On November 11, 1977, Mike Schlappi was only 14 when a friend picked up his father’s service revolver, jokingly pointed it at Mike’s chest, pulled the trigger, and a single shot went into Mike’s chest. The bullet ripped through a lung, missed his heart, and severed his spine. Mike fell back onto the bed stunned.
“You’re faking! You’re faking!” his friend shouted in panic. Mike pulled up his shirt and showed the wound—and then he passed out.
Mike survived that boyhood accident, but his lower body was paralyzed. He would spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
The shooting accident didn’t stop Mike. He went on to graduate from high school, then college, and became a four-time medalist winner for basketball in the Paralympics. He got married and had five children. Today, he is a successful businessman, author, and is a highly sought-after motivational speaker whose message is, “If you can’t stand up, stand out!”
In a recent interview, Mike told his story about the accident and how it taught him some great lessons of life that are often lost to almost everyone else. He has even forgiven the friend who shot him. (To see Mike sharing part of this story, click here.)
“I thank God for pain,” Mike said. “Because only when we feel pain do we change. And only when we change do we grow. And only when we grow do we realize the beauty that lies within each and everyone of us.”
Did the shooting accident turn Mike against guns? Not at all. Mike hunts to this day and acknowledges the importance of gun safety.
Behind the steel walls of his Liberty safe, Mike stashes his gold medals, the very bullet that cost him his mobility, and his own personal collection of rifles and handguns.
“I make sure my personal guns go in here so that I’m not a risk to other people,” he said.
The legal challenges to gun owners are increasing every day. The issues of liability are gaining ground in courts across the country. Gun manufacturers, gun distributors and gun owners have been working hard to defend the rights of gun ownership while legislators in many states are creating laws that place all or some of the burden of responsibility where their gun was not secured and thus stolen and used in a crime.
As Mike Schlappi declared, there is nothing wrong with owning a gun—but keeping it safe makes all the difference. That’s why Mike chose Liberty Safe, along with the more than 1.5 million other Americans, to keep his guns and valuables safely secured. It brings a peace of mind that rests comfortably and easy, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and especially when curious kids are left alone at home.