What would you do … if it’s late at night when you begin to suspect your wife is cheating on you, you want to talk but she’s asleep, you’re a convicted felon—and you have alcoholic biochemistry?
1. Patiently wait until morning, have a cup of coffee with her and then broach the subject?
2. Turn the lights on and, when that doesn’t rouse her, shake her?
3. Call her name until she wakes up?
4. Yank the covers off and, if that doesn’t work, shake her until she wakes?
5. Take her handgun and fire a “warning shot” 12 inches from her head?
Congratulations if you selected # 5, which is what Thomas Lee Nunes, 61, of Oregon City, Oregon did after a night of drinking with his wife, Lisa Nunes, 54. After drinking at home, they went out to several bars. Lisa, who recently retired as a lieutenant for the Oregon City police, consumed at least ten beers throughout the night, obviously preparing for a second career as a bartender in time-honored fashion by getting to know her merchandise. Running briefly into a male friend who soon left, the friend began “sexting” Lisa, who “hav[ing] a relationship with [her] husband that’s non-existent” enjoyed the flirtations until her husband saw a few of the messages and a photo of the man’s genitals. Enraged, Thomas grabbed Lisa’s phone and went home to look for more signs of infidelity.
Once home, Thomas searched his wife’s Facebook account and began to realize she was cheating “right in front of my face.” He was so distraught, in what may well be unique in the annals of alcoholic reactions, he “smoked marijuana and talked to his cats for about 20 minutes to calm himself and ‘reason out a plan’.” Rather than confronting Lisa when she returned home (perhaps his “20 minutes” was really two hours and he was still, in an obviously delusional state, “reasoning out his plan”) he let her go to sleep. In the wee hours of the morning he acted on his apparent plan: he took a service pistol she’d stashed in the room and, intending to “wake her up,” fired a warning shot—“carefully” placed 12 inches from her head.
Since Thomas is a convicted felon who’s not allowed to possess a weapon, his next steps were truly amazing. Fearing that Lisa would later use the gun on him and realizing the gun posed a danger to a grandchild who often visited their home (funny, he never thought of that before), Thomas decided to turn the gun in to the police. So, you’re a convicted felon who can’t have a gun. What do you do? Probably not what Thomas did: he brought it to police strapped to an ankle holster, thereby taking a concealed weapon into a police station. Clackamas County Circuit Judge Kathie F. Steele, finding Nunes guilty of being a felon in possession of a fire arm, unlawful use of a weapon, assault and menacing, sentenced him to ten years and commented, “The mind is boggled.”
Nunes’ actions are clearly an example of the idea that alcoholics are capable of anything, however bizarre. Lisa Nunes is a good example of the co-dependence alcoholics often show for each other. After the earlier conviction, which resulted from taking two of his wife’s guns and her bullet-proof vest and shooting aimlessly after a bout of heavy drinking, most spouses would file for divorce, require abstinence, or at least lock up her service pistols. However, her behavior, marked by heavy drinking and sexting in front of her husband, also indicates undiagnosed and untreated alcoholism. With alcoholic v. alcoholic, this could have ended really badly, with both dead. As a cop, her fellow officers should have intervened long ago, which might have given her the tools with which to intervene in her husband’s alcoholism, which would have prevented all of this. Let’s hope that some prison time for Thomas and a bit of more thoughtful analysis of what happened by Lisa will serve to sober them both up.