On October 19, 2016, my first-born son, Jonah, 6 feet two inches, beautiful, National Honor Society student, who loved basketball, Sonic the Hedgehog and drawing, who could talk a mean streak, whose favorite color was green, who gave the biggest hugs, who went to the youth group at the Baptist church on our street and helped the pastor break up fights when necessary, who ate cereal in the morning out of large serving bowls, and who was attending an early college program and was coming out of his shell in the diversity that offered, killed himself with an unsecured weapon one month after his 17th birthday.
Jonah had suffered from suicidal thoughts since the age of 8, and I had begged his father to lock up his weapons. I followed him around to ask where they were being stored, provided articles and statistics, and even bought him two lock boxes to safely store them in.
Jonah, however, knew what I did not, which is that his Dad had lied when he told me all of his guns were locked up. My son, who had a photographic memory, knew there was a pistol in the closet of the hallway where he was found after removing his glasses, laying on the carpet, and shooting himself in the right temple. I would give my life for another one of his hugs.