By Kimberley Graham
Several years ago, when our children were very young, there was an adorable, friendly couple who lived a few doors down from us: Mandy ‘n’ Randy. Mandy was a civil engineer and Randy in flight command with the Navy. We lived happily near each other for years. They had a precious Pomeranian and an apartment full of Winnie the Pooh memorabilia. Randy used to frequently come out and watch the kids play engaging them with their toys and childhood innocence. They were the only ones we ever trusted to watch our kids in an emergency.
Randy went onto begin training with the UDT teams. One momentous 4th of July, unbeknownst to any of us, Randy began drinking very early in the morning as do most of us who live on Orange on the Fourth. Also unbeknownst to us was that he had been thrown out of the UDT due to mental issues receiving no psychiatric care or follow-up. As we all sat outside enjoying the parade, his ex-team members came by on a float jeering and teasing him on. Right over the edge, Randy went (and had done so, we later found out with his wife, on many occasions).
He began marching around in the median with an American flag he had commandeered while shouting and acting a huge-bit nuts. Then he went home and smashed out all his windows while throwing a Bouie knife into the wall. It turns out Randy had been sleeping with an arsenal under his pillow and bed for years becoming increasingly paranoid at the same time.
Mandy ran down to get my husband’s help who approached our distraught friend very slowly. He found Randy passed out on the floor. After a long talk, Randy agreed to drink coffee, sober up, and quit terrorizing his Mandy and doggie. Well, when he got down to Central Liquor with his wife to get that coffee, he changed his mind and wanted to get some more booze. The store refused to sell him any more liquor. Another hysterical march down the median with his American flag and deflated patriotism ensued.
Once again, Mandy ran hysterically down to find my husband, Al. This time, Randy had gotten into his storage in the communal courtyard and was unpacking a chest of weapons and ammunition. After this discovery, Al stealthily returned home to secure the kids, Mandy, the neighbors, and to call 911. I was at work while all this was occurring. The Coronado police battalion arrived to find him sitting in an armchair in front of the back door aiming a gun to any passers-by. SWAT team was called in and the area was cordoned off. The stolen American flag was poised next to our friend, who we always thought was “dear sweet harmless Randy”. While my kids hugged and tried to comfort their beloved “Mandy” friend, a single shot was fired and Randy took his life. All the neighbors were hiding and it took a long time for the exorcism of this event to occur. Broken out windows, yellow police tape everywhere, and a devastated widow, doggie, all the neighbors, my kids, and us were left behind in the human’s ashes of a very disturbed young soldier.
When Randy was discharged abruptly from the UDT training program due to questionable mental disabilities and psychological disorders, he never received any counseling from the Navy or follow-up even though his superiors knew he was a very unstable and dangerous young man to himself and to others. We hope this sort of treatment has been corrected for similar service people who are clearly “at risk” putting the community at large in peril.
May Randy rest in peace?