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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

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.

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    • I know, because if drugs and drunk driving are illegal then they won’t be a problem anymore. We should get a few new govt agencies to enforce these laws too.

      • Time was, cops would merely take drunks home to let them sleep it off. Hows the situation now? You know drunk driving laws have made a difference and while not perfect at least it’s not a joke to drive blitzed any longer.

    • Prohibition worked so well before right? And banning drugs is working so well now right? It’s not the drugs, its the people. Opiates (Heroin included) used by pain patients have an addiction rate less then 3%, much much lower then the legal cigarettes or Alcohol. Pot, again, is only “addictive” to a small subset of people who will end up abusing anything, regardless what it is.

      Not to mention I’ve seen and met ton’s of pot heads and never once has one of them been murderous. Lazy and worthless maybe, but dangerous? not likely. Alcohol has plenty of evidence of violence in its abuse, but again, Prohibition taught us how ineffective such laws are.

  1. Five plus years ago, living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was fine with private citizens owning only non semi-auto long guns. I was against civilians owning any hand guns and all semi-autos. My diverse readings lead from one subject to another topic, and that lead me to learn the truth about pro-gun related concepts such as keeping our liberty, gun ownership reducing crime, etc. My outlook changed.

  2. aharon, it is good to hear this rational, educated change of heart you experienced. i wish it was as easy with all people.

    • Bill,

      this is obviously not true. Perhaps you are young. But I am in my fifties. When I was in high school, anti-gun bills passed with wide bipartisan margins in both Congress and state legislatures. Most people in national polls said they were for national gun registration and handgun bans. (“Assault Rifle” was a term of art used only by students of military weapons). It seemed logical to most people that high crime was caused by bad tempers and too-easy access to guns.

      In retrospect, this looks very silly. But that was the state of the nation around 1970.

      A lot of people worked very hard to change public attitudes. The brief revolt of the 2A activists against the Fudds at NRA helped. A widening perception that bad people, not bad things, generated crime, helped. Popular entertainments like Dirty Harry movies and Charles Bronson’s many vigilante flicks helped.

      I live in one of the more liberal areas of the most libertarian state in the Union. A week doesn’t pass without someone mentioning to me that they don’t own guns, or shoot, or hunt; but that they fully support our neighbors who do. In 1970s you’d have heard people inveighing against Bambi killers and the dreaded menace of gun collectors with rooms full of unfired Winchesters!

      You don’t change the culture by convincing one Kirsten Lodge, of course. But you can’t do it by writing off Kirsten Lodge, either. Yes, it is much harder to reason someone out of a position she didn’t reason herself into in the first place, but we of all people should understand that guns are emotionally loaded objects.

      You don’t take a kid who’s scared of horses and saddle up a skittish Arabian. You start him with an old retired trail horse who’s looking to trade a nuzzle for an apple, and work to overcome the aversion by degrees. With some people, “sink or swim” works, with others, it’s the worst thing you could try.

      And some are sworn enemies, and they must be beaten, but we’re beating mistaken humans here, not monsters. It’s always better to convert or co-opt them than to clobber them.

      • Kevin O’Brien, of you were replying to me, I’m Ralph. Although as a lawyer, I also answer to the name “bill,” with a small b.

        As to my age, I’m 64 and have gone through more ideological courtroom wars in my lifetime than most people. All I can say is, to me you are young.

        I did not address my comment to the undecided, but to the gungrabbers. They do not change. The difference between now and 1968 is that the memories of murdered politicians, used by the gungrabbers to justify their mischief, has faded. People have decided that it is their best interest to own a gun and know how to use it.

        Younger people who question everything aren’t buying into the “guns are evil” meme, and women of all ages are beginning to realize how at-risk they truly are. The gungrabbers, however, are like Old Man River. They just keep rolling along, right over us.

  3. Excellent story!

    But now, someone is walking an ominous – looking yellow lab in a park without a leash!

    C’mon Telomere, I know you find that offensive!

    (Flamesuit on)


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