The story I’m about to share with you still keeps me up at night. If I ponder too long on the incident, my stomach begins to churn and it brings me close to tears.
When I was young my biological father and I would head up to Chappaqua, NY to spend time at his wonderful gun club.
There were father son weekends and outings when members got together to shoot trap, skeet, and sporting clays. We would see who could throw a baited fishing line the farthest. We had skills test for fly fishing to see how far you could cast a fly fishing rod. There were water boils and canoe races. It was just awesome.
At a very young age it was pounded in my head about gun safety. Don’t ever point a gun at anyone. There were range rules and etiquette we had to abide by. Safety covered the whole spectrum from pistols all the way down to how we chopped wood.
I took great pride in making sure every firearm I used was clean and safe at all times. I had a routine. The most important part of that routine was NEVER leave a gun loaded anywhere, but always assume there is ammo in it, so check it first and then confirm it’s safe.
I did this my whole life. It was second nature. It was habit.
When my father moved from Greenwich, CT down to Vero Beach Florida, the shooting bug went with him. We stopped going to Camp Fire, which I regret, and we just fell out of the sport all together. I got married, had kids and my love for shooting disappeared. Partly because my dad was gone, but partly because I just didn’t have the time or money to get into the sport.
When I moved to North Carolina from Atlanta, I slowly go back into shooting for a period of time.
A friend of mine and I went to Bass Pro Shop and took a one day conceal carry course and we both passed.
Ninety days later, I could buy a handgun without a background check. I could carry a pistol concealed within the confines of the NC laws.
Shortly after that I bought a Sunny Crocket hand cannon just in case ISIS showed up at my door.
Then I bought a more concealable handgun.
Here was my downfall.
Remember the detail I went in with regards to always having a gun unloaded after you finished using it? Well…this time I decided I would keep live ammo in my pistol just in case a couple of Call of Duty foes showed up on my doorstep.
This day was just like any other day. I was working in my office with had my headset on. I had just finished a conference call when I opened my desk drawer to pull out my pistol.
Remember, it was loaded and I’m not paying 100% attention to what I’m doing.
My wife is grocery shopping. My two older boys are at school and my youngest is taking a nap upstairs.
I grab my pistol and pull back the slide to remove the chambered load. The magazine is still in the gun and I slam the slide forward and drop the magazine.
When you pull back the slide of a loaded pistol the bullet that is in the barrel gets ejected out of the barrel, but if you don’t pull/drop out the magazine first, another bullet will be chambered into the barrel.
Because I’m not 100% focused, I miss this detail.
I point my gun at the wall and was going to pull the trigger, but for some reason I decided I would lean the butt end of it on the inside of my right leg while I’m sitting in my office chair.
So to get the idea of what I’m talking about without a gun in your hand, do this. Hold your right hand up in the air and extend your thumb. Take all of your fingers and make a fist. Now take your index finger and point it to the ceiling. Your thumb and index finger now form an L.
While sitting in a chair, keep your back erect, like you are eating a formal eating dinner at the Downton Abbey dining room table. Both of your knees will be directly under the table pointing at the 12 o’clock position.
Now with your right hand in the L position, place it over your right leg so your L shaped hand hangs over your inner thigh. Keep your whole wrist limp on top of your right leg. The back of your right hand should be against the inside of your right leg.
Rotate your right hand forty five degrees to aim at your left leg.
Your legs should be about 12 inches apart from each other at the knee. I want you to take your left hand and with the base of your hand/palm place it on top of the L on your right hand. If you were holding a gun in your right hand, your left hand would cover half of the barrel of the gun.
Pull the trigger.
In that instant my ears starting ringing and I realized all of the sudden what happened. My left hand was burning. If you want to know what it felt like, go to your stove top, turn it on its hottest setting. With the base of your hand, press it on the open flame or hot electric coils for 3 seconds. It just fucking ached.
The palm of my hand had been butterflied liked a lobster tail and the gunpowder burns were significant.
My first reaction after looking at my hand was, “This is okay, I can hide this, I’ll just tell my wife I cut myself.”
As I’m looking at my hand, I realize I should go find a phone inside the house. I stood up and placed my gun on my workbench, unloaded it and made it safe. Then I walked out of my office in the garage into the house.
While walking around my house, my left heel started slipping like I was walking in a puddle.
I looked down at my left leg, pulled up my shorts and there is a fucking hole in my leg. My entire left leg was covered with blood. The bullet entered my left leg above the bone, missed my artery and exited out of the bottom of my quadricep without me even feeling it. It was like a hot knife through butter. It just happened that way.
Now I’ve concluded very quickly that this situation is fucking real and there is no turning back.
I walked back into my office and grabbed my office phone, put on my headset and called 911.
“911 what is your emergency?”
“Hi….I just accidently shot myself in the leg.” The 911 lady says, “Are you applying pressure to your wound?” and I reply, “I wasn’t, but I am now!”
Now the room starts to spin and I”m getting panicked.
Brody is still sleeping upstairs.
I’ve lost a lot of blood, but I was conscious and just like…”HOLY SHIT!” this really happened.
The 911 dispatcher says, “I’ve dispatched an ambulance and they will be there shortly. I want to tell you what is going to happen next. Are you with me Renick?”
A couple of minutes had gone by and I was in a full blown panic, but I just knew I wasn’t going to die. I had been doing crossfit for about nine months and was in the best shape of my life so with deep breathing I calmed myself so I wasn’t so worried about passing out.
Gratefully the 911 dispatcher’s female voice was calming. She was in charge now and I was going to do whatever she told me.
She says, “Renick is there anyone in house with you?” and I said no. I had totally forgotten Brody was upstairs.
She says, “Renick, the Mooresville police are going to be coming to your house and they need to clear it before the EMTs can come in to support you. Are you okay with that?”
I of course replied, “There are no bad guys here, I shot myself.”
This is really the only funny part of the story. So the Mooresville police officer shows up and my man is serious. He is like TJ Hooker but 320 pounds. He yells, “Is there anyone else in the house with you? Where is the weapon?”
It’s just like the blue brothers when the swat team is running up the steps and rappelling from the building. HUT…HUT…HUT…HUT HUT..HUT …HUT HUT.
I tell him where the weapon is. He finds it, sees that it’s safe and then radios to dispatch that the house is secure.
The ambulance comes rolling in…and now I have three EMTs working on me and I’m just relieved.
They stopped the bleeding and my adrenaline started to wear off a little bit.
As I’m lying on the garage floor, Rose, my neighbor, comes walking up my driveway asking, “Where is Brody? Do you want me to go get him?”
Rose rolls in the house and takes care of everything with Brody.
Helicopters are flying over my house as more police cars arrive.
I’m now on the stretcher and rolling into the ambulance.
Rose called Jennifer and said, “Ummmm Jennifer, there are a couple of police cars and an ambulance outside your house. Renick is on a stretcher. I would get home as fast as you can!”
In the back of the ambulance Im hooked up to the EKG machines. The EMT is putting in an IV to administer fluids because I lost so much blood and I’m dehydrated.
Then my wife shows up!
Needless to say, she is rather disappointed with the events that have just unfolded.
When we got to the hospital ER they slap me with a dose of morphine and my leg feels like someone just hauled off and gave me the worst dead leg known to man.
So I shot myself!
Here is the worst part about it.
My kids were just shattered. They didn’t understand what happened and how do you explain something like that to your kids?
It’s just hard and it leaves a scar.
They are terrified and the whole incident just destroyed my wife.
She went from, are you okay? to put on your own bandage on to a deep depression.
She is just running every possible scenario in her mind and over the next two weeks she was just numb and angry. But, I didn’t say a fucking word!
As I reflect about what happened and even reflect after writing this, I ask myself, What if?
What if the kids came home and I had bled out on my office floor?
What if I was 2 inches lower?
What if the bullet hit my bone?
Whenever I think about it and the variables, tears come to my eyes and I’m scared all over again.
There is nothing funny about it, really. It’s tragic and this event will stay with my children and my wife for the rest of their lives.
I’m grateful for the 911 lady, who I called 2 weeks after to thank for saving my life and walking me through the process. I haven’t seen TJ Hooker since he cleared my office, but if I do, I will shake his hand. The EMTs were great and so was everyone at Lake Norman Hospital.
Miraculously, my leg healed in under 2 weeks and I have no side effects or limps from the wound. #lucky
If you feel compelled or curious and what to see what my leg, hand, office, house and garage looked like, send me a message and I’ll show you.
My most epic Dad Fail. I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.
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Renick Morris writes about life with his family, bacon, football, being a Dad, marriage, being awesome, growing up, lifting weights, getting healthy, making mistakes, failing and just enjoying the time we have here on his blog The Renick Morris Project and on also on Facebook. Check it out, and Welcome to the Project!
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