Self Defense Shooting Rocks A Tiny SW Oklahoma Town
In the last week, if you follow the news or even catch it on occasion, odds are you've seen the story of a home invasion self-defense shooting in the small town West of Lawton... but due to the way reporting works, you never get all the details.
The news media always puts the emphasis on being the first to have a story out, and in doing that, they give you half-truths and incomplete stories. So while I may not be the first to tell you the tale, as I'm not bound by the journalistic rules of the media, I have the freedom to share with you the story they can't.
Welcome to Hollis. It's a small town in the Southwest corner of Oklahoma where nothing really happens. Well, not "nothing," but very few things. High school sports are big there, and it's the type of town that really supports their team. Not only do they pack the stands at home games, but a lot of the town will also travel to road games especially when the team is doing well. It's the type of town young athletes love playing in, but usually don't realize it until later in life.
There's a pretty sizeable livestock auction house there. Everybody calls it "The Salebarn" and most youths, at some point in their life work there. Some for a day, some work there for years. It's also the home of one of the best burgers a person can get. Seriously, go on an auction Saturday, you'll love it.
Gossip is also pretty big there. It's the type of small town where everybody knows your business. Whether it takes place on the phone throughout the week or whispered in church on Sunday, most people could letter in sharing others' personal business. Even the cantankerous old men gossip a little bit. When I spent summers there, they'd get up real early in the morning and share the hubbub over a cup of coffee at the local shop when they had one. I don't know if there's still a coffee shop in that town, but I'm sure they still find a way to socialize if there's not.
The fact that everybody knows everything about everybody else in that town is the reason I have a story to tell about this shooting event that happened. The news media wrapped it up as a "home invader was struck down in the midst of a crime," but the story is much deeper than that, and it starts with the same thing almost every small Oklahoma town has a problem with... Drugs.
One of the biggest problems striking most communities today is the same thing that has always happened in American cities... substance abuse. In the 19th century, people were addicted to opium and cough syrups that contained morphine and cocaine. In the 20th century, it started with alcohol abuse and spread to reefer madness, prescription pills, ludes, psychoactive drugs and crack. In the 21st century, it's become prescription opiates and meth that find a dedicated and addicted following.
It's not a new trend, but it is occurring in record numbers these days. Having said that, we're back on track to what the real story is in this incident.
The "criminal" in this story is rumored to have had a troubled past when it comes to substance abuse and his addictions. He had managed to kick the habit and walk straight and narrow for a while, but addiction is real. At some point, he picked back up on the habit and most likely was enjoying his clouded stupor the day this incident happened. The long and short of the story being, he was having such a deep experience on whatever substance tickled his fancy, the current line of thought is he forgot what house he was staying at.
Can you see where this is going?
His mind garbled in a haze, confused, and turned around when he tried to walk in the front door of where he thought he was staying, the door was locked and another man was on the other side. This was not the house he was staying at. This was someone else's house. When the door wouldn't open, the next best thing is a window, so he tried that.
Now I don't know and haven't heard anyone talk about whether the window was open or shut. Knowing Hollis, the nearly 90° temperature that day, and considering the sheer amount of flies in that town due to the sale barn and livestock, it'd be hard to assume anyone had their windows open that day. Regardless, at some point, he tried to climb in that window even as the homeowner yelled out his warnings not knowing what his intentions were.
At this moment in the story, can you imagine sitting in your living room, maybe you're watching tv, and someone you don't know tries to come into your house? I know I've been privy to several conversations over the last few days about what the reactions might be, a lot of it being machismo and bravado, but until you or I am caught in that exact situation, there's no way to imagine it.
Whether it was a drive to cause harm or more likely the drug-induced state of mind, the man painted as a "criminal" by the news media didn't heed the warnings and the homeowner was forced to defend himself and his family with correct and justifiable lethal means.
You have to keep in mind, this is all the town of Hollis has talked about this week. As gossip goes, sometimes the story grows in places while other details are forgotten, but this tale is what every version I've heard has in common.
While the news media painted a story of good versus evil in their efforts to be the first out there with the story, the truth of it is there are two victims here. A man victimized by his own addiction that most likely cost him his life... and a homeowner who will likely have a rough time coming to terms with what he was forced to do. There are no winners in this sad situation. Just a story that will resonate in a small community for years to come.