Yesterday, in our quiet little town, we had a terrible incident. Following an early morning domestic dispute, a man barricaded himself inside of his pickup, in his driveway with two loaded guns. The standoff lasted for twelve hours, and ended with the police moving in, and the man being killed.
Sometimes these things happen, and we make a quick judgment about the situation, and move on with our lives. But, rarely do they affect our own lives so directly. This incident happened less than a mile from my home, and in the neighborhood that I just moved from, in July. The man's name was Brian Wood, and he lived next door to a good friend of mine. I didn't know Brian well, I had only met him a couple of times.
But, and this is where my heart breaks, he has a ten year old son. This boy is a good friend of my son, Matthew. They are in the same class in school. They play on the same soccer team. Before we moved, they were in the same Cub Scout troop. I don't know what led to the standoff, but I do know that whatever it was, it was not worth the damage that has been done to this boy.
I lost my dad, when I was twenty-six, to a momentary, idiotic decision. It left a gap in my life, impossible to fill. But, I was an adult -- I cannot imagine what this young man is dealing with, and will deal with forever. No one wants the last memory of their dad to be this, but because of what happened, this boy will remember that terrible night, every time he thinks of his father.
I want to judge this man harshly, and if I didn't have a personal connection, I probably would. But, my personal connection is my son. I talked to Matthew about the situation when I got home tonight. He told me that counselors came to his class today to talk to the kids about what had happened, and to help them cope with it, and to help them know how to help this man's son, when, and if, he returns to the class. Matthew reminded me that Brian Wood took him, and the other cub scouts, to day camp for two days, back in June. He told me that he was really a cool guy. Suddenly, I was grateful that Matt had had that experience.
Matthew knows that this man was not a monster. When so many other people only know what they saw on the nightly news, Brian's son will have a few friends, including Matthew that know that there is more to the story.
As for Matthew, he is pretty subdued. He told me he just hopes that his friend doesn't stop playing soccer.
My heart is broken.