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269: Point Blank #1: What if you pled for your life?

269: Point Blank #1: What if you pled for your life?

Tue, 14 Mar 2023 10:00

After navigating a hardscrabble, working-class life, Troy MacFayden finally settles down with his wife in rural California, when one day driving down the road, they are aggressively T-boned by a stranger, and suddenly find themselves in the middle an unthinkable tragedy.

Today’s episode is Part One of our limited series, “Point Blank,” featuring five stories of people impacted by the spree killing of Rancho Tehama California in 2017. There, a lone gunman killed his girlfriend, then his neighbors and then began a shooting spree, attacking 8 different locations in the span of only 25 minutes, ending at elementary school, and leaving 6 people dead and 18 wounded.

This series is co-produced by This Is Actually Happening creator and host, Whit Missildine and Connor Sheets, investigative journalist with the Los Angeles Times, with special thanks to Jason Blalock, and Andrew Waits. To find out more about the shooting, you can read the original article by Connor that inspired the story, titled: “It was California’s forgotten mass shooting. But for victims, the ‘hell’ never ends,” on the latimes.com

Producers: Whit Missildine, Connor Sheets

Editors: Whit Missildine, Andrew Waits

Content/Trigger Warnings: gun violence, mass shooting, death, graphic bodily injury, explicit language

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Music and Sound Design by: Marcelino Villalpando

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Hey, prime members, you can listen to this is actually happening. Add free on Amazon Music. Download the app today. Are you looking to straighten your teeth, but the thought of monthly dentist visits are mouthful of metal has you rethinking it? Transform your smile with bite clearer liners. Bite clearer liners are doctor-directed and cost thousands less than braces. Skip the traffic to the dentist and straighten your teeth from the comfort of home. Bite has had over a quarter of a million people use their clear liners already, and they have both daytime and night time options depending on what's most convenient for you. Plus, their MyBide app can help you track your alignment progress, do check-ins, and connect with us at any time. Visit biTE.com to order your at-home impression kit today for just $14.95 using code WONDERY. Start your clear liner journey with fight. That's code WONDERY to get your impression kit for just $14.95. In the aftermath of a shocking crime, people always ask, why? Why would someone do something like that? I'm Candice DeLong, host of the podcast Killer Psychie, where every week I explain the thoughts, motivations, and behaviors of the most violent figures in history. Listen to Killer Psychie on Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts. This is actually happening, features real experiences that often include traumatic events. Please consult the show notes for specific content warnings on each episode, and for more information about support services. I'm excited to announce that today we begin part 1 of our special 5 part limited series called Point Blank. Before we begin, it's important to give you a little context behind this series. If you remember in September 2021, we did a series of 4 episodes featuring 4 people who are at ground 0 during the attacks of 9-11. For this series, we wanted to do something similar, but focused on an incident of a more intimate scale. As we were researching, we came across an article in The Los Angeles Times by investigative journalist Connor Sheetz, whose headline read, it was California's Forgotten Mass Shooting, but for victims, the hell never ends. The article detailed a spree shooting that took place in 2017 in the remote Rancho Tejema area of Northern California. There a lone gunman killed his girlfriend, then his neighbors, and then began a shooting spree attacking 8 different locations in the span of only 25 minutes, ending at an elementary school and leaving 6 people dead and 18 wounded. The killing spree was largely overshadowed by the Las Vegas shooting that dominated the headlines just weeks earlier, and because of the lack of media attention, this small community was left isolated and alone to pick up the pieces. After reading his article, we decided to team up with Connor in the LA Times to produce this five-part series. Over the next five weeks, you'll hear from some of the surviving victims and those impacted by the shooting. A man who was shot in his car with his wife, a grandmother whose six-year-old grandson was targeted at the elementary school, a teacher in the classroom who shielded his students while hundreds of rounds were fired outside. The citizen who heroically ran towards the bullets to save the school children, and the sister of the gunman who grew up with him and gives a rare window in how all of this began. As you know from the show, we feature only first-person accounts, and many of them speak only from their perspective and what they know. So as the series goes on, if you want to find out more details about the shooting, I encourage you all to search Rancho Tejama Shooting, and you'll find plenty of information, and you can also find the original article by our co-producer on the series, Connor Sheets, on the LA Times.com. As you know, we've been quite old, it was California's forgotten mass shooting, but for victims, the hell never ends. So without further delay, we bring you the first episode of Point Blank. What if you pled for your life featuring Troy McFadden? This guy's just marching very methodically to determine to come kill me. I'm begging a guy, you know, please don't, please don't. I laid on my back, and I'm staring up at the sky, and I said, oh, I said I'm dead. I said it three times, I'm dead. From Wondry, I'm Whit Missildine. You're listening to this is actually happening, with our special limited series, Point Blank. Episode 269. Point Blank, part one. What if you pled for your life? My grip on the country, I lived eight miles outside of town proper, we were like working class folks. My dad was a bridge builder his whole life, 35 years ago, for he retired. You know, watching my older brothers and my father, they were all honorable men, abiding by the rules. I don't believe in breaking the rules. I hate cheating, I watch these sports on TV. I hate guys that cheat, you know, play it honestly, lose honestly. You learn more from failure than you ever do from winning. It's okay if you don't get picked, it's okay if you lose the game. You learn from it, if you're smart, you learn from those things, and I appreciate every failure I've ever had because it made me grow. Went to high school on Red Bluff, lived in Conwood, we were bust. It was a rural existence sort of almost every day, to be out in the woods. But I didn't grow up a cowboy, just a country boy. My father being in construction, we traveled quite a bit. Mostly around the state, we lived overseas for a year in the Caribbean, which was awesome. It kind of opened us up, you know, my siblings and now even into my own children. And we're not afraid to go meet new people. In fact, it's exciting to see new places and we're open to the ideas. We're always going out. Everywhere we went felt like home because you go and meet people. And I guess for me, I still like people in spite of what I've been through. My father and then maybe in construction. You can't phone in the jobs that we did. You actually had to do it. You had to have the skill. You had to know. And you saw the results if you messed something up, which doesn't happen often. It's very unforgiving. And you weren't allowed to slide in construction. No, you're only as good as your last day. So every day, you're measured every day of your existence, whether you're a boss or a labor or whatever. Every day you have to produce. So it's not just showing up and filling a position. And it does get ingrained in you. I don't have time for BS. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Real people sometimes we don't have time for BS. Life is tough. We just do our best all the time. I still exist that way. I like things that are real. I believe my own eyes have lived long enough to see right and wrong. I'm tired of the bullshit. My mom was a dominant person. My mom was involved in the community, highly involved, universally liked my mother. Still is. She still is in the community, layering my father down a few years back. I'm one of seven. Four girls and three boys. I had two older sisters, two younger sisters, and I was the youngest boy of three. There's still all relatively close. I did lose my middle brother about ten years ago. That was tough, but that was another lesson in life. She lived hard, he used drugs, and was a bit of an outlive, hard work and guy. But you could see the things that he was doing, you know, destructive for him and people around him. He died of complications from HIV, because he was a IV drug user. That was a life he chose to live. You know, I love my brother. What a great guy. Me and John worked together a lot. We spent a lot of time, you know, staying together on the road. I miss him terribly. Something was broken in him. We should, I can't speak to it. It happened when he was younger. Something was broken. Some kind of sadness. He would say, I'll never stop. We'd just say, I'll never stop. So don't want to hear about it. He was determined. We all tried to rescue my brother forever, and very tough. It was very, we couldn't do it ultimately. We lost him. We worked. You do what you have to to survive. My grandfather worked on the Shasta Dam and the surrounding bridges and stuff. So it's a long history going back to Scotland where my people come from, a long line of productive people. Red buff was actually a very thriving town, redding, all the towns in between here. In fact, this end of the state was processing wood, wood parks, logging. The logs came down to the middle of the valley and they were processed here. High school was watching my community deteriorate. The mills all going out of business and very tough economic times here. It was hopeless. I was a kid. It didn't get really good grades in school. I knew I was destined to just be a worker. And in fact, even the teachers, they didn't encourage some of us. Your grades aren't good enough to go to college. All college is going to be 50,000 a year back then. There was a lot of money. There's like, well, there's no way I can go to college. Looking back now, it was doable. It could have went to community college, but no, no, they hammered into you. It's hopeless if you were just an average student. So there was a sense of hopelessness. And for me, I took the Army as a way to get out. It was only in a year. I got up early. Things happen whatever I ended up being a combat engineer, equipment operator, which was fine, but the Army was a big let down too. I'd kind of always had this life long dream had been in service. But we were so poorly trained, junk equipment, everything, even our uniforms were garbage. Our weapons were garbage, our trucks. We couldn't even go across post. This shit would be falling apart. It's an illusion, and it took me going in there. You know, you have this idea. You know, I wanted to serve America. I love this country, but it was a big let down to me. I went in a construction, went in a family business. I became a bridge builder. Wasn't my first choice. Start at the bottom, because I wouldn't have it any other way. I want to earn everything. So I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I took some time away from construction, and I was ranching. I did haisels. You know, I'd load trucks and whatever, and then we did commercial firewood on the same place. It was balls the wall. Seven days a week work. That was the least amount of money I ever made in my life. But it was a great life. And you're surrounded by good people. You know, you're surrounded by productive people. The friend of the guy I worked for needed some help out at their place. And I was asked to go over and help him move some furniture off a truck. And that's where I met Michelle. So I ended up going out there and doing some ranching, and we got to be good friends. Her and her husband. She was still married to her. Previous husband. And I was even friends with her husband. But down the road, they split up, and me and her were still friends. We liked each other. Really our relationship was a friendship. First of all, you know, and it really should start that way. It took time to build for us. I'd been wounded by a previous relationship and took me a while to open my heart up. She was very patient with that. It took a while for me to open up completely, but it was awesome. I can tell you, and I tell everyone, whether for 13 years, it was awesome. It was truly, and I'm not blown it up, it was awesome. The level of communication and patience we were free to be ourselves too. She kind of had a hard knocks upbringing, you know, broken homes and stuff like that. But raising two kids and working and then put herself at college, got her degree, multiple degrees. I have the utmost respect for her, little thing, four foot eight, little gal, but I never saw her that way. To me, she was 10 foot tall. She was a very intelligent woman. But I'd always respected her background, that she had made herself in spite of all adversity and all the hard stuff, you know, and still was a person, still had a life. I respected her very much, and I saw that she didn't receive a lot of respect, you know, from her previous husbands. She's working as a teacher and she loved teaching. She loved working with the troubled kids, most of all. That tough nuts to crack, and she could do it because she was so damn right. What was great was that she was such a real person. We'd had children with previous marriages, and so we didn't have children together. She was still working as a teacher, eventually she took a job with CPS there and ready. We'd lived together by that time for three years already, and then we bought a place out here and moved out here. She loved it. She loved being out in the country. She liked the serenity, the privacy we were kind of out on the edge. I was never home. I was on the road working construction. I was only home on weekends or between jobs. But it was more about her. It made her happy to be out here where we can have a space and have our animals and have a garden. Right now we're looking at snow-capped mountains all the way around. Beautiful Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen and everything in between. It's lovely. We can see the stars. We used to get up on a roof and set up the telescopes and with our lot of ambient light to interfere. Now we enjoyed all experience of being out in the country. It was awesome, but you do kind of have to be tough to live here. You know what's tough? But life is tough. Life is a challenge, right? Our story begins with a phone call. Boy, some of the phones are a sexy. It made literally thousands of those types of calls. He follows the women, gets to know them and then hits them. Then. No recording of body that I found. Everything. There are a lot of missing girls. Escalades. She was beaten, stabbed until the night broke and then shot twice in the head. Sheree Warren disappeared in the fall of 1985. Her friends and family say she's not the type to just run away. No one can say just what happened to Sheree. No one's faced charges for her disappearance, not her ex-husband, Chuck Warren and not Sheree's boyfriend, Carrie Hartman. Yeah, two dispositions. Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde. You could be the nicest guy you ever wanted to meet, but he also had that sinister side. Cold, season three. Hey, prime members, you can binge all 10 episodes of Cold, the search for Sheree, add free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today. I'd had a shoulder injury. I'd had surgery, so I was off work. And it was just about to the point where I was a couple more weeks and I was going to hit the road again and go to work. So that that tale of men I was going to a doctor's appointment and read. She was going along with me. Her on her way to her doctor's appointment. We're driving down the road and we see this guy in our lane. I was driving and I had said something to Michelle. It's just somebody's drunk off early, you know. So I swear I've been to the other lane, you know. We're closing. He swears into that lane as well and he's holding his track, you know, and I, what the hell, you know. We're closing the whole time and I, that's the last second I turned to get out of his way. And he teabones right behind my door and our car went flying. Our car spun and the hell we ended up on the side street there from the main road. You know, I checked on her honey. Are you all right? And she kind of gave me the, she was hurt. I was, I was still in one piece, you know, but I said, well, let's get out of here. And I couldn't open my door. So we had to crawl out her side and she crawls out and falls down immediately. She was hurt. I crawled down and just as I put one foot out the door, the gunfire began. Bing, Bing, Bing, Bing, Bing. Michelle's on the ground and she looks up to me as someone's shooting. I don't know because we're disoriented. We just had bad car accident. I get out and I look over the roof of the car in the direction where I knew the creep and the pick up was and he's firing again. Ed laser sights. He's firing and I told Michelle, run. She got up and she went a little ways and fell down and then got back up and ran. I'm thinking she's out of the way. I went around back to the main road. Sure enough, he follows me. I'm a big target. So I'm running away. I'm widening the gap. Michelle's running up this other street and I'm running down this way. He's following me. Good. That's what I want. Fire in the whole time. Round after round, not machine gun. It was pooh, pooh, pooh. They're bouncing off the ground. I'm running uphill. I need to get cover somewhere but there was nowhere to get cover. About that time, some people pulled up and I go up to the car and let me in and tried to open the car door on the Sashivi and the people locked it. They weren't let me in and then they back up. My hands still in the handle of their car and they pulled me to the ground. Bullets are flying. They're scared too. So I'm left there. I pick myself up. Bullets are still flying. I clamor up and I don't know. I get another 10 feet and that's when the first bullet hit me and I hit the ground. The first bullet stung. It was a clean room through this leg and I got back up. I may have got another 10 feet and that's when the bullet hit my right leg and blew my leg in half. Shattered the bone and it took a chunk out of me as big as my heart and I hit the deck. I can't go. Michelle had hurt me screaming out or something. She came back to check on me. This guy is just marching very methodically determined to come kill me. He was probably not an 100 feet from me and for some reason she had passed him up running towards me and as soon as she passed him up he just pointed over there and put three rounds in her. She fell in a ditch, beside the road and I'm shot up. I'm in the middle of the red watch that happened. I'm begging a guy. Please don't. Please don't. He's determined. He continues walking towards me. I'm laying in my own blood as big as this table and he's not saying anything. Just stone cold. After she did a shot I was starting to hurt. You know I just love her my life. I'm hunting, hang on. You know, hang on. So he gets about half to distance to me from her to me and Michelle raises up because she was laying face down and she raised up and haul her down. And God is attention because he walked back over and put three more rounds in her and at that point I was done. After that I laid back and I laid on my back and I'm staring up at the sky and I said out loud, I said I'm dead. I'm dead. I said it three times. I'm dead and just laid still. And he believed me. So after a few moments I rolled over on my side and I could see down the road and the creep was walking away and he walks down. I'm watching. I'm laying on my side. Some guy had pulled up in another vehicle. A little silver Honda. Left the door open and the guy had took off running. But I don't know if these people are working as a team or whatever. So the guy walks and gets in that little Honda just like it was waiting for him. So I'm watching this and I sit up on my ass in the middle of the road and he must have saw me sitting up. He puts that thing in reverse. And he's backing up, he's going to run me over. He wasn't done with me yet so I dragged myself over as close as I could get to my show alongside the road. Man, it took all I could do. My legs flopped around and I got into the ditch. Once I got into the ditch he stopped and he took off. But I got about the distance, the length of the stable from the show. I'm trying to talk into her. You know, hang on, hang on. But then I started hollering. I knew I wasn't far from that transfer station over there. So I started hollering for help. Help is loud as I could. And the garbage guy came over and assisted. And as soon as he got there I told him that he checked my wife. And he did. He went over and checked her. You know, he said, no, she's gone. I said, no, she checked her again. He went and checked her again. You know, I saw her move. I saw her move, you know, and bless her, he went and checked her. Then he came and he started assisting me. Then holding pressure on what was left of my leg there. I didn't want to believe she was dead. You don't want to think about it. You know, I held out hope for a long time. So this nice fella come now. Help me. A lot of time goes by. People are driving by. They're driving right to. And I'm sitting there on the ground. And he had to garbage truck. Taking up one lane was as far as she was going and stuff. People were driving right by me. And my neighbors, good people, they want to see the dead woman and the guy shot on the road. Many cars went through the scene. And they were asking questions. And you know, get help. Go get an ambulance. And I'm thinking, where's the cops? Where's the help? Because I can see the choppers and planes and shit at that time. There's tons of choppers flying around. And I can hear the ambulance and stuff. Well, why aren't they coming here? Time goes by. Still waiting, waiting. People are driving through. I'd finally look he lives at Tom. I'd be a fuck out of here. Just get it, fuck out of here. This fella that was helping me, you know what? I said, he probably haven't seen anything like this before. And he points up to his ball cap. There's a screaming eagle on his ball cap. And I said, oh, see you've seen this. And he said, yeah, I've seen this before. He was a medic. I know our men have to understand. He'd been through it. And he kept his school. The pain is so intense that you just kind of have to block it mentally. A considerable amount of time went fine. Waiting for someone to arrive. And while we're waiting, I'm asking this guy. I said, man, what's taking him so long? You know, he's telling me all the other people have been shot out here. The school outshot up. Finally, these cars start creeping up the road. And there's guys walking between the cars with their SWAT gear on. And they see us alongside the road. Show us your hands. They run over and stick AR-15s on our face. Show us your hands. You know, I'm blown up as this fucking shot here. There's people shot here. So this posse comes through. And they're unmarked vehicles. And they're all the SWAT gear. And they finally, oh, what happened? I'm alert. I tell them everything to detail. This is what happened. This is, he went that way in a Silver Honda. So they gather up and leave. They didn't leave anyone there. They just took a statement, got my name, radio, and whatever. And they were gone. It's almost another 40 minutes before someone else shows up. So this big fat cop shows up in another unmarked car. And he barks across the street. He's a no particular hurry. His guy gets out, goes around the back of his car, and gets some gears. Boo, boo, boo, boo, put his gloves on, take his time. I've been bleeding for an hour by then. I said, anytime, sweetheart, when you finally get close to him, I said, check my wife. Please check my wife. I begged him to check my wife, and he did. I made him check her again when he was done. We'll check her again. I don't want to give up. But she was gone. Yeah, I realized that. It was sucks. So this guy, this big ol' lumbering piece of shit. I'll take over, and he gets down in a ditch, and he's going to take over from this medic. The guy who did a great job. He fums around there, and they put a tourniquet on. He's overwhelmed within a few minutes. He asked the garbage bandit, can you come hold this again before he got to tourniquet? He was already exhausted. After a while, and I'm even asking a cop, why don't you take a look at him? Ask him a cop, why don't you send the ambulance down here to get us, you know? Oh, there's other people that have been shot. Okay, yeah, well, we're shot. Yeah, I've been here a while. He stands up, and he's thinking about it. And we're going to put you in that truck, not in his vehicle. Not going to put a bloody victim in his SUV. So we're going to carry you over to the garbage truck. And I said, no, you're not. You're going to back up truck up here. If I got to ride in the garbage truck, you're not going to carry me in my legs. So they did that. He backs it up there, and then he shoved me in that garbage truck so hard that my pants come down. And I'm laying on garbage shit, shit up my back, up against garbage cans in the back of garbage truck. And he shoved the tailgate, you know? My legs. So I got to ride down to the heliport in the garbage truck. And we get down to the heliport, and I'm laying in the back. And I hear, stop. So I was here, and I'm stuck right there. A couple more heroes down there with the M16s. They come around the back of the garbage truck. And there's people shot him, holler. Because I can't see out of it. There's people shot. They come around. Oh, God. Yeah. So then they fumble around. What do we do with them? Well, there's an ambulance sitting there. There's a chopper sitting here. Since it's put me in a chopper, I need to go just do something. They're all having a group fuck over here trying to decide, well, which change to turn a get, we're going to put a different turn to get on. What's wrong with the turn? Oh, this is a better one. Get my ass to hospital. They decide to put me in an ambulance. It's a bad situation. Those guys are overwhelmed immediately. Ambulance goes down to the end of the runway. We got to where the store is here. He needs to go on a chopper. So they turn around and take me back to the chopper. Put me in a different gurney, one for the chopper. I'm hurting, but it's been a complios. From the chopper ride to mercy, I've been riding. The chopper crew was cool. And the nurses on board were very sweet. We're not prepared for any of this crap. They did their best. It was tough. That was a tough day. Very tough. They did initial surgery. And then the next day, they had to do another surgery. But they had ordered the longest titanium strap they could put them going back together. It's amazing that I still have a leg. Dealing with the wounds, clinic, and all that. Terribly expensive. I was going to like five appointments a week. Different doctors. Oh, man. That all got exhausted. Apparently my insurance got to a point. They wouldn't allow skin graft. And then when they finally allowed a skin graft, the leg got infected. It was a touch-and-go for a couple of years. The leg would get infected. I'd have to go on a hospital for a couple of days a week. They did send out in-home health nurses once a week. They didn't want to be out there because it's a dangerous area. So I just said, well, don't send any more people. I don't need anyone else to come out. I'll make a way into the doctor's office. And it was a combination of had family members initially helped me out, give me rides. But right away, I made myself able to drive. It was tough. You know, I'm determined. I'm not going to be. I'm going to kick me down long. I'm going to do all I can to get better. But I still have an open wound five years later. I still have to put dressing on every day. You really learn that you're all alone. Yeah, people have sympathy, but you're on your own. You got to do it all. I learned that right away. You don't have people. I had to pay people to come and help me. I spent a fortune on it. Fortunately, I'd made plans. It had life insurance and stuff and had good insurance. Otherwise, we provided for that. That was always the idea because I'm a construction guy. And I was going to get killed on a job or something. So everything was set up to take care of my wife if I ever eventually got hurt or whatever. So ended up being that I'm the one. My best friend was my wife. And she wasn't there. She got taken from me. And she was such a tough gal. And there was never any self-pity for her. I mean, she wouldn't allow me to have self-pity. That things were going rough, whatever. She'd worked her so many tough things with her and made me better. And it made me better prepared for this crap. Because you end up doing it alone. The feeling of helplessness was a feeling of helplessness more that I couldn't help her. I was her hero. I was this strong guy that was supposed to take care of her, you know, and take care of others. I'm that guy and I was blown apart. It was the hardest thing in the world for me to set there and not be able to protect her, to jump up and go strangleist, dude. I thought I'd blame myself for even being out here. Had I took the other road, we had different routes that we take. My wife liked taking the high road, and I liked taking the low road. And me taking the low road was a mistake that day. So I'd beat myself up about time. Thought of crying. Thought of crying. This is my wife thinking about her, you know? And the loss just to, no, you never get, never get over it. It gets easier to deal with, but yeah, I could never care for her. I'm still in pain. I'm in constant pain. You have to come in terms of this person, my wife, is never coming back. So already dealt with that. So okay, what about me? I had this very unique person. The love of my life is wonderful person that is irreplaceable. So good part of it is how do I put myself in this world? Where's my place now? Because it's changed for me. I can't work all that while I was healing the first couple of years of thinking, I may go back to work. I'll be able to go back to work. And after a while, it becomes clear right now, you know? Life is terribly unfair. You can do everything right and still lose. That's a tough lesson. There is no guarantees. Not in this country or any country. You have the right to pursue happiness. There's no guarantee of happiness. So life's unfair, boo-hoo. It is unfair. I accepted that a long time ago. What's unfair is not having police protection. I've since learned that the cops, they really don't have the authority to do a bunch. They wait around until somebody's rights are violated and then they can step in and do stuff. But they're kind of a visual deterrence more than that. They're security guards. They don't have quite the power that people think they do. I'm working out on the yard during the weekend. It was just like a couple of weeks before we got shot. I'm working out on the yard during the weekend. Then I heard automatic gunfire. It's okay. You hear gunfire all the time. Now here, there's a gun range not far from where I live. And I'm outside working. Michelle's in the house. I went in and told Michelle I'm going to call Sheriff's Department home. Yeah, they'll come take a look at this because it's not going away. It's going on for hours. So I call the Sheriff's Department. And I got my ass chewed out by a cop on the other end. Well, you know not all the manic-serie legal. And I said, yeah, I'm aware of that. But it pissed me off. I got my ass chewed for calling. They did not send anyone out to investigate. This was, yeah, just a couple of weeks before the shooting. And I was pissed off. I'd never call in vassals again for anything. But it was in the wake of this, the shooting in Las Vegas was fresh in our mind. It was horrible. Still unexplained whether the guy flipped. You know, a working class guy. I'm not anti-gun. We're just working class folks. I'm not just going to sit by and not do anything about this. I was concerned. We were let down out here. We didn't have cops. Thinking my eye was crap going on out here. Ever. Not even since. There's cartel guys here. You're not in LA, but they're here. They take our tax money and they don't represent us. And another part of it is the people themselves. Our society is let us down. Because people allow this bullshit lawlessness to continue out here. Jamie or Bobby or whatever here's an outlaw. So no one says anything bullshit. What's live like human beings, decent human beings? Not be stealing and hurting other people. The guy should have been out on the street. He was a creep. Try to kill two other people. And he's walking the street. Totally preventable. No excuse. It was totally preventable. What happened out here? So yeah, I'm mad about it. I'm bitter about it. Do I understand where all humans are? Yeah. I was human too. My wife was a certain human. So what to do? One of those circumstances you do your best. That's all you can do. Be strong. I grew up in a time when my neighbor was fucking up. The rest of us, you could go talk to him. Hey, he didn't knock this shit off. There was some accountability. Nowadays people just don't say anything. They let it slide, let it slide. Be more active with your surroundings. Take part in it yourself. Be a better citizen. My kids are all grown. But we still talk. We still communicate. Communication's important. And I'm not talking to texting. People need to do it in person. I've got to know people more intimately where I didn't have the time before. It's on the road all the time. I go out drinking. I go to the local pubs. I was never able to do that before. I was Mr. Responsible working all the time and taking care of him, you know, being with my wife. That was all I needed. I'm sure I'm meeting new people and stuff. And I was open to that. But now I really have the time to get to be around folks and have relationships with people. I've become more social. You know, I've made new friends. I learned that the community wants to heal and get on and not think about it. Well, I'm not great that the community wants to heal. Good for them. I appreciate their own experience. The community healing so that we could put it behind us. Well, it doesn't end for me. It ended for my wife. This town, we talk to each other more. We do. People are genuinely friendlier. We're more open. We're more interested in keeping our community safer. So something did come out of it. I love California. I'm from here. I've been other places. But this is home. I'm going to stay and make it better. I've got blood in this place. I'm not just going to give it up. Most people want to just have peace, right? We want to go enjoy whatever the hell it is we want to do without being encumbered by someone else. I like for people to understand what right and wrong and practice it. It took a while. But then I found a therapist. And I still see her. I still have this PTSD thing. You know, you hear the word. And you don't quite know what it is until you experience it. You're helpless to it. So I have a much more sympathy for that. Because I would freak me out. I can remember. I was sitting at a stoplight and down in a cop head. Someone pulled over and just seeing the gun on it and it was holstered. Freak me out. And I grew up around guns. I believe people should have the right. But it freaked me out for a while. I don't know why anything it is. I don't know why a guy is wearing a gun personally. There is a level of anxiety. Most of the time I can handle it. But occasionally it slips in and you feel uncomfortable. I have flashbacks in there. So I continue with Airbnb. And it's great. I honestly didn't want to know details. I didn't want to know the guy's name or anything about him for a long long time. I still don't. mechanism. Sad I don't know I've met other victims of this guy and whatever and I appreciate they've made great people but we've got to go on with our lives. I've been through some crap before this. I kind of like to fill it up to help me. I'd seen some at Shady, kept his cool. I think he fell apart afterwards. Sadly, this whole experience I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I mean that. I can't even think of anyone I hate that much. I don't spend time hating people. When you're a kid you do and it takes too much energy. It's okay to be hurt. It's okay to be broken. It's not a damn crime to be depressed. I'm not afraid of feelings. I'm a tough dude but man I let my cry too. It's okay to have a range of emotions. I'm not a whole John Wayne bullshit. Never cry about bullshit. I have real feelings. Things really hurt. These things really hurt. Those are my brother or her. I couldn't speak it as funeral. I love my brother. My life will never be the same. The dreams I had, those it's changed. All of it. So I'm living a different life now. I know necessarily believe in the death is absolute. I like to believe in her as a spirit. Not a religious guy but I think there's more to this than this flash and blood. After this experience I hope that there's more. Do I feel her around? Yeah I speak to her still. It's one side it but you know you keep your you keep your mind in a certain way. I know she's in a place where she can see far more than I can. I'm thankful that she's there. Her spirits have to go around and keep an eye on her grandkids and explore the the cosmos. I hope and that's what she doing. What we bring to life is something that wants to continue growing. You have an impact on people and years later you can see where it's become of it. I don't have to be hung up on this. This doesn't have to be my whole life. You know some people it's their whole life is at one moment or you know for a lot of guys that did that one turn overseas and they're paying their whole life on that one experience. Who I was as a person who I am currently. I hang my head on that. Go out every day. Be an honorable person. Be productive. Be no trouble to anyone. I'm not gonna crawl into a rock and feel sorry for myself. No no no no. Death happens. It's part of life. It just goes on and on and on and on. The wonderment things to learn never ends. So I'm gonna go on being productive and strong for everyone. Today's episode featured Troy McFadden. This episode is part one of our limited series Point Blank, co-produced by me, Whitney Saldine in collaboration with Connor Sheets, investigative journalist with the Los Angeles Times, with special thanks to Jason Blalock, Andrew Wates and Gabby Quintana. To find out more about the shooting you can read the original article by Connor that inspired the series titled It Was California's Forgotten Mass Shooting but for victims The Hell Never Ends on LA Times.com From Wondery, you're listening to this is actually happening. If you love what we do, please rate and review the show. You can subscribe on Apple podcasts, Amazon music or on the Wondery app to listen ad free and get access to the entire back catalog. In the episode notes you'll find some links and offers from our sponsors. By supporting them you help us bring you our show for free. I'm your host Whitness Saldine. Today's episode was co-produced by me and Andrew Wates with special thanks to that this is actually happening team including Ellen Westberg. The intro music features the song Ilabai by Tipper. You can join the community on that this is actually happening discussion group on Facebook or follow us on Instagram at Actually Happening. 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