree about 30 feet away.
Positioning elbows on knees, I sucked in my breath again, froze, aimed, and BOOM! The 4.5 mm BB blew Ninja Turtle’s minuscule belly button to smithereens. Pieces of the mutant turtle warrior careened to ground.
“You cut that Ninja Turtle in half!” My son-in-love couldn’t believe it. Delighted, I hit five out of six guerrilla pop cans hidden in the grass just daring me to make them sh-zizzle with my destructive 4.5 mm BB. Sure disliked missing that one pop can, though.
Hmmm…I guess I missed my calling as a sniper. Now pass me the bazooka.
Reflection: Have you experienced the devastation of infidelity and want to save your relationship or marriage? There is hope.
Get Your Big Brain Back on Track. Emotional and sexual adultery forms a chemical bond in the brain between marital trespassers. Every contact with the third party, triggers the crack cocaine part of your brain, coating your brain with neuro-chemicals altering your judgment. The result? Your big brain does not think rationally. Depending upon the length of your emotional or sexual involvement, it can take from six months to two years for this chemical coating to dissipate.
Engage in Neural Sobriety. Do you want to make your relationship work? Begin by implementing the adultery antidote detox — break all contact with the marital interloper.
Seek Counseling. The emotional upheaval of unfaithfulness shatters trust, the cornerstone of a healthy relationship and commitment. The raw emotional trauma and crazy dynamics are too great to navigate without outside help. Seek out a professional counselor.
Not “Just Friends”: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity, Shirley P. Glass (Author), Jean Coppock Staeheli (Contributor) When you hear these words: “I’m telling you, we’re just friends,” you’re right to be cautious. One of the world’s leading experts on infidelity provides a step-by-step guide through the process of infidelity — from suspicion and revelation to healing, and provides practical guidance to prevent infidelity and, if it happens, recover and heal from it.
This first appeared in The Havok Journal December 31, 2014.
Scoti Springfield Domeij is the proud Gold Star mom of 2/75 Army Ranger, Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer Domeij, KIA on October 22, 2011 during his 14th deployment in Afghanistan. Kristoffer’s death inducted Scoti into the amazing military family and Ranger community. A civilian, Scoti is woefully ignorant of military protocol and acronyms.
She serves as Director of Springs Writers, is a solo-parenting columnist for Colorado Springs Kids, was editor/writer for nine publishers. She’s published in diverse publications including The New York Times, Southwest Art, School Daze, SAM Journal, and parenting magazines. She contributed stories to Violence of Action: The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War on Terror (Blackside Concepts), Love is a Verb Devotional and Heaven Touching Earth (Bethany House), Christmas Miracles (St. Martin’s Press), Extraordinary Answers to Prayer: In Times of Change (Guideposts), and The Mommy Diaries: Finding Yourself in the Daily Adventure (Revell).
A researchaholic, Scoti was Senior Research Assistant/Art Production Coordinator for the 27-part film series shot on location in Israel entitled That the World May Know. She interacted with top scholars, archeologists and museums while researching geography, seasons, feasts, culture, dress, facial ethnicity, machinery, furniture, weapons, wars, architecture, archeological discoveries, Roman culture and government, ancient religious beliefs, flora and fauna to conceptualize historically, archeologically and biblically-accurate art compositions used for over 200 art renderings and maps.