Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Good Man Down

A long time family friend tried to kill himself the other night, and he did it in a most unusual way.

First some background. He served two combat tours in Vietnam with the special forces, and rumor has it he was involved in a lot of very, very hairy shit. He never speaks of it at all. I mean never at all, zip. Stupid me, I slipped up one day and asked him about it.

“What I did in Vietnam was bullshit,” he said, and that was that, period. His tone was firm and the meaning was crystal clear: drop the subject.

Underneath his gruff, stubborn manner is a very kind and decent man. He was a good father to his children and raised his second wife’s kids as though they were his own. It’s not a cliche to say that he’d give you the shirt off his back. He’s also funnier than hell. But Vietnam scarred him, and he dealt with it through a combination of alcohol and meth. He’s also diabetic. Bad luck always attracts more bad luck. In his case some of it is self-inflicted, but a lot of it is not. His wife recently died and he’s been a broken man ever since. Back on speed. Back on the bottle. Got fired from his job. A full cycle of defeat. He looks like terrible too, frail, emaciated, unkempt. It’s no secret to anyone that he’s completely given up on life.

The other night he enticed a cop to pull him over and then sped away. After being chased for a while he finally stopped, at which point another cop wheeled around to block him from the front. While they were still sitting in their cars, he put his truck in reverse and slammed into one of them. Than he gassed it forward and crashed into the other. At this point the details get sketchy and contradictory. One person told me he drew a gun, another says he didn’t. I don’t know. But police opened fire on him and shot him in the hand. Everyone spontaneously reached the same conclusion. He wanted to get shot. He tried to commit suicide by cop.

He’s still alive, but his story is over. He’s going to die in prison.

Meanwhile, according to Raw Story, the lovely and gracious Michele Bachman —avid support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — is proposing to cut spending on veteran’s health and disability benefits. My hero.

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