How a Gun Saved My Life When It Almost Took It

Townhall Media

I stand there perfectly calm, relaxed even, loading shells into my Remington 1100. After the third shell, I pull back the charging handle, putting the gun into battery. Like any good hunter, I top it up with an additional shell. Except, I'm not hunting today. I'm preparing to end it all. Years of stress as a first responder have led me to this moment, but just as I’m about to pull the trigger, the phone rings.


On the line is my friend from my rescue years, going through similar struggles. I share my dark intentions, and he yells, "IF YOU HANG UP, I’LL BEAT THE S*** OUT OF YOUR CORPSE!"

I struggled with self-worth my entire life; I wasn't good at much. But I was good at shooting; I won my first national title at 15. As a first responder, I worked the weekend night shift. I could no longer go out and practice, compete, and fix my broken mental health.

The irony is that my broken mental health stems from seeing trauma as a first responder; the same trauma I’m about to become. The human mind can take in a lot; what makes something traumatic for an individual is how they deal with it afterward. 

As a first responder, we are taught that we are heroes; we don’t need help; we can do it on our own. We also knew that if you actually spoke up and sought help, your career was over. You wouldn't be trusted anymore by your superiors. Now, I’m about to be another EMT’s reason for going home and crying. Who knows, maybe I’d be the reason they go home and kill themselves as well. None of these thoughts crossed my mind as I stood there; what did cross my mind was why was I loading more than one round. The majority of suicides I responded to, the firearm was loaded with multiple rounds as well. I still don’t know why.

Fast forward to our opening lines, and my friend arrived; he took my shotgun, made me pour out the whiskey, and come with him. I slept for about a day, and then we went shooting.


You see, here's where I tell you all some truths about me. I'm currently a therapist working with kids and first responders who are struggling with PTSD like I was. The skills that I teach my clients about mindfulness are the exact skills we use when shooting. Breathing control, focusing on only what matters, pushing out the distractions, and finally releasing the shot. 

My friend knew what he was doing. He knew the only way forward for me was to face my fears and stop distracting myself with alcohol. We shot guns and we talked; I cried a lot. In the end, I became a better man.

 It wasn't an overnight change. There were years of hardship; I took my anger out on my new girlfriend (now wife), and I took my anger out on my wonderful dog who to this day loves me unconditionally; I do not deserve that forgiveness, but both of them gave it to me.

That moment we opened up happened over a decade ago, but I can still remember every move I made. 

Today I work with an organization called Walk the Talk America; we are the intersection of guns and mental health. We train therapists in what gun culture is and work with firearm owners to seek care without fear of rights restrictions. When I was loading my gun, I needed something to grab ahold of my consciousness and cause me to pause and think. Luckily, I had a phone call. But not everyone is that lucky. 

Wherever you keep your firearms, put a picture of something that means a lot to you in that location. It could be a family member, a kid, or even your pet. For me, it's a Walk the Talk America sticker; I never want my efforts to be for nothing because I used a gun. For a free and anonymous health screening, please check out You can also find other resources such as a list of firearm-competent therapists in your area.


We as men need to take better care of ourselves and reach out to our brothers. You never know when a gun might just save their life when it's about to take it.

Editor's note: For more on Walk the Talk America and Eddie's outreach to gun owners, check out today's Bearing Arms Cam & Co in the video window below, where I chat with Eddie and WTTA's Mike Sodini about the things we can do as gun owners to help our brothers and sisters who are struggling. And if you are in need of immediate assistance, please call the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. 

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