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Woster Household Now Gun-Free

Our friend Kevin Woster has been having a hard time. A mysterious and persistent illness has kept the journalist and avid outdoorsman out of his beloved fields, causing anxiety and depression that have led to occasional thoughts of suicide.

Don’t do it, Kevin. We love you, and the world is better with you than without.

To keep that message ringing more commandingly in his head than the darker thoughts, Woster has been using a variety of healthy behaviors:

Someone who had thoughts of suicide once is likely to have them again. And I have, briefly, here and there, on bad days, had those thoughts since last April when the guns went to the neighbors. I probably will again, on bad days. They don’t last long, those thoughts. But I note them and mention them to people who should know, my therapists and Mary, mainly.

At those times I try to remember that the worst moments or hours pass. I also remember my wife and my kids and my grandkids, the time I spend with them in person and on FaceTime, by phone and by text, and how precious those are. And I think about how Mary and I have made the evening meal — whatever is being served — a candlelight celebration.

I think about my own faith life and my Catholic belief that my life has great value in whatever shape it’s in and that it is not my own to take. It is my own to live, whatever the quality, whatever the length, in the best way I can.

Each day, focusing on finding a reason to celebrate, or at least find some degree of comfort or contentment, whatever my symptoms and struggles are [Kevin Woster, “Sometimes Removing the Guns from the Home Makes Good Sense,” SDPB: On the Other Hand, 2021.11.22].

Kevin’s wife Mary has also helped with one concrete action: getting all of Kevin’s guns out of the house after he first mentioned that he felt like killing himself:

“I want your guns out of this house,” she said.

The next day they were gone. Mary doesn’t mess around.

I said removing the guns wasn’t necessary. She said it was, emphatically. Mary wasn’t just acting as a wife with concerns for her husband’s state of mind, although that was her overriding motivation. But she was, and is, also a local volunteer for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. One of Moms focuses is suicides with guns, and how to prevent them.

There’s a good reason for that, especially here in South Dakota. More than 100 people a year die from gunshots in South Dakota, 80 percent of them — or about 86 people — by suicide.

Removing guns from the home of someone who might just use them for self-harm is one of the key priorities of Moms Demand Action. So Mary was adamant. And I decided not to argue. So the guns went to a neighbor’s house, which is where they’ve been, safely stored, with the ammunition still here at our house [Woster, 2021.11.22].

Kevin and Mary recognize the great value of life. That’s why one of South Dakota’s most passionate hunters now has no guns in his house.

13 Comments

  1. larry kurtz 2021-11-23

    Woster is very brave for posting such a personal and moving record.

    After my little sister was hit and killed on her bicycle in 1995 I thought about ending it all every day for two years. But, today living in a state where winter is only a month long has virtually eliminated my seasonal affective disorder.

  2. Porter Lansing 2021-11-23

    Suicide scares South Dakotans silent …

  3. Donald Pay 2021-11-23

    Kevin writes so well. It’s hard not to cry when you read what he’s writing about.

    He’s writing about things most of us elders sometimes think about, not that any one of us thinks it’s a good idea, or would do it. Who wants to hang around if you have to give up so much of who you are? But, you have to be willing to accept that life changes you, sometimes for the good and sometimes not. And sometimes you have to find the good in the not. Kevin is showing us the struggle of doing that.

    My way of getting out of this world would be to wander out and let the wolves eat me, but I’d never do it. No self-respecting wolf would eat me, anyway, and I can’t be ingested by just any wolf. Besides, I think my desire to survive would kick in, and I’d fight that wolf to the death. I wouldn’t want a wolf’s death on my conscience. So. I’m willing to face whatever the last few years of my life brings. And so is Kevin, as much as we howl, like old wolves, against the cold, starry night.

  4. WillyNilly 2021-11-23

    When my son took his life some years ago in another state there were over 20 firearms in his home. He was an adult who appeared to be of sound mind despite bouts of depression. Why did he do it?… people asked. I don’t know except that he must have been in great pain. He didn’t share and he didn’t leave a note. I do know that he had too many firearms and was able to obtain them very easily. What was the attraction to firearms? Not sure, but I suspect it was growing up and living with fear and needing to feel safe. I know he left behind a shattered parent.

  5. ArloBlundt 2021-11-23

    Depression is cunning, deceitful, and always dangerous…there is but one cure and that’s found in the people around you and that’s why it is important you have a therapist on board who is ultra sensitive to what you are saying and thinking. The first step is to start talking, people you love will help you find your way. Thank you, Kevin Woster.

  6. Mark Anderson 2021-11-23

    He has a Garrigan companion. He should not be depressed. I know it can’t be helped. Mary’s oldest brother is a good friend of mine and the best and funniest guy I’ve known. The entire family is wonderful. Kevin has an amazing support group. My wife made me leave my guns in South Dakota. I killed enough animals to last a lifetime. Haven’t missed them at all. I never missed with my peep site 22, about 100 years old. A nephew has it and had it upgraded, too bad. Two shotguns and a pistol. The only thing I miss is an old photograph of me in a striped t shirt and baseball hat first shooting my rifle at age five. A good boy with a gun. I didn’t shoot my eye out either.

  7. Nick Nemec 2021-11-23

    This is kind of sad but Mary made the right decision and has the fortitude to back it up. I know how much hunting and fishing meant to Kevin, I miss the annual Blogmore Requiem Hunt we hosted together with him at our place and hope for the day he can resume his old activities.

  8. Disgusted Dakotan 2021-11-23

    From a distance, it appeared that his onset of health issues occurred in close proximity to his much publicized COVID-19 shots? Very sad to see him having such serious health issues. 🙏 for him

  9. jerry 2021-11-23

    A floater in the bowl Disgusted Dakotan, you can be flushed now .

  10. Richard Schriever 2021-11-24

    Whooosh! Lighting incense to cleanse of the stench from that “thoughtful comment” by DD.

  11. Porter Lansing 2021-11-24

    Right, Richard. His comment is like a fart in a grocery store aisle.

  12. Laurie 2021-11-25

    DD. Are there more D’s? Disgusting..Despicable..Dipsh$t..
    Too bad “low-life” doesn’t begin with a D.

  13. Mark Anderson 2021-11-26

    Well disgusted Dakotan, his chances are much better than yours. Have a nice last Xmas.

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