TTAG reader Ellen F. writes:
I appreciate that you guys tell the truth about firearm suicide. The way some liberals mislead people, lumping suicide in with “gun violence” is unconscionable. It’s unconscionable not only because it’s plainly agenda-driven and dishonest, but because it keeps Americans in the dark about a real, ongoing tragedy. Fifty people every day, many of them veterans, take their own lives with firearms. Their stories should be told, not hidden in a false statistic.
Instead, thanks to anti-gunners’ lies, people who are suffering feel even more alone and isolated. Many wouldn’t know where to get help, even if they were willing to seek it.
This issue has affected me personally, and my experience motivated me to participate in some initiatives with the AFSP, which recently partnered with the NSSF to fight firearm suicide. I hope other pro-gun Americans will consider doing these things.
Also, if you feel your readers might appreciate it, I want to share this poem I wrote (changing the name) in honor of someone who never sought help, never said a word to anyone, and never indicated in any way that he was fighting this battle until it was too late.
The Ballad of Willie Lester
Willie Lester was a man
who toured in Afghanistan.
He left when he was barely 18.
On that day, his mother cried
with sunshine in her eyes;
her son looked better than she’d ever seen.
He was decorated some
for how well he used his gun,
but mostly for the lives he fought to save.
He showed valor in a time
when his brothers lost their minds;
he was smart, strong, quick on his feet and brave.
He left with a purple heart,
but that was just the start
of the fearless fighter’s suffering and pain.
He came home where he grew up
and frequently threw up
from the flashbacks of his buddies maimed and slain.
Surrounded by the sound of the screaming
at night he never knew if he was dreaming—
but in public he was fine
as he laughed, drank and dined,
telling war stories his mom could understand.
Little did Ms. Lester know
death had dealt the fatal blow
long ago to her exceptional young man.
One day, Willie got dressed,
hung his medals on his chest
and wrote a letter for when he was dead:
Ma, my head’s so full of war,
there’s nothing left from before,
so I have to put a bullet there instead.
He pulled the trigger fast.
All his neighbors heard the blast
and stretched their rubber necks to see the sight
of the man whose violent pain
pulverized his brain
til he was killed by his own will to fight.