So my son got shot today.
But before we get all of your sympathy, you should know, he’s fine. He’s left with nothing more than a pellet gun perpetuated flesh wound and an impressive looking bruise on his chest.
I want to tell this story because:
1) we learn things from stories,
2) for all our family and friends that read this, it saves us from telling the story over and over again, and as my wife will attest, every time I talk about this I get more and more upset…and
3) it’s 3:45am, I can’t sleep, and I’ve just finished checking on our 3 kids for the 4th time tonight, because, apparently, they can’t sleep either.
Yesterday was proceeding like any other perfect long weekend at the cottage: lots of swimming, jumping off the dock, relaxing in the sun, playing in the sand – all without a care in the world (which would be our kids’ perspective because all parents know, once you have kids, there’s not a second that goes by without a care).
Then without warning, on this peaceful motor boat/water skier/canoe/stand-up-paddle-boarder populated lake, we were shot at. Not once or twice, but 3 shots as we would later realize. I remember the moment like it was yesterday. It was yesterday. But I’m certain I’ll remember it “like it was yesterday” for a long time.
Our oldest daughter and I were swimming in the water, about 10 feet off the dock where my second oldest/youngest was relaxing, and about 3 feet from my wife and almost 2 year old son, who were relaxing and cuddling on a rather large, 10-person floating island.
As I was emerging from below the surface of the amazing 78 degree lake water, I heard a sound, like something was thrown or skipped very quickly across the water as right by my ear. I had no clue what it was, but a few seconds later, now fully emerged and trying to climb onto the floating island, my wife accusingly asked “What did you just throw?” Something had hit our son in the chest! Still confused but very concerned after seeing the shocked and painful look on his face, I yelled to pull up his shirt. We were presented with a small but painful looking (and bleeding) wound in the middle of his chest.
Still, we have no real idea what would have caused this. We go through several (possible and impossible) causes. Including, but not limited to:
- ‘something’ popped out of the floating island and whipped him in the chest
- a super fast flying bug flew right into his chest (my favourite theory)
- a passing boat’s motor shot something out of the water and right into his chest
As we’re trying to do our best CSI, while comforting our still in shock “victim”, and trying to get the floaty back to the dock, we hear another sound. A loud “pop” coming from the floaty – something had just hit the floating island. No longer are we curious about the cause of the wound, we’re SCARED that we’re under attack and it’s going to happen again. “Are we being shot at?” I asked my wife.
I order my eldest out of the water and to head towards the cottage with her younger sister. My wife takes our son onto the dock for closer examination and “cover” behind the boat. As she does this, we both hear a sound from the boat. It’s the engine’s blower! That’s it! The kids must have accidentally turned on the blower just a few seconds before we went into the water, the blower must have picked up something and “shot” it towards us. That would explain the 3 separate shots being fired. Man were we relieved we weren’t being attacked!
After she cleaned and bandaged our son’s wound, my wife calls the boat company. She tells the technician our story and asked if it’s possible the blower could have caused the injury. “The only thing it can ‘shoot’ is a candy wrapper” he says. We’re back to being confused.
By this point we had calmed down a little. Our son was already back to his rambunctious self and was playing with his sisters. We realize there have been no more shots and that everyone else on the lake was still out enjoying the beautiful day. Although we still don’t know exactly what had happened, our brains told us not to be scared. We were once again taking advantage of the sun and watching our kids play on the beach. Eventually we decide to take one last canoe ride before packing up to leave for home in the evening. At the tail end of our voyage, just a few cottages away from my brother’s cottage, my wife lets out an actress-like gasp. I turn my head as if on a swivel for her to say “Oh my God! There’s someone shooting from that cottage!!” He’s the one that shot our son!!”
I looked up to see a teenager holding a rifle looking out into the water. He turned to shoot his gun into the woods behind him. We decided, without hesitation, to park the canoe and tell the adults we saw up on the deck with him exactly what had happened. As my wife and I take turns describing to the adults how this child with the gun must have (accidentally, hopefully) shot our son earlier in the day, we both start to shake with anger as we realize that these people, these adults, not only admit that they know that he shoots out towards the lake, but that they don’t care that the child with a rifle could have KILLED our son. He could have killed anyone.
They had zero concern and zero remorse. They didn’t even take his gun. He continued to shoot into the forest (away from the lake).
We might as well have told them that we had a great breakfast – they didn’t care. If their dog wasn’t barking/growling at us from the dock, and we didn’t have all 3 kids with us, someone may have been killed this day.
We angrily paddled back home, shakingly called 911 and informed them that people were allowing a child to shoot at other people on a busy lake and that our son thankfully only had a flesh wound. They sent an officer and two ambulances. For precaution, they took our son (with my wife) to the local hospital to be examined and I told the officers the story. I asked if I could press charges. They said “we’ll see”.
At the hospital, our son entertained the nurses and on call physicians with his dancing and singing. And because he dances like a New Zealand Rugby player and sings like a Minion from Despicable Me, the staff really enjoyed him. As expected, he was given a clean bill of health. The police officers showed up at the hospital to check on our son and we were told they wouldn’t be able to press charges but that the boy seemed scared enough that it wouldn’t happen again.
As I write this, I’m still in disbelief that:
1) Our son was 4 inches away from possibly dying or at least having a much more serious injury. The pellet hit him on an angle, not direct. And from the approximately 100 meter distance, a direct hit to a young body can do some serious and sometimes lethal damage.
2) These “adults” would allow a child to shoot a pellet gun out towards a busy lake and think nothing of it
3) These “adults”, upon hearing that this child shot our son, had absolutely ZERO concern or remorse.
4) We couldn’t (legally) do anything about it aside from a stern talking to from the police. This kid could have killed someone and all he’s told is to be more careful.
I mentioned earlier that you learn things from stories like this. What did I learn?
1) You shouldn’t joke about your child being similar to a famous movie criminal. On the way to my brother’s cottage this weekend, I jokingly called him Tony Montana, aka “Scarface”, because a recent fall into the corner of a table has left him with a mean looking scar on the bridge of his nose. Little did I know, he would get his first (and hopefully only) bullet wound only 2 days later.
2) No matter how much we try and protect our kids, there are stupid people out there that let their stupid kids play with stupid toy guns and point them towards a lake of unsuspecting, innocent people.
Thanks for reading my rant. It’s now 5:00am and I feel a little better for writing this down. I hope everyone has a great Labour Day and is ready for the start of the school year. Be safe!!