When the sound of fireworks triggers the trauma of being shot at

It’s that time of year again . . . (The following was originally posted here on my blog on July 7, 2018)

It happened to me almost forty years ago. I was living about an hour north of Chicago, where I worked for a home builder in a swanky new development on a lake. I worked in the office answering phones, greeting potential home buyers, answering their questions, and taking them on a tour of the model homes.

I worked by myself, with only a radio to keep me company. But I liked it, it was peaceful… until it wasn’t.

My day began early in the morning and continued until after dark, when it was time to lock up the office and the model houses. One night, after another quiet day, I turned off the lights, locked the office, then secured the three model homes. As I was walking back up the sidewalk, a car came alongside me and stopped. Then someone inside that car took three shots at me.

Even after all these years, I can still see the red-orange muzzle flash of the gunshots. I can still hear the POW POW POW.

I ran as fast as I could, jumped in my little Toyota Celica, and as I started the engine, the other car took off. Thank God Thank God Thank God, none of those bullets hit me!

But why? WHY? Why would a total stranger drive up and randomly shoot at me like that?

I never went back to that job again. I did not report the shooting, either. I already had Post-traumatic Stress Disorder from a childhood of multiple extreme traumas, although I did not know at the time that I had PTSD, I just thought I was a little “crazy.” But I definitely did have PTSD by then, and I am sure this is why I was too afraid to go to the authorities.

Here in the small southwestern city where my husband and I moved to earlier this year, people LOVE their fireworks. Last night at 11 p.m., two whole days after the Fourth, people were still setting off loud booming fireworks all around us. Which is making our two rescue dogs a little crazy. Worse, it’s making my combat veteran husband flash back to Vietnam.

As for me… I keep remembering that senseless random shooting north of Chicago so many years ago, the red-orange muzzle flashes, the POW POW POW of some deranged stranger shooting at me.

But… I am Ok! I was lucky, or maybe I should say very blessed. I did not get shot! And today, thanks to the neurofeedback treatments* that I had last year, hearing all the loud random fireworks going off in our neighborhood, and remembering those long ago gunshots, is NOT making me feel anxious or afraid! Not even a little bit! WOW WOW WOW!!

I will be super glad, though, when things get back to normal, for my best-friend-husband’s sake, and for our poor, terrified, pampered fur babies. Even the wild birds around the feeder in our yard looked a little shell shocked this morning.

I think it is sadly ironic that the way our country celebrates its freedom, is with loud booming explosive sounds, guaranteed to traumatize most of the men and women who have fought for our freedom. We need a fireworks-free Quiet Zone this time of year, in every state, within driving distance of every veteran, to get away from the war sounds.

God bless, and thank you for stopping by. Feel free to leave a comment and share how the fireworks have been affecting you and your loved ons

*Ryan Watson in Amarillo, Texas, administered my NFT, and he is AWESOME. I tried to talk my husband into giving neurofeedback a try, but he did not want to. Which is fine, his EFT has been helping him a lot. But not with fireworks..


33 thoughts on “When the sound of fireworks triggers the trauma of being shot at

  1. Lee Poskey July 7, 2018 / 1:12 pm

    Hi Linda, and good mornin to you.
    Those shots fired at you was from the thinking of someone who was under the influence of devils.
    It’s sad that wickedness must be in this world isn’t it?

    And I think your point about fireworks noises being inappropriate to recognize freedom is very insightful.
    I don’t like them either. Anytime it’s fireworks season, me and my wife dread it. It’s horrible, hearing those obnoxious things into the night. Your family can’t sleep, people are injured, houses burn down, and the neighborhood is a littered mess.

    I’m in full agreement with y’all about them things.

    God bless you both, and I appreciate your kindness Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carrie Rubin July 7, 2018 / 6:26 pm

    What a frightening experience you had back in Chicago. I can’t imagine what that must have been like for you. How nice that you’ve made enough progress to no longer be traumatized by the fireworks. They do seem an odd way to celebrate the occasion, now that you mention it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 7, 2018 / 7:46 pm

      It really is a weird way to celebrate. I did enjoy watching the big colorful fireworks display that our city put on, though. It was far enough in the distance that we couldn’t hear much of the BOOM sounds, with our windows closed and the air conditioner running. The best part was discovering that we have a perfect unobstructed view through our dining room window, from the comfort of our home. But these random fireworks going on all around town at all hours, especially the ones that kids were setting off in the street right in front of our house — yikes. The sound is very much like gunshots. And our poor dogs!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. atimetoshare.me July 7, 2018 / 7:08 pm

    You ate my hero!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. atimetoshare.me July 7, 2018 / 7:09 pm

    You are my hero😜 omg what a silly mistake.


    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 7, 2018 / 7:32 pm

      Oh my gosh Kathy, you just made me laugh so hard!!! Thank you for your kind words. And thanks for the laugh!


      • atimetoshare.me July 7, 2018 / 8:57 pm

        I laughed out loud too when I saw what I did. Even when I try to be serious it comes out funny😜

        Liked by 3 people

        • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 7, 2018 / 9:16 pm

          That’s a great way to be. Laughter really is good medicine. I thought about editing it for you, but I like it better as it is. Haha, I am laughing again.

          Liked by 2 people

        • seekingdivineperspective July 4, 2019 / 11:34 am

          I was laughing, too … thinking of how my blog was entitle “Seeking Divine Perpsective” for over a year – sheesh!

          Liked by 4 people

          • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 4, 2019 / 3:26 pm

            Lol!! That’s too funny. Thanks, you literally made me laugh out loud just now. You are so awesome and honest. πŸ˜€

            Liked by 1 person

          • atimetoshare.me July 4, 2019 / 4:30 pm

            It’s amazing how spell check seems to have mind of its oen

            Liked by 4 people

            • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 4, 2019 / 4:36 pm

              It does! The spell check on my tablet keeps turning “the” into “tye,” among many other annoying habits.

              Liked by 2 people

              • atimetoshare.me July 4, 2019 / 5:20 pm

                Of course it has nothing to do with us 😳

                Liked by 1 person

  5. Anna Waldherr July 8, 2018 / 12:05 pm

    I am so glad you’ve recovered so well. ❀


  6. Wendi011 August 20, 2018 / 10:31 am

    Thank God none of those bullets hit you. You were definitely blessed! In the city I used to live in they would shoot off thier guns on the 4th of July and also for New Years Eve. People would get hit with stray bullets and it would trigger my ptsd as well. It’s really a strange way to celebrate, shooting guns and fireworks. I’m glad you are able to recover from the ptsd you suffered. I hope to be able to do the same some day soon. God bless.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote August 20, 2018 / 12:07 pm

      Aww, Wendi, thank you so much. God bless you, too!

      I’ve recently had a couple of setbacks in my PTSD. I plan to write a post about it soon, for the sake of truth and clarity. Setbacks sometimes happen in life, you know? But I believe that as long as we are willing to face the truth of the situation — without going into denial — and especially if we refuse to give up, then having a setback isn’t the end of the world — although it may feel that way, for a little while! Setbacks are just part of being human, particularly if you happen to be a human with PTSD.

      Do you have an active blog? I clicked on your name and on your picture, but both clicks took me to a blog that is no more. (I have done that, too, in the years since I first began blogging, when blogging became too much. Hopefully I won’t ever feel like I need to do that again.)

      If you reply and I don’t approve your comment or answer right away, it won’t be because I am ignoring you. My husband and I are getting ready to go visit with one of our granddaughters.

      Thanks again for your kind comment, and for the follow. I am so glad that none of those random bullets ever hit you, either!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Wendi011 August 20, 2018 / 12:45 pm

        Thank you Linda for your kind reply! Setbacks can feel like the end of the world sometimes but I’m working through it. It’s comforting that you understand. My blog is Wendistudio.wordpress.com I don’t know why the link goes to no where. I need to fix that somehow. Haha. I’m new to WordPress and to blogging.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. marianbeaman July 4, 2019 / 7:42 am

    You could probably skip the lyrics “The bombs bursting in air” in our national anthem that will undoubtedly be sung today, the Fourth!

    Of course, details of the event described are imprinted on your mind because it was so traumatic. What a vivid description! Sorry you had to endure that, Linda Lee!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Salvageable July 4, 2019 / 9:07 am

    As a child, I was taken to the fireworks show every Independence Day. As an adult, I’ve chosen not to go. The rest of the family goes; I stay home and watch a movie. Loud noises and crowds bother me; I have no reason to put myself through it. J.

    Liked by 4 people

    • ibikenyc July 4, 2019 / 6:16 pm

      I am old enough to remember parts of the (64-65) NY World’s Fair, at which they had a fireworks show every night. I would sit there with my hands over my ears. Although I loved all the pretty colors, I HATED the loud noise that went with them.

      Nowadays, I also LOATHE crowds and just stay home on The Fourth.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. seekingdivineperspective July 4, 2019 / 11:40 am

    “I think it is sadly ironic that the way our country celebrates its freedom, is with loud booming explosive sounds, guaranteed to traumatize most of the men and women who have fought for our freedom. We need a fireworks-free Quiet Zone this time of year, in every state, within driving distance of every veteran, to get away from the war sounds.”

    My thoughts exactly! Where we are is a favorite summer vacation spot, and people love to shoot off their fireworks from late June sometimes into August. And it doesn’t get dark until after 10:00, so I always want to scream “ENOUGH ALREADY!” There are three groups I feel especially bad for : The dogs, young parents with infants (that they JUST got to sleep,) and most of all, the veterans that we owe SO much to for making the celebration possible.

    God bless you and your husband, – thanks be to Him for shielding you from three shots at (sounds like) point-blank range! Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 4, 2019 / 3:40 pm

      Oh wow. I sometimes wish our government would just outlaw fireworks altogether. (Also, the OCD germophobe in me wishes they would outlaw public toilets without lids. And make a law that toilets must be rigged so they cannot flush unless the lid is down. But I digress… I prayed about that one time, about the unsettling fact that open toilets spray bacteria all over the restroom when they are flushed. I said “God, am I being ridiculous here?” This is what came to my mind in that moment: “That’s why I gave you an immune system.” Wow!)

      When I was shot at, the sidewalk I was on ran right in front of the model homes, between the houses and the road. But the homes and the sidewalk were set back quite a distance from the rural highway that ran in front. I’m not good at estimating distances, especially not after so many years. However, my guess is that the sidewalk I was on was approximately 25 or 30 feet away from the road. So, thank goodness, it wasn’t at point blank range. Plus it was dark, and maybe he was a bad shot, plus I believe the Lord protected me. But still, it was very scary!

      Liked by 3 people

  10. bluebird of bitterness July 4, 2019 / 12:06 pm

    Wow, I’m SO glad that depraved son-of-a-bachelor had such lousy aim, and that your guardian angel was working overtime that day.

    We used to have a cat who was terrified of fireworks (and thunder and any other loud noises), and would run downstairs and hide behind the water heater whenever he heard them. None of our current herd mind the noise, though. They sit right out on the catwalk on the screen porch while the neighbor kids are setting off fireworks. Weird.

    Personally, I love fireworks, and because I have never been in a war zone or been shot at, the noise doesn’t bother me. What ruins fireworks for me is the crowds of drunken people that show up for them. (My tolerance for drunken crowds is probably on a par with your husband’s tolerance for the sound of machine gun fire.) Also, staying up until 11pm gets harder and harder the older I get. What were the founding fathers thinking, signing the declaration in July? Couldn’t they have done it in December or January, so those of us who actually enjoy fireworks could watch them at a reasonable hour? Sheesh.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 4, 2019 / 3:43 pm

      Oh yes, I don’t do well with drunken crowds, either.

      You know, you’re right as usual, Bluebird. What were our founding fathers thinking? I second your sheesh! πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 3 people

      • bluebird of bitterness July 4, 2019 / 6:34 pm

        Recently I was listening to a lecture by a history professor who grew up in England and graduated from Oxford, then came to the U.S. for grad school and ended up staying. He said that when he first came here, and found out that we shoot off our fireworks on July 4, he felt sorry for us. In Britain, fireworks night is November 5 (Guy Fawkes Day), when it gets dark nice and early. There, you can enjoy the fireworks, then go home and have a nice cup of tea and still get to bed on time. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 3 people

        • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote July 4, 2019 / 7:26 pm

          Oh that’s right. And they aren’t much of a fireworks, either, as I recall from my time in England.

          Liked by 2 people

  11. hawk2017 July 4, 2019 / 1:27 pm

    So sad about people who don’t think. They don’t care if it is illegal, in our city.

    Liked by 1 person

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