I Never Knew My Dad Had a Gun Until He Cried When it Was Stolen

I have two memories of my father ever crying, and the first was when our Venice Beach apartment was burgled and his gun was stolen. He wept with frustration and sorrow for putting a loaded gun in the hands of a stranger, knowing pain or death could likely result. It seemed to me (at five) that my dad’s tears were for the burglar: a non-violent criminal he’d armed and made dangerous. My father never owned another gun.

Sometime later, he bought bars for all the windows.* Professionally installed bars probably cost the same as a good firearm, I’m guessing. Throughout my childhood, he routinely staged fire drills (with smoke alarms blaring) to make sure I knew how to unlock the bars in my room if I needed to escape.

So there were six break-ins, all told. while we lived there. The gun went first; the bars came last. After the bars, we never had another break-in. 

* It actually took him FIVE more break-ins to resign himself to living behind bars. He despised them – like anyone would. The last was in the middle of the night – a robber climbed through the bathroom window and stole the wallet off his bedroom dresser, while he slept. By the luck of 50-50 custody, I slept at mom’s apartment that night. He finally broke down and got the bars.