Age 13 , Pennsylvania
Cayman was a normal kid. He was happy and well liked. He played soccer, and he loved his dog. He was full of life. Cayman got an email from school one day, telling him he was in danger of failing a class. In the heat of the moment — a span of time not more than 20 or 30 minutes — Cayman took a gun from our house, walked into the woods, and killed himself. I felt that when a child was going to commit suicide, there would be warning signs. For us, there was nothing.
The gun my son used to end his life was something I’d bought 30 years ago for “personal protection.” I never thought it would be the cause of my worst nightmare. Like most gun owners, I’d always considered myself very responsible. When the kids were born, I put a trigger guard on the gun, locked it up, and then forgot about it. I thought I’d done everything I needed to do. I was totally wrong. Too often, people who own guns think “not my kid.” But when young people get upset, they make bad decisions and often act quickly on them. Impulsivity is a key aspect of suicide – nearly 71% of all suicide attempts occur within one hour of deciding. Cayman is dead. Recounting this terrible nightmare day after day is excruciating. This heartache is unbearable. If I can prevent other families from experiencing a tragedy like this by telling Cayman’s story, then that’s what I will continue to do.