RIP Frank and Jeff

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I was going to write about Frank Spivey again, anyway, and then I saw another news article shared on Facebook. This was from the police report on the events. Apparently after he got back from the 25 Club he put on his Blues before grabbing his rifle and shooting up Eagle Trace (I was right about the apartment complex being where Jody used to live – I just couldn’t remember the name the other night).  He fired a total of 23 shots. When they finally had to take him down it was a shot to the chest. He didn’t die immediately. He crawled back in to his apartment. They sent in a robot to verify, then went in and tried to resuscitate him. Maybe if he hadn’t crawled back inside he would have lived. I just hope he didn’t suffer too much. Hopefully he went in to shock and wasn’t in pain. He was a good man.

It’s nice to see all the comments on the AMMO pages. Lots of positive memories from people who worked for him. I wish he knew what kind of an impact his life had had. Maybe it would have saved him. Maybe if people knew what kind of pain he was going through they could have reached out to him, showed their support. Like I said the other day, we didn’t work together for long, but he was a good man. You heard (then and hear now) nothing but good things about the way he lived his life. Godspeed, Frank!

There was one negative poster the other day. This was somebody who didn’t know him. He shared the story with the interview with Frank’s wife and called him a loser. Lots of people jumped to Frank’s defense. I can imagine a time (in the not so distant past) where I would have felt the same way. But knowing Frank, and knowing that he was a kind, gentle soul, I couldn’t feel that way at all. It’s so easy to judge when we don’t know the circumstances. I think I’ll try to remember that! If this wasn’t somebody I knew I would have forgotten the story within a few hours. As it is I’m having a lot of trouble letting it go. Maybe if Frank had been an asshole it would be easy to reconcile.

He was the second guy I worked with who’s killed himself (yes, technically the cop shot him, but he himself called it suicide by cop). Jeff Culp was my sponsor at my first base. That was Nellis, the same place where Frank died. We used to go to the 25 Club after work even.

Jeff Culp was a big country boy from Oklahoma. When he picked us up from the airport he had on a big belt buckle and a bright red, white, and blue shirt. I don’t know much about the particulars of his suicide. He was a TSgt by then, and I believe he was in Germany. He shot himself at work in the bomb dump. It may have been after hours. I don’t know if he was in a storage structure, an office, or one of the shops. I just don’t know what happened with Jeff. I don’t know if he and his wife were having problems (or even if they were still married) or what. It sucks drawing a blank. He was a good guy, too, and deserves the honor of being remembered.

I’ve never considered suicide to be a coward’s way out like many people do. Aside from the fact that many people who do it are at least temporarily unbalanced; I think it also takes a huge amount of nerve. It’s just so unnatural. But more than anything is the fact that you’re are forcing yourself into the biggest unknown of all. If you’re a person of faith you probably view suicide as one of the ultimate evils you can commit. Do you really want to piss off God right before heading out to meet him? And if you are an atheist, then is nothingness really better than anything you can hope for the rest of your life? And if you are one of the many who are unsure, do you want to take the risk? You can’t come back from it, you know.

I’ve contemplated it myself at various times in my life. But I’ve only come close once. And that was in 4th grade, when my best friend said he was going to kill himself when he got home, so I decided to also. I wrote a note. I ran a belt up through the light fixture in our bathroom. I then realized that I would most likely break the fixture, and how in the heck could I explain THAT? I’m sure if I’d really wanted to I could have found a place to do it. My heart just wasn’t in it. Suicide pacts are pretty stupid. And then he showed up to school the next day like nothing had even happened.

The other times it’s been more of a fleeting thought. “I could just drive my car off this cliff” and that sort of thing. I’ve never tried, and with each passing day I find it much less likely that I ever would. I have a good life now, and a wonderful fiancé, and life is good. I just wish Frank and Jeff had been able to hold out for a better day, too.

RIP, brothers.

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Honeymoon in the South Pacific!

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So K just booked the flights for our honeymoon! We’re getting married on a Saturday this fall and we’ll be flying out that Tuesday, heading from Atlanta to LA and then on to Tahiti! We’ll be staying in an over-water bungalow in Moorea, most likely at the Hilton property. Private bungalow on the lagoon, snorkeling and swimming from our deck, a glass bottom spot in the living room to view the fish swimming under us (and they have lights to attract them at night), free use of kayaks, a private beach… not too bad if I do say so myself!

We’ll be in Moorea for about a week, flying out the following Wednesday, heading down to New Zealand! We’ll be there from Thursday to the following Thursday (the flight to Auckland will bring us over the date line). We’ll fly from Auckland to LA, LA to Atlanta, getting back on a Thursday night. That gives us a three day weekend to try and recover and get back to work on Monday. We’re both taking off the Thursday and Friday before the wedding, so we’ll be off over three weeks. We’re trying to decide what to do in New Zealand for that week. The country has two main islands. Since we’ll be landing on the north island, we may just stay there. There’s plenty to see and do, and we don’t want to feel so rushed we miss everything and have a crappy time (slim chance of that, methinks). We’ll probably be taking a scenic train ride down the east coast. Lots of things to see and do, so it’s hard to choose. But we can eliminate some based on the first part of our trip. We can go whale watching in Moorea (and swim with dolphins as well). Those are both options in New Zealand, but we may do them in Tahiti first. There is also a glacier to hike on or fly over on the south island. However, we want to do a trip to Alaska some time, and plan on doing the glacier trip there instead. I’m guessing we’ll see the caves with the glow worms, and hit a winery. My favorite wines are the Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand, so a trip to the source may be worth it. There are lots of beaches there as well, but we’ll have just come from a week over the water. I think we’ll be playing part of it by ear.

We’ve both lived abroad before – I lived in England for 4 years while in the Air Force, and did 100 or so days in the Middle East the summer of 2002 as well. K did a semester abroad in France, and has traveled back to France many times (including last years’ trip when we got engaged) as well as many other places around the world (including Australia). We both are firmly of the belief that you can’t truly learn much about a country’s culture in a week. However, we will be able to see a lot, and enjoy ourselves. I think the Moorea portion will be mostly relaxation. Swimming, snorkeling (which I’ve never done), baking in the sun… The New Zealand portion may involve more hiking and walking and activities. We may need another week off just to recover…