A Mess of Accidents, Black Friday Edition

ND-shot-in-footItem 21 Nov 14: Two-year-old Trigger Man?

In Marion, Kansas a precocious child combined with a badly-stored handgun to give everybody a good scare.

According to Marion County Sheriff Rob Craft, the parents of the boy alerted authorities about the incident around 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21.

“We were advised they were transporting their 2-year-old son to St. Luke Hospital in Marion,” Craft said.

“When officers arrived (at the hospital), they found that the two-year-old had a single 22 caliber gunshot wound to the upper inside arm and rib area.”

The investigation, he said, revealed that the child gained access to the handgun being stored in a gun-safe.

While the door was open, and a parent was accessing some of the safe’s contents, he said, the child grabbed the barrel of the pistol hanging on a hook inside the safe door.

“While pulling on the barrel of the pistol, it discharged and the bullet struck the child in the upper inner arm, then the rib area,” Craft said.

So. The pistol either had no safety (sorry, Glock fans, a “trigger safety” is no safety) or the safety was not on, and it was loaded, and it was hung from a hook by the trigger. There’s at least three inflection points where better decisions could have prevented the little guy from shooting himself.

After striking the rib, the bullet fragmented with only a small portion of the fragment entering the child’s chest causing minor internal injury.

Fortunately, the kid is going to be okay, the sheriff is not going to charge anybody in what was an accident. This is a good call. Like most accidents, it was preventable and there are lessons learned; like most accidents, nothing would be gained by persecuting people who have already had a lesson they will never forget.

Item 25 Nov 14, FL: “Give me the lighter or the dog gets it!

Emery MugshotDennis Eugene Emery, 57, issued that threat to his wife Francisca, pointing a revolver at one of the couple’s pets. He was angry because he couldn’t find a cigarette lighter, which from the looks of him was not going to be used for cigarettes.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, he cocked the gun when he pointed it at the animal. It was when he went to lower the hammer that instead, he lowered the boom — on his crank-bugged face.

What Emery was doing with a gun was an open question, as he was a career criminal of remarkable versatility. The Times reports:

Emery has had 34 contacts with Pinellas Park police since 2012, the department said. He recently was arrested three times in six days: Oct. 12 for domestic battery; Oct. 15 on charges of aggravated assault and resisting arrest; and Oct. 17 on a charge of leaving the scene of a crash. Those cases were pending at the time of his death.

State records show Emery was convicted of drunken driving in 1977; carrying a concealed weapon in 1978; and disorderly conduct and public intoxication in 1983. He was charged with domestic violence in 2013, but the case was dropped, according to records.

Well, that’s only the beginning. The paper also has these recent stories about Emery, who won’t be down for breakfast:

Just in case you were worried the local rozzers will have nothing to do, now that Emery is no longer cluttering up the court dockets.

The dog is okay.

ITEM: 22 Nov 14, NJ: If it Can Take Game it Can Take You

A goose hunt turned tragic for a father-son hunting team, after the son apparently shot himself while setting decoys.

On Saturday, it was initially reported that the man may have been shot by his own father, a man in his 70s , but the investigation revealed that the victim died of a single gunshot wound to the head and neck from his own firearm.

According to West Windsor Police, the man and his father were hunting Canada Geese when the accident occurred. The incident occurred around 4:16 p.m. in a patch of woods where the men had Canada geese decoys spread out in front of a blind at the Tindall Farm property at 1201 Old Trenton Road.

Police said that the pair were properly licensed and were the only people in the hunting party. The man’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, though they have released information that he was a Chesterfield resident.

“Although incredibly tragic,” Lt. Matthew Kemp said in a release. “It is believed that the incident was solely an accident and condolences go out to the family and friends of the victim.“

No gun is safe, no matter how familiar, no matter how innocent and pleasant your shooting sport may be. It’s a gun, and that means you must never give it an opportunity to take your life. Or it will.

ITEM: 9 Nov 14, MN: Only one Hunter per Deer Tag, Please

In Minnesota, opening day of the deer season wound up with two hunters tagged (but not cleaned and dressed, we think), one by himself and one by persons unknown.

A 69-year-old man was found dead from a gunshot wound in Carlton County Sunday morning, according to the Northland News Center. The hunter was pronounced dead at a deer stand northwest of Moose Lake, near the Kettle River, the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office said.
Sheriff’s officials added that foul play is not suspected in the man’s death, although they’re still investigating the circumstances, according to the News Center. The man’s name has not yet been released.
The second man died on opening day, Saturday, in Mahnomen County in northwestern Minnesota. Authorities say Paul Scholl, 50, of Laporte, was shot while coming out of his hunting area about 16 miles southeast of Mahnomen, the Associated Press reports. The shooting was reported about 5:30 p.m.

The article points out that last year’s bag was only one hunter for the whole season for all game, although 17 more were injured, but most of them weren’t shot; they fell from their tree stands. There’s a rather staggering statistic from the State DNR:

he DNR says one of every three hunters who use a tree stand will fall out of it and be seriously injured. Doctors and nurses at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester prepare every year to respond to such accidents, KAAL TV reports.
The Mayo’s Dr. Donald Jenkins tells the station that the clinic treats at least three or four hunters every year who fall.

You might want to secure yourself to the stand, Elmer.

ITEM 20 June 14, FL: Shoot Straight is Good Advice, not just a Proper Name

This is the accident mentioned in the second bullet point of the 25 November 14.

A man suffered minor injuries at the Shoot Straight gun range in Pinellas Park Friday afternoon.

Pinellas Park police said they believe a round discharged in the chamber of a rifle and fragments struck the man in the hand and face. The man said he pushed the bolt forward, heard a bang and felt pain in his hand.

Wonder what he “pushed the bolt forward” with, and against what resistance? It does sound like an out of battery ignition, but you never know with news reports.

If you wonder why ranges where they don’t know you treat you like you’re going to shoot one of their range officers, or yourself, stories like this are one of the reasons why.

If the ranges where they do know you still treat you that way, maybe your problem isn’t stories like this after all.

In Conclusion…

That’s enough of these for now. Any more of them would be depressing; never forget to take care out there, and never forget than the people in these stories were just like you. They might even have been just as safety conscious, except for that one time. And that was all it took.

 

25 thoughts on “A Mess of Accidents, Black Friday Edition

  1. Bill K

    Regarding tree stands, we had such a case in northern Iowa wherein a hunter fell from the stand and broke his back by landing supine over a barbed wire fence below. When he came to the ER he was for all intents & purposes paraplegic, with just a touch of sensation in his right toes, no motor ability, bowel or bladder control.

    My hat was off to the paramedics who transported his fractured spine by on-site stabilization on a backboard and delivery to the ER without any further relative motion. We sent him on to a neurosurgeon at a larger trauma center, and he completely regained lower cord function – just bruised, not transected. So after his back healed, all he had was a bit of lumbar stiffness as a memento. Guardian angels were busy that day.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I’ve seen stuff recently that says stabilization in the field is a myth, and patients do equally well backboarded or not. It seems counterintuitive, but the trend in EMS seems to be away from so much attention to maintaining rigid relationship of spine-connected structures and towards rapidity of transport.

      Here’s one of many peer-reviewed articles on it:
      http://www.jems.com/article/patient-care/research-suggests-time-change-prehospita

      The change they recommend is quite subtle, though, and still recommends spinal motion restriction for pts showing signs of spinal cord trauma.
      It was also entertaining for the authors’ use of the old parachutist gag line: “It isn’t the fall that causes injury; it’s the sudden stop at the end.” Also known in the jumping world as “deceleration sickness.” “What happened to Ted?” “He never pulled. Bad case of deceleration sickness on the runway.”

      I thought this line was interesting:
      “Standard spinal immobilization techniques can also take away the patient’s ability to effectively protect their own airway thus significantly increasing the risk of aspiration.”

      Just goes to show that in medicine, whether OR or pre-hospital, anything you do can kill the pt, including doing nothing.

      1. Bill K

        That’s true, and the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

        But as for airway protection, whatever happened to direct observation and logrolling? Haven’t the providers got brains anymore?

        Here’s hoping Aesop doesn’t take offense, but the big difference I’ve noticed between MDs in general and RNs in general (there are lots of exceptions!) is that MDs tend to regard rules as guidelines to be broken when the case suggests, whereas RNs tend to regard rules as handed down by God, or government, which seems to be the same things these days in many folks’ minds.

        I would be more than ashamed of myself if I didn’t appreciate and anticipate the risk of aspiration when a patient is supine and incapacitated. I think I told the story before of a group of young adult hunters who split into 2 teams deer hunting and blasted away at each other when the deer ran between them, sending a slug through one teen’s internal jugular vein and laryngopharynx. The poor sod was thrown supine into a pickup without attendance while his buddies frantically drove to the ER. And he drowned in his own blood and was brain-dead by the time we got him. At least his other organs survived.

      2. Bill K

        Oh, and yes, regarding the article, I would agree that immobilization is overused. I’ve had EMTs slap a C-collar on anyone that got in an accident, regardless of the fact that they were fully conscious and had NO pain anywhere near the spine.

        One of the more amusing incidents was when I personally was driving into Iowa City as a surgical resident and my right front wheel broke off, going around a curve at 45 mph. The Capri dug its right front fender into the ditch and did a 360 degree roll, landing on its wheels, then a 180 crunching the roof flat with the top of the car seats, then another 180 coming to rest on its wheels again in the ditch. I track-starred it out the front window which was blown out by the roof hit, and ran to get away from hissing in the engine compartment, not wanting to be a Post Toasty myself. And then I walked back to see what the hissing was about, 5 minutes later, to discover that it was a torn radiator hose, and not the gas line I had feared. Another 5 minutes and the ambulance came screaming up and the University Hospital EMTs insisted on forcing me to lay down, clamping a C-collar on me even though I had only the merest abrasion on my right ankle from the gas pedal.

        There I was, fully alert, no pain, a surgical resident who had already rotated through the ER, saying I’m fine, but no, they wouldn’t leave me be. I had to do things THEIR way…

        1. Hognose Post author

          You can refuse treatment by EMTs. Some won’t let you. I’ve done it once, successfully, and really pissed off the bolance crew; and failed once, got transported anyway, and then pissed off the ER crowd by walking out. (Never understood that. What the hell, they all bitch they have too many patients, decrement the stack by one, I’m outa here).

          I persisted in the teenage illusion of immortality way too long.

          The second time the crew was probably right as I had been concussed in an MVA with a pretty good forehead strike on the winshield. (Lap belt tried to hold but inertia reel on the shoulder belt chose that moment to let go). I kept asking what had happened and really pissed Herself off.

  2. TRX

    Two years old… that suggests the safe and/or gun were stored at knee level.

    Safe left open, apparently. Or at least unlocked. One of those cashbox-sized bedside “safes”?

    I dunno… while the fail level is obviously high, I’d want to see contact burns and/or powder speckling before I’d accept that story. At least they didn’t claim the gun went off all by itself while they were cleaning it…

    1. Hognose Post author

      A 2-year-old can be a prodigious climber and explorer.

      I have noticed that whether people are charged after a gun mishap seems to depend more upon the jurisdiction than the facts of the case. My personal feeling is that parents who have killed a child through error need no further punishment, whether it’s a firearm, a hot-car disaster, or some other tragic example of parental error. Some prosecutors seem to get their jollies pursuing these cases, especially when they have what Tom Wolfe (in The Bonfire of the Vanities) called The Great White Defendant.

      I recall many years ago was a Boston prosecutor who wanted to jail a mom when one of her kids knocked out a screen in one of those high-rise “public housing” projects and fell to death. The mom turned her back on the kid for just moments, and the screen was not secured because, of course, the building was one of the Housing Authority’s slums. Public as an adjective meaning “substandard” again, as always.

      1. Miles

        By demonstrated performance (monkey see, monkey do) a 3 year old boy can load a Colt Single Action Army 45; much to the surprise of the child’s father.

        Don’t ask me how I know this.

  3. Mike in Canada

    Gun safety is one of those things, isn’t it? You get one chance to screw it up, and then it;s over. Either you have a deceased someone you’d rather were otherwise, or you’re being prosecuted for something stupid.

    Most of the people I know that hunt are not interested in the guns they use. They know little about the rifle or its workings or the finer points of maintenance. They are only interested in bagging whatever it is. It is a real testament to the engineering of guns that when the explosion goes off next to your head, the only thing you feel (usually) is recoil….. except, as you say, for that one time.

    I see that as a liability. You should understand what you are doing from every aspect, not just the ones that result in filling your tag. This is dangerous and potentially lethal, and should never, ever, be taken as read. When I see ‘accidental discharge’, the word ‘disingenuous’ comes to mind, since there are no accidents with guns, only misapprehensions.

    You guys do good work. Thank you for your efforts.

    1. Hognose Post author

      No gun is safe. Those are two conceptual sets that have no intersection. That said, it is possible to influence human use of a product through design of that product’s human interface.

      The Glock interface, for example, resulted from conscious decisions about the intended use and level of training of the intended users. Its employment by users with different levels of training has hit some turbulence, sometimes.

      The Russians faced this squarely with the design of their service pistol in the 1920s and 1930s. Apart from a half-cock notch, the adopted pistol, the TT-30 and TT-33, have no mechanical safety. Imagine a Russian accent: “Is not safe. Is gun.”

      One of the safest pistols in history is the double-action revolver that was the standard police revolver for about ninety years (~1890s-1980s). It is hard to shoot unintentionally. But people still managed to shoot themselves. Imagine an Irish Officer O’Malley accent: “‘T’isn’t safe, lad. ‘Tis a gun.”

      The basic safety rules are simple, effective and redundant. But if we wanted to we could probably write the Gun Accident Blog with posts like this every jeezly day. And we’re reminded of a saying from our air safety buds: “There are no new accidents, just new people having the same old accidents.” And just as most aircraft accidents involve humans doing things they should have known better about, most gun accidents… same thing.

      PS — thanks for reading, commenting, and thanks also for the kind words.

  4. Bill T

    When I was 4 or 5 my dad took me out shooting on my grandfather’s farm. We were a mile or so away from anyone else. I will never forget the expression on his face ot the tone of voice when he introduced me to his double barreled Parker Brothers 16 GA. He carefully unloaded it, handed it to me and said, This is a lethal (deadly) firearm. It will kill what or who it is point at. It’s only purpose is to kill who or what it is pointed at.
    You saw me take the shells out of this gun but to you it is always-always fully loaded. He had some light-loaded #8 bird shot and he let me fire it. It kicked the bejesus out of me but I was thrilled at the right of passage. By the time I was 11 I was regularly hunting squirrels and quail by myself. (safely I might add).
    This is sadly not the norm these days.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I think it’s closer to the norm than you think. My own father did not care for guns. He owned a .22 when he was young and shot a squirrel, and it really bothered him watching the animal die. He gave the gun to one of my cousins. But I got pretty similar training from an uncle. I had two uncles who were deep in the gun culture.

  5. Stefan van der Borght

    “While the door was open, and a parent was accessing some of the safe’s contents, he said, the child grabbed the barrel of the pistol hanging on a hook inside the safe door.”

    As I understand it, it was a .22 pistol, hanging on a hook by the trigger guard, loaded. It’s meant to be an anti-duress gun.

    How about:
    1. a mounted holster with retention device instead of the trigger/hook dangle.
    2. a decent self defence calibre instead of the plinker.
    3. other security measures to prevent duress in the first place.

    p.s. Dr Bill, if that was the Aussie designed (some even built & shipped, the rest built under license in the US) Ford Capri that occasioned the motherly ministrations by the medics, sorry about that, they were known as lemons (the Capris, not the medics).

    1. Hognose Post author

      There was a German Ford Capri that was quite a nice and attractive car in the 70s. They did not hold up well over the long term, either in Europe or here in the US. It lacked a good powerplant option to break out in the US market; I drove one with an aftermarket smallblock V8 in it and it was too noseheavy, and understeered badly until it suddenly oversteered even more badly. It was probably a lot better balanced with the factory motors. Dunno if they built those in OZistan.

      I wasn’t aware the OZanian one was such a lemon, but damn, it was ugly, and made a cheesy sound. I suspect the designer was indulging another fine Australian product, beer, to excess at that time.

    2. Bill K

      Honestly I have no idea who made it. But as Hognose has previously pointed out, it’s a good idea to train the way you fight, right? So if you plan on doing barrel rolls without wings, it turns out that good practice is a ski vacation, from which I returned the week prior. When you’re on an expert slope and know you’ve lost control, you tuck and roll to keep limbs from snapping or cruciates from popping. So when I saw the horizon out my window look like the Battle of Britain, my recently trained reaction was to get my head down and roll my body sideways into the passenger seat. Otherwise, I would have lost a bit off my height, not to mention spinal cord function when that roof decided to kiss the top of my driver’s seat.

  6. Stefan van der Borght

    The hot Euro Ford Capri was the one in “The Professionals”…a favourite show in my youth:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/07/1977-1986_Ford_Capri_S_coupe_%282010-12-28%29.jpg

    The lemon we Aussies shipped to the US was this thing:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/79/1989-1992_Ford_Capri_%28SA%29_convertible_01.jpg

    Plagiarised from the same Wiki page as the pics:
    “The 1989–94 Capri was assessed in the Used Car Safety Ratings 2006 as providing “worse than average” protection for its occupants in the event of a crash. It was also highly criticised as commonly having leaking roof problems, even after multiple replacements from Ford dealerships. This was eventually resolved by a new roof sealing system, and 100% testing in the factory.”

    Someone was looking out for Dr Bill that day…by “training” him in what to do when his Crapi decided to convert to tricycle mode. And now, for eye-bleach and to restore Ford’s good name, a vid of a car from when things were different. Don’t burn your legs on the sidepipes, btw….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBrMRIb0PWk

    1. Bill K

      Yessir, indeed! The only problem with that Shelby would be me driving it. I once had a ’58 Mercedes 190SL, courtesy of my grandpa who bought it Germany, had it shipped over, and drove it until he got too old. Now imagine how 18 y/o me would use such a beauty. It would do 90mph no sweat in 3rd gear. Anyone want to guess what 4th would do?

      Stefan, get thee behind me!

      1. Hognose Post author

        When I was a kid, my opthalmologist, Dr Joseph D’Amico, drove a white 190SL for many years. On good weather days.

        Those cars had beautiful lines and details. There are specific proportions, whether in buildings, automobiles, aircraft or women, that guarantee aesthetic appeal. This was known to the ancients. (Well, not the automobiles and aircraft). Come to think of it, the same is true of firearms. The success of Sturm, Ruger was partly secured by the quality and price point, but largely the aesthetics, of the Mark I pistol. The Mark I cribbed its lines from the classic Luger.

        Lesson learned: if you’re not a genius, imitate one.

    2. Hognose Post author

      There were two generations of the Euro Capri. Both were raced (in what’s now a major sedan championship, but was then very small) as well as rallied (World Cup which was and is big) in Europe. I see you have a fine photo of an RHD Australian example of the hi-po RS. I think Australia is the only nation in the world that doesn’t let even single examples of rare cars be registered without the driver’s position being on the right (as in “proper” which is also right as in “hand” in OZ) side. In Japan, a guy buys a Ferrari 250 GTO, he can drive it if his insurance man gets piles of money. In Britain, same. In OZ, the authorities expect him to have the interior of the car inverted before he can take his place among the road trains and utes on the public streets.

      As far as the 90s Capri goes, I don’t get Australian aesthetics. I mean, you guys have some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, of both the terrain and the female-of-the-species variety. Made some truly classic movies. Never missing when the civilized world needs tough soldiers. But damn, someone signed off on that car, and there just isn’t enough beer if I hit every bar from Perth to Tasmania, to make me want to go home with that misshapen thing.

      No wonder the whole continent collapses into anarchy, as foretold by that prophet, Mad Max.

      In the US the Capri badge has been attached to a Mustang clone under the now-defunct Mercury brand, too, in the 1980s. In the 1960s, the Mercury clone of the Mustang was called the Cougar, had its own unique styling, and was even taken Trans-Am racing with, IIRC, Dan Gurney driving. But the Cougar bloated up to luxo-barge status and in the 1980s was a badge-engineered Thunderbird.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I don’t think we’ve ever had a real four-door race car in this country. In the golden age of muscle cars, every maker made every car line, pretty much, in 2-door and 4-door sedan and hardtop (HTs having no post), 2-door convertible and 4-door station wagon. And every line had a car-based pickup truck (what you guys would call a Ute). Nowadays there’s much less variety in individual lines, and even fewer choices for options and colors. You get red, white, black, silver, maybe blue, and Option Package A or Option Package B. The Japanese started that; in 1959 it was theoretically possible for now two Chevy full-size cars to have been identical, the option list was that long. By 1989 you could only get leather seats in the Corvette if you wanted the FX-3 adjustable suspension and standard shift. (Why someone buys a corvette with an automatic never ceases to amaze me, actually).

      Long digression, this.

      Little known fact, in the 1960s you could, if you were willing to special order a car (and give up the discount you’d get from a standard one on the lot), specify not just any color for that model, but any color the company used on any vehicle. I’ve seen Mustangs with Thunderbird and Lincoln paint codes and Corvettes with Cadillac codes from the 1960s.

      The Grabber colors on the 1969/70 Mustangs came about when somebody special ordered a car painted with farm-equipment paint, and the marketing guys thought it was brilliant. (That the paint was cheaper than a lot of the normal line colors was a bonus).

  7. Stefan van der Borght

    It was politics that put the kybosh on our lovely cars. There was supposed to be a phase IV version of the Falcon, but the media lapdogs ran a fear campaign, and that was it. Same for the antidote to the Phase III V8 monster, a straight 6 giant killer called Torana. That was supposed to get a 5L V8, which would have made it almost as potent as the Skyline (Godzilla), which also became verboten in racing because unfair. Speaking of nice paintjobs, here is the Torana in its glory:

    Link follows, and hopefully the pic via the embed method:

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4d/Holden_LJ_Torana_GTR_XU-1.JPG

    1. Hognose Post author

      Reminiscent of the Opels of that period, Kadett/Manta, which were attractive cars but not powerful. Your comment sent me on a long exploration of pre-72 OZ musclecars and of the 1972 media panic. Starting about the same time, the seventies were crap years for cars in the USA, driven by government regulation (especially in the weak Ford and benighted Carter administrations) and insurance company cronyism with government.

  8. Stefan van der Borght

    Well, at least it got us into Japanese cars, such as the Skyline, and the Mazda rotaries…no ambivalence about the rotisseries, they are either hated or loved, passionately. The Cosmo’s triple rotor 20B with forced air had/has potential….big block V8 power, very high revving, light weight. Not so cool is rebuilding it every few months if it’s tuned high. Ah well, a good thing my dreams have migrated to boats.

Comments are closed.