October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read and share stories to honor survivors whose lives have been changed by domestic violence.

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Meredith Jade Keeton

In memory of David Tupper Keeton

My father, David, was an outdoorsman, gardener, inventor and avid NRA member and gun collector, having over 50 firearms at one point in his life. As he became physically disabled due to osteonecrosis and more dependent on mobility aids, he felt fearful about the need to protect himself and his family—especially after break-ins and robberies of his home.

I grew up surrounded by paranoia and hyper-vigilance about security, but also love. I learned gun safety from a very young age.

My father had a rocky relationship with the woman he married after my parents divorced, and she planned to leave to pursue another relationship. My father was killed by a gunshot wound to the head during an argument, deemed suicide by the Chilton, Texas, police department. His wife donated the majority of his belongings to Goodwill and left the state before his burial. Her new partner, present during the argument, was not formally questioned.

My father deserved another chapter in his life, and his family deserves to know what actually happened to cause his death. It is too easy to write off gun violence as someone else’s problem, to dismiss these lives, until it’s someone you love.

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