The mirror was the main thing.
I’d been asleep about an hour when LuAnn got a panicked call from a relative. Her son, Harry S, was missing. He’s a late 20’s man and so that wasn’t necessarily a problem.
But the gun was. And the talk of suicide. And shooting up his apartment.
I called three different police agencies to try and find him. And to let them know he was depressed, off his meds, and he might not listen to their instructions to put down the weapon.
But I didn’ t think the cops would find him. In my darkest moments, I thought we’d find him, along with the brother and father he didn’t get along with so well, in a bloodbath at the farm.
Saturday night he’d shot up his apartment. Killed the TV and the mirror while his roommate stood by stunned. But Harry S hadn’t attempted to kill himself. Though he’d said he wanted to, he hadn’t put the gun against his head, hadn’t pulled the trigger, hadn’t thought – while the bullet was whistling through the barrel – that he shouldn’t have done it.
Sunday morning, he raced to his father’s farm, snatched his father’s gun, and tried to wake the man up to get the bullets. His father – no doubt sleeping off a booze blast from the night before – later said Harry S had absolutely been suicidal.
Sunday night, Harry S slept in his car in the machine shed at the farm. His brother and father slept in the house and this is what makes me absolutely purple with rage. They knew he was suicidal so they let him sleep in the goddamned barn. Didn’t call anyone to ask about crisis intervention, didn’t think to let his mother know what was up.
Monday morning, his mother was out of her mind with worry because who knows where her son is and she’s beginning to hear there was some sort of problem Saturday night. She calls us and we go to work trying to find him.
Eventually the cops found him at his apartment and he was safe. They charged with a few misdemeanor counts related to the gun, but refused to leave him at the apartment. The Lt. I talked to said, “He has some issues, Trey. I couldn’t leave him alone.”
Then we started looking for treatment centers. He suffers from depression, I think, but also a bit too much of the beer, as well as physiological problems related to a head injury from a motorcycle crash a few years ago. Welcome to the American Health Care System. He had no insurance so he got most basic treatment after the crash. Put him back together and shove him out the door.
No follow up, no long term care, nothing. Yeah, he couldn’t afford it, I get that, but now he’s a much larger drain on society because three separate police agencies, a State’s Attorney’s Office, a Public Defender’s Office, a Victim’s Advocate’s Office, a Judge and his staff, the circuit court system, and a treatment center are all spending time and money on his case.
Seems like it would have been easier to fix him right the first time.
I managed to see him for a few minutes at my jail. He came out of the holding cell bleary-eyed and looking confused and embarrassed. He turned away from me at first, then seemed to emotionally cling to me.
He shrugged. “I guess.”
“You wanna go home?”
I asked not to be a smart ass, which is my usual mode, but because I genuinely wasn’t sure where he wanted to go or where his head was. I believed it possible he’d rather stay in jail where he was at least safe from shooting himself and might get a little medical attention.
“Yeah, I think I do.”
I nodded and gave him a terrorist fist jab. “All right, then. LuAnn will be here in a while.”
He nodded, a relieved look on his face, and stumbled back to the holding cell.
Then I went across the street and talked to the State’s Attorney. I explained what had happened and how we were getting him into treatment for his problems and how he’d never had a legal problem before and on and on. I did not – and will not – ask for any special treatment. But I have no problem at all asking for first time offender treatment. He committed the crimes and should be popped for them, especially for firing a gun in an apartment. But Al Capone he ain’t.
The State’s Attorney told me to me keep him posted and we’d see what happened. As vague as it was, that was about the best I could hope for.
He stayed at our house that night and slept better than he had in weeks and the next morning, his mother took him to treatment. They admitted him, said instantly they could tell he was on the wrong meds (which sort of didn’t matter since he wasn’t taking them regularly…and was drinking when he did), and added that they wanted to do some testing of the motorcycle injury to his head.
In other words, they wanted to treat the whole problem. For the first time in years, someone wanted to take a look at the entire mess that is Harry S and see if the can de-mess-ify him.
I have no idea if Harry S is going to be fine. He might be dead next week. Or he might be in school, concentrating on learning how to weld. But simply being able to take a breath and have someone take a look is a new and different and positive step for him.
His father never lifted a fucking finger. His father, when we called him Monday morning, couldn’t have been less interested. When we called him Monday night, he was actually at a party of some sort, drinking himself into oblivion.
And I never heard from his brother.
Why are LuAnn and I working our assess of to help him while his family fiddles and watches the fire?
And yet the thing I keep coming back to is the mirror. It got shot up, along with the TV, in the Saturday Night Massacre. But it didn’t get hit accidentally. It didn’t get sprayed with bullets while Harry S was firing and spinning around the room like a two-bit gangster.
It got hit when he was staring at it. He shot it because he didn’t like what he saw in it.