On Saturday, a disgruntled veteran that the media has referred to as “highly decorated” walked into the Veterans Home of California with a rifle. He took three employees hostage, fired shots at a sheriff’s deputy, and after hours of attempts to make contact with the gunman, police entered to find the three hostages, as well as the gunman, dead. No official word has been said regarding the way in which the four died, but it can be surmised that the gunman was the culprit, and that he accomplished exactly what he set out to do that day.

I’ve never been to that California Veterans Home, but I am quite familiar with that type of facility. My father, a Vietnam veteran with troubles of his own, worked as a nursing home administrator throughout much of my childhood. Administrators (in the healthcare community) serve as the senior management on site in most instances, and during the years my father ran the Vermont Veterans home, it even came with an honorary rank. That position boasted other perks as well – including a home on the grounds of the facility, to ensure the administrator (called a Commandant in Veterans Homes) could always be close by to address any type of situation that required his attention.

Veterans Homes are not like most VA facilities, in fact, most of the funding for Veterans Homes actually comes from the state, rather than the Department of Veterans Affairs. Most Veteran’s Homes, however, do have a VA facility on site, where non-residents can come to seek treatment just as they would at a VA hospital. The Veterans Home itself, however, functions much more like a nursing or “old folks home” catering specifically to veterans. For the most part, these are not outpatient facilities, they’re the place you come to see your grandfather on a Sunday.

During all the years I lived on the grounds of the Vermont Veterans Home, the only times my father was pulled out of bed for “emergencies” involved locals cutting the locks on the gate for the deer park that was also on the grounds (aside from our house, the grounds also housed a deer enclosure and stocked fish pond – both with facilities for residents to feed the deer or fish). Our small community in Vermont was a well armed one – but no shootings ever took place during my tenure there.