Drunks and guns.... am I overreacting?
.... to put a long story short, my mother remarried an alcoholic after I was grown. There was a lot going on that week -- my grandmother's funeral was a few days before -- and while drunk, my stepfather got into it with a friend of mine on the front lawn of my mother and stepfather's property. (This is Arkansas, and the friend is the same one who rode in the family car to my grandmother's funeral as my honorary brother.)
My mother and I were indoors in the kitchen, listening, when my stepfather entered the home and with extreme determination walked to the back bedroom. I could see the look on his face, and told Mom that I knew he was going after his firearm. Mother didn't believe he would ever do such a thing, but sure enough he came out of the bedroom with his pistol. His intent was to go outside and wave it at my friend to intimidate him -- not to actually use the firearm.
Knowing brandishing in Arkansas can be considered aggravated assault whether the firearm is loaded or not if the gun is taken outside the home, I prepared to dial 911 on my cell, acted to get my friend to step off of the property line by yelling through the front door for him to step off the lawn onto the curb (which he did immediately) and placed myself between my stepfather and the front door to the home.
I then turned and saw my mother pleading with him to please put down the gun, within range to attempt to take it out of his hand, though I don't recall her actually attempting to disarm him. I used an extremely firm voice (which may have been closer to a yell, I was kind of in an adrenaline rush right then) and told him to put the gun down NOW. Which he did. The incident ended mostly peaceably, though my stepfather was still aggressive toward both myself and my friend (who, like an chivalrous idiot, jumped back onto the property when it appeared that I was in danger -- I'm 5'1 and 105 lbs at 32 -- and just made things worse). I knew he knew better than to hit me on the front porch, he was just going to yell a bit... and if he had struck me, well... I know it'd break my mom's heart to see her husband in jail, but I'd have no problems swearing out a warrant.
While part of me is thinking "All's well that end's well," there's another, very strong part of me that is terrified to enter that house again. He and I have always struck sparks. Alcohol impairs judgment, and since he appears to always be drunk -- he's at the point in the disease where he has to "drink himself sober" in the morning -- I never know what to expect from him. He still denies that there is anything wrong at all with brandishing a firearm at someone in his front lawn with no intent to shoot and no threat to anyone's life or property from the person involved, or that handling firearms while intoxicated is a Bad Idea Entirely.
Given the trauma of that week, added to the extreme adrenaline.... well, this was a line for me. But am I overreacting by being terrified of going back there? I've told Mom that I love her dearly and will be happy to meet with her any time I am in town to have lunch or dinner or take her to the movies, and if he doesn't have his firearm her husband is free to come along, but even thinking about entering that house again makes me start to go into a miniature panic attack. I know it's PTSD and have been working with a therapist to address it (a little over a month prior to this incident I was sexually assaulted and had already been diagnosed with PTSD because of the assault, this just threw fuel on the fire).
But .... would you re-enter a home where you were placed into physical danger by a drunk waving a gun around?