The Wrath of Randy, the Boy Who Said, “BUTT!”

April 20, 2007

Have you ever feared for your life? I mean to where it kept you awake at night? Now, I am not a fearful guy, ask anybody. My philosophy toward life threatening situations goes a little something like this: When God is done with me there will be nothing I can do to hold on for one minute longer, and until He is there is nothing that anyone can do to take me out. But ,once, I was truly terrified.

I had forgotten all about the Summer of the Sniper until this afternoon while walking the two blocks to my theatre studio, enjoying the fact that we have finally managed to string together two warm dry days here in good old Okc. The warm sun put me in mind of long days of sunny play as a boy with my brother Steven. On one particular occasion My Dad, a Church of Christ minister, managed to make us the envy of the entire neighborhood by bringing home a rented tent and setting it up to air out in our yard. It was rented for use as a booth at the county fair and it was glorious!

All of the neighborhood boys congregated at the curb to watch it being erected in our yard and the moment it was complete we co-opted it as our headquarters for a major military campaign. My brother and I were the only two cowboys (my parents didn’t believe in war toys, but we could shoot and scalp injuns til the cows came home, I don’t know, and my Dad doesn’t remember so I guess I’ll wait til I get to heaven and ask my Mom,Why? Weren’t the high water jeans enough torture?) among an army of green fatigued warriors but we didn’t care.

The day progressed fabulously until, in the heat of battle, one of the young would be mercenaries uttered the word that ended the war, “butt!” Now, I’m ashamed to say, my kids use it all the time but in our house growing up that was about as bad as it got. We had both had our mouths washed out with soap for uttering much less heinous epithets than that (heck, gee, golly, gosh, darn, dang and Jiminy Christmas also appeared on My Mother’s List of oaths too terrible to be suffered) and knew that the penalty would be swift and sure. I, being the narc in the family, immediately fulfilled my duty and reported the offense to my mother, who summarily ended our encampment, making it known that Randy, the offender, would not be welcome back in our yard for the remainder of the week.

This would have been bad enough if Randy had not added to it by letting us know that if he caught us when our mother wasn’t around he would exact his revenge in a manner most dreadful. (the words he used here I do not remember as I am quite sure I had no clue what they meant at the time) My brother and I hid in the house for the remainder of the afternoon, but this is not the fear to which I refer. The next day a news bulletin of immense significance was brought to our attention. Randy had shot his brother! It seems that he had gone home, taken out his pellet rifle and fired a pellet at point blank range into his brother’s side, bruising a kidney requiring hospitalization! (here it should be noted that Randy was a six year old kid whose worst offense to this point is the one I’ve already described)

My brother and I immediately retreated to the safety of the front porch to discuss what to do about our impending doom. It was obvious that Randy had intended to carry out his threat and had gone home to arm himself! We decided that there was no sense in taking chances, so we would go nowhere without our cap pistols, fringed vests (obviously bulletproof) and plastic firemen’s helmets until the fugitive had been brought to justice, we were scared! To be honest our original plan was to spend the remainder of the Summer safely in our closed in porch playroom, a plan which my Mother quickly vetoed in favor of her own sanity.

That night my Father must have been confused when we both vehemently refused to accompany him the next morning to visit Randy’s brother in the hospital, a chance we would normally have jumped at. We were certain that was exactly the type of opportunity a sniper would love, to get us unprotected in a public place! I can remember the look of terror on my brother’s face when my dad tried to separate him from his vest and helmet when he came to tuck us in, but we had agreed that telling my parents would only put them in danger! He left the house the next morning with two carefully worded get well cards featuring the words “sorry” and “Randy” in large red letters.

That following Sunday when my brother and I attempted to wear vests and helmets at least on the ride to church and home my Mother finally turned us and we sang like stool pigeons. We told the whole sordid tale weeping at the thought that now our parents would be targets too. What happened next convinced me that my Father had snapped! He laughed! Then my mother joined him! How I wish I could stand beside them at that moment and look down at my little five year old self swathed in that vest and wearing that ridiculous helmet with Emergency 51 emblazoned across the bill!

It seems that my Father had been given a very key piece of intel that he had failed to share with us, unaware of the exact nature of our bizarre behavior, the shooting had been accidental! Randy’s brother was in the process of earning his marksman merit badge for scouts and had been cleaning a loaded pellet gun when he shot himself! After a little convincing my brother and I were extremely relieved and joined in the laughter just for sheer joy, we were going to live!

A couple of days later Randy showed up on his bike with a brand new CHIPS helmet and vest set, pistol and all and was welcomed back into the yard after a short reminder of the rules from my mother. We spent the rest of the Summer without serious incident.

As I thought about this story today it brought to mind a saying from King Solomon, the wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. During the past few days we have been living under the shadow of a true tragedy, the gunmen was real, the fear and suffering unimaginable. At times like this you frequently see people react in unusual ways, many of them will now add this to the list of reasons to live their lives in fear. I challenge all of us to take just the opposite approach. Let us instead be reminded of the fleeting quality of life and go out and live it!

Instead of cowering inside your closed in porch imagining the fate that may befall you (which, by the way, is where more people die than any other place) go out and be bold in the knowledge that God has a plan for you and your days are already numbered, according to the prophet, Isaiah! And if you are one of those poor souls running from a pursuer that is always just out of sight, never quite known, listen! Jesus came to preach release to the captives! Let Him set you free from the fear that keeps you from being what he made you to be! Go get a Bible and find out who he was! Ask somebody for help, email me, but don’t live with debilitating fear another day! Get free! Let’s not let the evil win this one!

God’s word tells us that we can not fight evil with evil but must overcome evil with good!

***I highly recommend the novel “House” By Tedd Dekker and Frank Peretti as an aid to understanding the spiritual battle that each of us must face and win to be free from fear and its terrible consequences. And if you know someone who lives this way, don’t wait for them to ask for help, offer it. It would be better to offend someone than to allow their paranoia grow to the point that someone gets hurt. ***



  1. “God’s word tells us that we can not fight evil with evil but must overcome evil with good!”


  2. Well, I’ve been wondering whatever became of you. Almost a month and a half and no new blogs? Hope all is well.

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