Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Accidental Bullet

CRACK! What sounded like a gunshot echoed directly outside of my open office window on Monday morning, startling my colleague and me. We looked at each other and one of us said, "that couldn't be what I think that was? Was it?" But it was.

A clear October morning interrupted by a single shot from a gun. A bullet from a gun that went off accidentally while the owner was cleaning his gun in an apartment directly behind my office. The bullet tore through his concrete wall and wooden window sill, continued over our patio, and drifted through the trees, dripping their autumn splendor. The accidental bullet entered our event center through the only open window in the entire room, whizzed past a table of people using the event center, slashed the carpet, and grazed an arm chair before embedding itself in the wall on the opposite side of the room.

No one was hurt because everyone was miraculously away from the open window that was cracked open a few inches. No glass was shattered. No one was hit as the bullet bounced up from the ripped carpet to finally rest in the wall.

The group who was renting the event center were obviously shaken and retreated to another, safer part of the building for lunch. This group dealt with people in crisis every day. Perhaps that prepared them somewhat and helped them cope with a random stray bullet interrupting their meeting.

Staff were visibly distressed. The police arrived to verify the 9-11 call that the incident was an accident. I watched them carry a very large rifle case out to the squad car.

I did not have to pull out the Crisis Communications plan that I wrote and did not put it into action. This story could have ended so differently as many horrible headlines ran through my mind during the aftermath. Someone could have been killed.

But that did not happen. Instead we revel in life. That accidental bullet stopped our world if only for a moment. It made us realize how truly fragile life is. Instead of managing a crisis, my colleagues and I along with the guests at the event center can rejoice! Amazingly, except for some holes in walls and carpet, all was well. Today and every day that we walk past that window, we will rejoice!

I must give credit to my colleague Julianne whose words inspired me to release this blog post.


Jo said...

I don't know what to say. Makes me angry, scared, sad, and then so relieved no one was hurt!

cdboock said...

Dad and I give thanks to the Lord that no one was hurt in this "accident". My other concern is that - how can a "responsible" gun owner not know how to clean a gun? The first thing he/she should have done is check to make sure it was not loaded before cleaning the weapon. He/she could have easily shot themselves. Should anyone be able to own a gun who doesn't know how to clean it??
Glad you are safe!!
Love You so much!

Christianna said...

The experience is very much a mixed bag of emotions. I too wonder why he forgot to check if his gun was loaded before cleaning it. Very, very lucky!

Sally said...

Thanks for the post, gun owners need to remember that their lack of responsibility often results in the injury or death of an innocent beloved member of someone else’s family. When gun owners make mistakes, the rest of us can lose so much.