I am an 18 Y/O blind guy who was shot by his father. AMA!
My name is Ross Minor. As the title says. When I was eight, ten years ago, on June 14th, 2006, my father came into my room, shot me in my sleep. From there he shot my brother, Ryan, and then committed suicide. Ryan and I were rushed to the hospital, where Ryan died. I lost my left eye, all the sight in my right eye, and my sense of smell.
Notes of Interest
When I did my previous AMA, I didn't have time to answer every question because of school. Now that I've graduated, I have more time than I could ever need, so I will be answering every single question. If it gets to a point where over 20 or so people have asked the same question, I'll probably post it here.
PM's on Reddit or Twitter are always welcome. I love the Reddit community and I love meeting new people. You guys have helped me more than you could ever know.
Links of Interest
Extreme mobility's (XMO) website: A nonprofit extreme sports camp for the blind.
/r/blind: A subreddit dedicated for those who are blind or visually impaired.
/r/blindpokemon: A subreddit I made a while ago dedicated to making Pokemon walkthroughs for the blind. I still think it's acool idea, so I'm hoping it will get a little attention :p.
NVDA: The program I use to read text on the computer screen.
/r/RossMinor: A subreddit where people can ask me questions, contact me, start a discussion, etc. I mainly made it for people who may miss the AMA. I kind of feel like an egomaniac for making it haha.
My short bio:** Enter stuff here
My Proof: Enter link here
Sorry everyone, Reddit gave my router and rossman.ddns.net the hug of death. My poor little raspberry pi!
Thank you for the awesome AMA! It's not over, it's just being put on hold while I sleep :). Feel free to keep asking questions, messaging, and checking out the links I've posted. Thank you so much Reddit!
It's 2:00 and I'm answering questions again :).
I'll now be skipping over questions that have easily been asked well over 20 times. If I haven't answered your question, check the thread to see if I've answered it.
No worries bud, I said I'm going to answer every question :). Yes that's pretty much what happened. I didn't feel any pain, I just woke up in the hospital and couldn't see anything. I know he loved me. I believe that ultimately, he just made a huge mistake. Also, I love your user name.
I just want to say that your positivity, and your willingness to forgive and understand your father's actions, are incredibly inspiring.
I wish you all the best with your life and I hope you can continue to be happy and strong.
Thank you :), you too.
Wow, I have to say your responses show a strength in character second to none. Thank you for being an example in this world I wish to live up to, something much more rare than it should be. Would you say that your experience helped you develop this strength in character, or was it more a test to your previously developed resilience? Thank you for taking your time to do this AMA.
Thank you :). All I can say is, it takes pain to grow. People who grow up in hardship often mature a bit faster, if that makes sense.
What are your dreams like? I've always wondered how dreams worked for people who became blind after years of vision.
When a sighted person dreams, they dreams in their primary source of input, sight. For blind people, their primary source of input is sound, so that's what they dream.
As someone who once could see, do you still have any "visual dreams" or are they all just sound based?
I have some visual and sometimes visual and sound, other times just sound.
Do you have instances of both? Just curious, being that you could (if I understand correctly) see at some point. I'd wonder if the memories of sight degrade, or if it's something you no longer perceive. And I wish I could understand what it would be like to dream in sound. Anything specifically you can describe about it?
Yes I do. And I couldn't even begin to try to describe it, sorry.
What's the most beautiful experience you had that gave you hope after your life changed?
Wow, awesome question. I once swam with dolphins when I was a kid. It was amazing because I love dolphins and I love swimming. I was able to spend it with my cousin, mom, and grandparents as well. Another experience would probably be attending XMO. While there, I'm able to do things I previously thought impossible, such as surfing, fourwheeling, jet skiing, snowboarding, etc.
How has dating been? I remember watching an interview (or something) with a blind dude who said, for him, every girl he's been with is a 10. Do you find yourself more attracted to people's personality, or do you still privately ask your friends if someone is a swamp monster?
Haha, personality is definitely the biggest factor when in comes to dating; as well as voice. I've had a handful of girlfriends, but I often don't have the best luck because girls, people in general, are intimidated by my blindness.
That's a shame, and I'm sure that has a lot to do with their age, too. As people get older and gain more experience I'd think that would become less and less of a problem.
Dunno if you've been told before but you're pretty good lookin'.
Haha thank you! It's reassuring to hear that, since I don't know how I look ten years later.
I've always had an odd dream of finding a blind cutie.. I've only ever met one blind person and they were cool as hell! I hope you have a great life :)
Haha thank you!
Do you like to listen to TV Shows or movies? If so, which are your favorites?
Sure do! I love listening to described movies and shows on Netflix. My favorite are:
It's Always Sunny
So, getting that law degree next?
Yup, and fighting crime!
Too bad you can't smell it. I'm an asshole. Too bad you can't smell it.
Edit: Sorry I figured that since he listed It's Always Sunny as one of his favorite shows that it would be funny. Apparently not.
Double Edit: Fuck you guys for making me feel like a jerky jerk face.
Oh no, don't let the hive discourage your awesome joke. You're references the it's always sunny episode where they try to make a movie out of the guy who's giant nose smells crime :). Love that episode. I love the part where D pretends to be a zombie and stands up in the middle of the shoot yelling "Braaaaaiiiiiinnns!"
Have you always liked Daredevil? Just finished DD on Netflix; great series so far.
I thought the movie was good enough, but I didn't really get into him until the show. I'm a little bias that he's the best super hero ever :p.
Daredevil is so good. I've often pondered the cosmic humor in how a blind person can't actually watch a show about a blind comic hero.
Haha, well it's also audio described, so there's that :).
Does family guy still work without the visual jokes? I feel like that's half the show
To an extent. However, I believe something like season 9 and up is now described. I was amazed at how many jokes I mised.
Hey. One of my younger cousins (He just turned 7) is going going blind due to some recessive genetic disorder. Given that you were a simlar age when you lost your sight, is there any advice you would give him? Anything you recommend that he does before he lose his sight. Anything to help with the transition? Anything you regret not having done?
Btw thanks for doing an awesome AMA.
Not exactly advice for him, but for his parents. Be sure to not shelter him. I know so many blind people who have poorly developed both socially and physically because their parents shelter him or her.
Do you wantch porn or use your imagination?
Maybe this is inappropriate, but /r/gonewildaudio, if you didn't already know about it.
Don't you worry, I know about it ;).
We have more in common than I thought. Peace from Brazil, wish you good luck fighting crime! Also, my uncle is blind since birth but he's pretty damn adapted to his house he only uses his hand to see where small stuff are, but the building and the furnitures, he has a map on his mind for that.
Awesome! That's what I do as well.
What do you remember about your dad? Can you tell us anything about him before he did this to you and your family?
Great question! My father had black hair, medium height, very muscular. He loved building, hunting, and pretty much anything outdoors. My mom has a picture of him somewhere, but she doesn't like to bring up pictures or really any memory of him. My mom always says that he loved Ryan and I. From his personality, when I knew him, I can attest to that.
What do you do now?
In a few weeks, I'm flying out to California for an XMO camp. In July, I'll be getting a guide dog. After that, I plan to get a degree in computer science and make a living off of motivational speaking.
I work for a software development firm, and my boss is legally blind. He can still see slightly and uses a huge monitor with the zoom accessibility feature of OSX. I can't imagine what coding would be like through audio only, have you ever tried it before?
Yes, I dabble in a bit of C# and BGT, a programming language for audio games. It's actually not too much more difficult. I have to say the most frustrating part is code blocks.
Do you hold resentment? If not what was your major outside influence to get over it?
To an extent, yes, but not as much as people may think. My family, the ones who weren't insane, were amazing advocates for me. I also had loads of help from my school and pretty much the entire city of Charlotte. Several people hoasted fundraisers to help pay for my medical bills.
Did you wake up when you got shot? Have you realised what just happened?
I woke up in the hospital. All I heard were the beeps of the machines and people walking around. A nurse came over to me and told me I was about to go under for surgery. The next time I woke up, my mother came over and told me everything that happened.
Were you surprised? I mean, obviously its not exactly a normal situation to be in, but did a part of you believe that he was completely capable of doing what he did?
As an eight year old, I was definitely mind boggled.
Hi Ross! So my main question is - how long did it take you to adapt to being blind in terms of walking and learning how to avoid obstacles? I imagine it may have been easier for you since you were young as opposed to, say, being a grown adult learning these things for the first time. Not sure if there's something to that or if I'm way off. Thanks!
Oh no you're completely correct. It seems that blind adults have a much more difficult time adapting. It took me around a year or so.
Did losing two of your senses boost the remaining ones or just 2 for 2 ?
It definitely boosted my sense of touch and hearing.
Can you please go into this more? In what ways do these senses help you in your day to day life? How can you tell they are heightened? Is it possible that you're just more able to focus on them?
I'm definitely able to focus more on them, yes, but I'm able to use my ears in extraordinary ways. Many blind people develop the skill of echolocation. I'm able to hear things from much further distances, as well as able to hear if I'm getting close to an object.
That's pretty cool, though I just imagined you screaming at a wall for some reason.
Hahaha. Have you seen Avatar, the Last Airbender?
What do you wish you had seen in this life before losing your vision? (Example, The Great Barrier Reef) Also to sneak another question in, have you made any inquiries in to those robotic eyes they have had success with in some people that restore vision of some description?
Hmm, probably specific planets or constellations. My mom and brother would always point them out, but I could never see them. I haven't at this point. My optic nerve is severed, and I believe at this point, nerves are unable to be repaired.
Stay hopeful dude. You're still young so anything can happen with the huge advances in medical science.
Yeah that's totally true.
What are your thoughts on gun control vs. gun rights and how do you feel your experience with your father has shaped them?
I feel that guns should have many more regulations, as well as no semiautomatic and automatic guns. My father showed what damage you can do with just a 22 revolver.
Hi Ross! Incredible story. You seem to have come out on top of it all. Do you have contact with your father's family? Ie: or paternal grandparents / aunts / uncles etc. What is their opinion on this incident?
No I don't, unfortunately. They cut off contact with us shortly after the event.
Sorry to hear about your story Ross, but well done for being brave enough to share it. I've got two questions:
Do you know why your Dad just decided to shoot you and Ryan?
Was he mentally unwell or unstable leading up to the incident?
It seems really shocking and confusing why your Dad shot you both and then killed himself. Really sad...
I'll add this in the main post, but he was upset with the upcoming divorce my mom had requested. After the fact, there's evidence that suggests he may have been a narcissist.
Has anyone re-arranged furniture to mess with you?
Oh yes, my best friend's mom does that all thetime. Once I memorize and area, she'll move the sofa an inch and I'll almost break my toe :p.
I know it's dumb but after reading so many perspectives and watching shows like Daredevil, which is actually accessible for the blind, what exactly does being blind feel like and just what's your analogy for it?
Hmm, good question. To be honest, there's no perfect analogy. However, the way we deal with sight and sound are quite similar. For example, people with sight are distracted when the sun is in their eyes. The same is for me when there's a particularly distracting sound.
Do you ever wear earmuffs for stuff like that in the same way we would wear sunglasses?
Only time I've used ear plugs was recently at a huge rock festival. People who didn't use ear buds are going to go deaf. Not wearing ear plugs at a concert is the equivalent to sighted people looking at the sun haha.
Not wearing ear plugs at a concert is the equivalent to sighted people looking at the sun haha.
I'd be willing to bet money that this will be a front page shower thought tomorrow.
Oh shoot, I should submit it before anyone else gets to it, lol.
Has losing your sense of smell affected how food tastes to you? Also, I'm sorry for your loss but would also like to thank you for doing this. Your positive outlook has really inspired me!
Yes, but only slightly. Thank you for taking the time to read :).
Did you have any problems in school? I've been with a deaf girl in the same class and though she had some problems to communicate she didn't have any bad experience during her studies. Were your classmates ready to help you or did they helped you reluctanty? Same question with your teachers.
Yes, I had massive problems in school. I attended a private school. After I went blind, we had to hire a teacher for the visually impaired. Since I wasn't attending a public school, we had to pay for it ourselves. If I had switched to public school, I would have been forced to be bused to a specific one across the city. Eventually, we couldn't afford the costs and I had to transfer to public school. The kids were not helpful because they didn't know how to react and communicate with someone who is blind. Because of this, I had a difficult time making friends. I moved to the Florida school for the Deaf and Blind in seventh grade. In tenth grade, I switched to a private school, where I graduated. I talk about this more in a speech I have on my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hsfxVIRW-A
I feel like there's a huge lack of education regarding dealing with disabilities/disabled people. Thanks for raising awareness !
There is for sure. I mean, I'm sure I don't know of half the challenges people in wheelchairs face.
You have such amazing courage :) Did being shot affect your relationship with your mum a lot? Im assuming she is quite over protective.
Thank you. She actually isn't haha, quite the opposite. I wouldn't be who I am today if she didn't let me explore and learn things for myself. We have a typical mother teenage son relationship, I still love her though <3.
1) Are you the blind guy who plays Mortal Kombat X? 2) Did you do an AMA a while ago?
Yes and yes :).
How do you navigate the internet?
In the main post, I linked to a program I used called NVDA. It reads the text on the screen to me.
oh thanks, I must have missed it.
I actually forgot to add it at first, so probably my fault :).
john madden john madden john madden john madden john madden john madden john madden john madden
I also had a mentally unstable father. He used to physically, verbally and emotionally abused my mother, my brothers and I. My grandparents were the ones who took us away from him, but until now I still harbor strong feelings of hate and anger towards him. Can you give me advice on how to get over such emotions towards my father? I can't seem to make peace with my past, and I feel that it's somehow holding me back...
Shit, I'm sorry and I hope you're doing okay. "Holding onto hate and anger towards someone is like holding onto a hot cole and expecting them to get burned." Buddha. You need to remember that you're in a better place than him now, and success is the best revenge. You don't have to help him get better, you just need to let go. If that makes sense.
Even though you were young, do you remember any "red flags" about your father before the incident?
Personally, no, but I'm sure my mom could listen several.
Congrats on graduating :) What are your plans now, career-wise?
Thank you! I plan to be a motivational speaker and a computer programmer.
Oh and have you heard undisputed attitude? Slayer covers a bunch of Minor threat songs it rules.
No I haven't haha. I picked the name Minor Threat after a joke with my friends. But I'll check them out for sure.
Did you gain a better sense of hearing through your ordeal? Oh, and have you ever taken advantage of any kind of "special treatment" or is that something you dislike generally?
Thanks for opening up for questions, as well, you're a trooper.
Yup. I use to, fast passes for roller coasters and such, but now I don't do it; it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Your welcome and thank you for reading :).
How does one fashion when one is blind? I can see and I still have horrible fashion sense. :(
It's something I struggle with. I constantly have to rely on my mom to pick out clothes for me, it's part of the reason why I like wearing black, because it's easy to match. I keep my hair shortish, so I don't have to style it as much.
Hey Ross, where are you trying to be in 5, 10 and 20 years from now?
Five years: College and gaining momentum as a motivational speaker.
Ten years: A well established motivational speaker and computer programmer.
25 years: Comfortable life as a father and loving wife :).
Hi, thanks for doing this. Is there anything about being blind that people don't normally consider?
Oh for sure. A lot of people often forget that just because we are blind, doesn't make us helpless. People find ways to adapt in different ways, it's the human experience to solve problems to complicated conditions.
Have you noticed a difference in how you enjoy food now that a sense of smell is no longer an option?
I guess now I'm thinking about just living with no smell, does it affect your interaction with people? Your shower habits? Your teeth cleaning rituals? So interesting...
Yes, but only slightly. If you gave me a cherry flavored candy and a strawberry flavored candy, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference. But if you gave me a grape and a green apple, I would, if that makes sense.
Not really. If anything, my lac of smell and sight insure that I take care of myself even more.
You've obviously never seen yourself since you were shot, but I can tell you right now you don't look like you've been shot in the head.
Did your mum ever explain what happened? Ie were they going through a breakup, was he depressed etc?
Haha, cool. He was all around a selfish man and husband towards her.
I just wanted to say that you must be incredibly strong both physically and mentally, but if you wouldn't mind me asking, what's it like being blind and having no sense of smell? Does having no sense of smell severely effect your lifestyle?
Thank you, that's very kind of you. I often notice blind people using their smell, like when someone walks in the room, but overall it hasn't effected my life drastically. It actually took me quite some time to even notice I couldn't smell haha.
What's it like without a sense of smell? Can you still taste things regularly?
My taste is slightly impacted, but not much. So overall it hasn't change my life too drastically.
Hi Ross, thanks for the willingness to put up with our questions. I can't imagine how frustrating relearning tech must have been, but I'm glad you've found a way to stay online :)
(That actually makes me wonder, how does your software handle someone putting a text emote like a smiley face? Anyway back to the initial questions.)
How was your sense of taste affected by the loss of smell?
Also, I know there are experimental surgeries that can restore some sense of sight to those with damaged optical nerves that involve mounting an electrode to the surface of the visual cortex, or even a direct brain implant.
For example, the Orion I is supposed to be undergoing human trials in 2017:
Would you be interested in something along those lines? If it were possible to restore some measure of sight, what type of risks would you be willing to take?
I use to hate technology, but I've learned to love it. My software can read certain ones, like :p, :D, :), etc. I would like to do something like this, but only if it returns all of my vision. It would just stink to have only half of what I once had, call it greedy haha. Plus, I won't be able to have something like this done for quite a while, since my optic nerve is severed.
Firstly that is a horrific past of yours. Like God you're exteremly strong and it's inspring to see you're smiling. I'm really sorry for your loss of brother and kinda wondered why your father went full berserk on you guys? Also how are you able to type while you're blind?
Maybe these ones answered before but I wasn't here to see when the first IamA thread you launched. :D Also you're cool and I liked your enthusiasm.
Haha thank you! I probably should add in the post why my father did what he did. He was upset over a divorce that my mom wanted. I'm able to use my computer by memorizing the keyboard and by using a program called NVDA that I linked to in my post. It reads the text on the screen to me.
I remember reading your last AMA. You said you enjoyed video games and Mortal Kombat. That's awesome.
My main question is what does it feel like for a blind person to be drunk, if you've ever drank before? I could imagine it's a bit different than someone with site, but you will still get the same feelings through your body and central nervous system.
I was just wondering mostly if you can visualize the things you remember seeing as a kid on alcohol more. This would probably be more affected by psychedelics though.
I also remember you said you wanted to become a programmer in the last thread. I wish you the best of luck. There have been some blind coders over the years, as I'm sure you have read on Reddit with your specialized software.
Yeah I love video games, be sure to check out my Youtube page :). I've been drunk many times. I don't think it's that different, I just can't see, you know? I get tipsy, laugh a lot, etc, I just can't see. I'm also still programming :).
Do you remember how it was when you first learned you would never see or smell again?
Yes. My mother came over and told me what happened and how I would never see again. I was honestly stunned, didn't really know how to react. In the end, I just accepted it and made the best of what I had. I go into detail on this topic in a speech I did on my Youtube page.
I heard that sense of hearing improves when you're blind. What's the coolest thing about being blind?
Many things, but probably the enhanced hearing. I'm able to hear people's conversation easily, sense where objects are, etc.
What are your dreams and aspirations for the future? Also, if someone wanted to get out there and help the blind community, what would you recommend?
I'm going to be a motivational speaker and computer programmer.
There are many places. I've linked to a few blind subs. But you can also check out the National Federation of the Blind or audiogames.net. But definitely check out /r/blind, lots of cool people there.
How do you read these?
In the main post, I linked to a program that I use, called NVDA. It reads the text on the screen to me.
How did it feel to go from being able to see to blind? Did you gain any enhanced senses?
Yes, echolocation is a lot easier for me. My hearing and touch have also improved drastically.
What bands do you like?
Also, when listening to music, do you feel like you pick up far more background sounds that the average person wouldn't notice?
I mainly listen to rock, but sometimes I'll listen to Jazz, Dubstep, or Piano. My favorite bands are:
A Day To Remember
Our Last Night
Five Finger Death Punch
Yes, that's why I buy expensive headphones, similar to how sighted people buy 4k monitors.
How the heck are you on Reddit? I assume you have special software for navigating the internet. Could you please sum that up for us?
Yup I sure do :). I've linked to it in the main post :).
Not to politicize this AMA, I'm just genuinely curious about your opinion
What are your thoughts on gun control? Do you actively campaign for either side of the debate?
What do you feel contributed to your father's actions the most? How have you come to rationalize the incident?
Thanks for doing this.
Honestly, I'm just a teen who recently graduated high school. I have an opinion, but I'm certainly not as educated as most people. That being said, I believe people should be allowed to have guns, but not automatic, or even semiautomatic guns. There should also be stricter screenings for guns.
2016 Presidential Election:
Trump, Hilary, or Giant Meteor?
Haha I have no idea at this point. I mean I guess I agree with what Sanders wants to do, but not exactly how he wants to achieve his goals.
Are you from . . . Rockville, MD?
How are you writing this if you're blind?
Read the main post, I have a link to the program I use :).
Do you ever wish you could have your vision back?
Oh yeah, of course.
What was the actual incident like? Was it just like you went to sleep that night and kind of woke up in the hospital? I assume you won't have much or any recollection since you were indeed asleep...
And, what do you think of your dad now from what you remember and what you have been shown/told about him? I apologize if that one is too personal by the way.
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