A Bullet in a Blanket

January 31st, 2013 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

As our country debates the role of firearms in our society, this small pendant is a poignant example of how gun violence affects American families.

A couple came into our store and the wife asked us if we could make something from a memento they had– and then she told us about their experience of a drive-by shooting.

One evening in late 2006, the lady, her 19 year old son and 10 year old daughter were traveling in the family car along a local highway, headed to grandma’s house for a visit. A car pulled along side and an occupant fired two shots into their car, then sped away. One shot struck the car harmlessly but the other broke the rear window and wounded the daughter in the upper arm, penetrating into the muscle of the shoulder. They immediately drove to a local hospital- fortunately, the wound was not life threatening and they received prompt treatment. Had the bullet been a few inches higher, the results could have been tragic.

Mother and son were able to get the license plate so the police could trace the car– the shooter turned out to be the son of the car owner. Our customer told me she thought the crime may have been a gang initiation. After a lengthy trial, the young man was convicted of 3 counts of attempted murder and sentenced to 32 years to life.

The daughter had been curled up in a blanket when she was shot, so after the trial was over, the blanket was returned to the family. When they opened it up to get it cleaned, this bullet fell out. Apparently, the bloody bullet had worked its way out of the wound and stuck to the blanket– you can still see the blanket fibers on the bullet (back of pendant).

I was scratching my head wondering how or what to do with it but wife Kaye stepped up and volunteered to take on the job. Her wire working and beading skills came to the fore– with a bit of silver, she was able to create this charming little piece.

This simple jewel tells a sad story about two families, one traumatized but very lucky, one sadly burdened with a young man imprisoned– all because of a senseless act of violence with a loaded handgun. The daughter now has an amulet that is truly a good luck charm– we hope it serves her well and protects her from harm. The young man who did the shooting will have wasted the prime years of his life– we hope he finds redemption. And, we hope our fellow citizens find sensible ways to stem the flood of firearms in our country and to turn our society away from violence, toward the things that make life worth living.

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