For the sake of this posting, my friend Bob is recovering from the trauma of a negligent discharge at home. Despite there being no physical injuries, the incident continues to grind away at Bob as he works to put this behind him and his family. This post is about how best to help.
The incident was at 4AM the morning before a planned trip to the range. His routine was to inspect the pistols, load magazines, and pack the range bag before the family awoke as he is an early riser. The 10MM 1911 had a round in the chamber, and when grabbing the pistol to rack the (very stiff) slide and inspect the chamber, the finger touched the trigger and the powerful round was shot. It shot through the tile floor above and fragments lodged in the 2nd story floor. It pierced a water pipe causing an instant flood and left the 1st floor full of tile and bullet fragments. The cleanup and repairs were costly.
Bob has faced trauma before and successfully dealt with earlier trauma through therapy and lots of family and friend support. The issue here is his inability to discuss openly with anyone other than his wife. Bringing this to a therapist may invite legal trouble, as would disclosure to friends. So what to do? The most important element of dealing with recall and its effect on work, sleep, and relationships has always been open discussion, especially with others who have a shared experience. None of this is available in this case. Bob is well aware of the mistakes made and how to avoid. The problem is how to put this behind for the sake of his family, his job, and himself. How to regain trust. How to move on.
Note: we all know this was not an accident. It was unintended negligence. Nobody to blame other than himself.