Sometimes the unthinkable happens, and when it does, the repercussions can last a lifetime.
This piece is based on an AskReddit thread. Link on the last page.
1. It was an accident. I was 11 years old and had gotten into that tinkering phase kids go through and I was fiddling with my brakes, gears, etc. I went on a ride to a super steep hill that was really popular to test my adjustments.
As I was blasting down the hill the nut that secures the handle bars jostles loose and I lose all semblance of control. Next thing I remember, there was car coming towards me from the opposite direction and I was on the ground.
The car swerved to miss me and went straight into a tree killing the whole family; mom, dad and two kids.
I’m all grown now and only recently felt safe going back there and to the hill that changed everything, part of my continuing therapy. The worst part about it is at the spot where they died there is a perfectly maintained cross and flowers bearing their names.
2. In Afghanistan I was in a really crappy town called Musa Qala that was infested with Taliban. My unit was in a firefight one day and I was leading my squad though an alleyway in-between mud huts when this Taliban fighter came around the corner and stopped.
He was about 10 feet away. He had his AK down by his waist but I had my weapon up on my shoulder. We both looked each other right in the eyes and I could see the fear on his face because he knew he was screwed. I shot him 5 times before he hit the ground. I saw his face in my dreams for months after that.