Kristen Lodge’s friend, Nathan Lyczak, lost his father to a drunken, stoned 19-year-old driver named Jason Sokorelis. Nathan’s dad Richard was driving the family home when Sokorelis rammed Lyczak’s car from behind—and then shot him as he drove past. As Nathan got out of the back seat to help his seriously injured father, Sokorelis came back and took a shot at him as well. Richard Lyczak died 10 days later. A reasonable person would blame the drugged-up driver for this senseless murder. But Kirsten didn’t initially believe that it was Jason’s fault. Instead, she blamed the gun . . .
According to her column at skyhidailynews.com:
Sokorelis was convicted of second-degree murder and was sentenced to 60 years to life in prison for killing Lyczak, and attempting to kill his wife and their son. Their lives have never been the same.
At 23, I had never known someone who died, much less who had been murdered. Prior to this day I had never held a gun and didn’t know anyone who owned a gun. Afterward, I didn’t want to see, hold, or touch a gun, and I supported gun control laws with the hope that something like this crime would never happen again.
Her friend’s father was killed by the gunshot to the head that Jason fired as he drove past.
Family history can sometimes determine how we feel about guns and gun laws. I didn’t grow up around guns, didn’t know anyone who hunted. Then, a close friend’s father is killed in a senseless crime involving a gun. Why would I ever want to even own a gun? Or want to know how to shoot one?
It made no more sense to blame the gun that was used than it would be to blame the car and Kirsten eventually figured that out.
Our experiences can force us to think outside our comfort zones or hide within them. Holding a rifle at the Hot Sulphur shooting range brought back all the fear and anger from the murder of my friend’s father, yet I shot the rifle to get the certification.
She has since completed a hunter safety education course and is now taking a concealed carry class. She finishes her column by saying:
I am taking the concealed-carry class because I want to know how to protect myself. Choice can determine our experiences and I want all the knowledge at my disposal. Continuing education is the only way to move out of our self-imposed comfort zones.
This just goes to show that we should never stop trying to reach and educate non-gunnies, even those who we think are hopelessly anti-gun. It’s always possible – even where you least expect it – for reason to penetrate even time-hardened layers of hoplophobia.