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October 2011

How Quickly Life can Change Reflections on the Issaquah Shooting.


It was a typical weekend day, maybe an even better than normal Saturday. I woke up early and went for a sublime hour long run on the trails of Tiger Mountain, finishing up as the last tendrils of fog were burned off the hillsides by the warm morning sunshine. I picked my daughter up from her morning swim team workout, and we stopped for a treat at a nearby caf. I dropped my little girl off at home, took a quick shower and then drove back into Issaquah to catch my youngest sons football game. My wife had brought him to the Issaquah High School Stadium early for the team warm-up, and was waiting for me in the stands. I had packed a lunch, brought some files and work, and was looking forward to a sunny afternoon in the stands with my wife, cheering on our son and his team. Driving towards the stadium parking lot I found my way stopped by a row of police cars. A SWAT team in full tactical gear and carrying AR-15s had just arrived and were sprinting towards the school. I struggled to comprehend the events unfolding. A man in a truck yelled at me to leave that there was a shooter at the school. I pulled off on a dead-end gravel road behind the school. Gunshots echoed off the hills and buildings. In panic I ran towards a trail that led to the back of the field and crawled through blackberry bushes to try and get to my family. I reached a chain link fence at the edge of the grounds, and the eerie sight filled me with fear the football field was empty of people, but strewn with helmets, flags, water bottles, all the game equipment had been abandoned as though everyone had suddenly fled. The grandstands were likewise empty of people, but chairs, coats, phones, cups of coffee had all been left behind. Crouching against the fence, gunshots continued to blast through the school grounds. I could not see my wife or son, and did not know if they had had been shot. I worked my way to down to the visitors bleachers and saw a crowd huddled underneath them. My wife called me a few moments later (she had left her cell phone in the car so I had been unable to reach her.) A powerful surge of emotion gratitude, relief and tears washed over me when I found out that she and my son were OK.

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The shooter was subdued shortly afterwards and my wife and son and the rest of our children, who had been praying and following the tragedy from home, had a joyous family reunion back at our home. (If you missed the story on the news; Saturday September 24th, a 51 year old man stopped his car in the middle of a street in downtown Issaquah and unloaded guns and a thousand rounds of ammo. He then proceeded to walk through downtown Issaquah pointing his guns at people, shooting randomly, and terrorizing the whole town. He went to the Issaquah High School Campus and adjacent Clark Elementary School, where there was a football game going on (my sons) as well as a number of other student activities. Close to a hundred police officers responded, including a sniper in a helicopter. The man was cornered on the school grounds and killed in a shootout with the police. Up to a hundred shots or more were fired. Miraculously no one was hurt except the shooter.)

Someone once said, Never waste a good crisis. What are some of the possible life applications from a tragic incident like this? Get your Life Right with your God: My first and visceral reaction, after getting out of my car and hearing the gunshots was to fall on my face and pray for my wife and sons safety. I work very hard and consider it a top priority to care for my familys well being but in that moment I was completely helpless and powerless to do anything for them. If you go through a crisis, you will want to know God so you can call to Him and you just might want to know Him in normal times too. :) (I have some copies of a great book Why I Believe that many of my friends and clients have enjoyed. Call me and Ill be happy to share a copy.) Get Over the Small Stuff: I have to confess to my shame that my wife and I had a small tiff that morning and that I was irritated at her. As I crawled through the blackberry stickers towards the stadium with gunshots ringing all around I thought how stupid I had been and how that could be my last conversation with my lovely bride. A friend described his home years with four teenagers like a PG-13 rated frat house. Our 4 teenagers are very much like that; loud, sometimes abrasive but when the six of us reunited that morning back at our home, there was a very long family hug, tears, and soft tender spirits all around. Our trial that morning gave each of us a better perspective and attitude towards each other. Think Critically, be Alert Dont just Follow the Herd: In a crisis, you need to think clearly and quickly and consider options and what action to take that is best for you, and also for those around you. You also need to consider if what everyone else is doing, or is being told to do, is the best and appropriate action. With all due respect to the police, who acted quickly, heroically, decisively, and suppressed a potentially major tragedy I disagreed with how they handled the players and spectators at the football game. The SWAT member ran onto the field and herded all the players and parents and fans under some bleachers. The bleachers offered no protection as they were open on all sides, and the folks under

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them were sitting ducks. They were also on a concrete pad a stray round could have ricocheted off the cement and right into anyone sitting under there. Next to the bleachers was a short fence, and behind the fence was the short dirt road I had parked on. There were at least a dozen or more heavily armed policeman at the end of that road who had set up a blockade and established a safe zone far from where the shooting was occurring. I think that if I had been under the bleachers with my wife and son, I would have wanted them to climb the fence and move to a safer area and away from the shooting. For whatever reason, the sole police officer who was nearby kept everyone under the bleachers for over 2 hours and did not evacuate them. The same SWAT team member from the stadium showed up the next weekend to cheer on my sons football team and he received a heros welcome from the kids. My wife and I were very grateful for his work and we thought that it was very classy of him to come back and see the kids but I still think, at least for my family, would have made a different decision. A business associate of mine was working in New York in the second tower on 9/11. When they got the news of the attack on the first building, they ignored the building security instructions on the intercom, and my friend told me that he instructed his entire staff to immediately leave and walk to another building several blocks away. If he and his staff had followed the building security instructions they might have all perished. In a crisis situation you might have to think for yourself. Investment Implications You Have Less Security than You Think: At the risk of trivializing a very emotional event for our family - but this is supposed to be an investment newsletter after all lets draw some investment portfolio implications. Regarding our money, despite our best efforts and planning there are no risk free havens to hide in. I found out to my surprise and shock that Saturday that my pretty perfect suburban life was almost ripped to shreds due to a completely unexpected and unplanned for event. In the same way there are many financial risks that abound and that might strike unexpectedly at any time. Some of those very real financial risks and fears include; continuing collapse of the US dollar, the spectacle of a US debt crisis, the failure of hundreds of banks large and small over the last three years, possible high inflation due to wildly excessive money printing, the European debt crisis or perhaps some other unknown and unexpected incident.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. -Helen Keller

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So how do we try and deal with this uncertainty? Diversify broadly and well, watch your portfolios stock allocation and rebalance as appropriate, continually plan for future income withdrawals by keeping sufficient cash and short-term assets to fund that income, and include some assets in your portfolio like precious metals and tangibles that might help protect us from monetary risks. And, just like our family determined to do after our teary-eyed group hug try to not sweat the small stuff. We are grateful that we can serve you, and remain committed to your well being. Please give someone you love an extra hug today! Warm regards,

William R. Gevers Financial Advisor

PS: We have been repeatedly asked by clients if they could share these e-mail notes with their friends or neighbors. Please feel free to forward this with the stipulation that it may only be forwarded if done so in its entirety with no portions omitted. We would be delighted to share our comments and opinions with your friends, and welcome your comments and feedback. If you received this and would like to be included on our newsletter list, please email us at wgevers@geverswealth.com

Copyright 2011 William R. Gevers. All rights reserved.

Gevers Wealth Management, LLC I-90 LakePlace Center 1605 NW Sammamish Road, Suite 250 Issaquah, WA 98027 Office: 425.657.2238 Fax: 425.657.2138 E-mail: wgevers@geverswealth.com

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The views are those of William Gevers, Gevers Wealth Management, LLC, and should not be construed as individual investment advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, no representation is made as to its completeness or accuracy. All economic and performance information is historical and not indicative of future results. Investors can not invest directly in an index. Please consult your financial advisor for more information.

Securities and advisory services offered through Financial Network Investment Corporation, Member SIPC. Gevers Wealth Management and Financial Network are not affiliated.