carbon_monoxide2_0Even the most innocent of things can punch your ticket, as this Canadian country singer and his Australian girlfriend could tell you, if only they could tell you.

On Sunday, June 7, Derek [Kehler] and Helena [Curic] were camping in Sydney’s Blue Mountains. Being wintertime in Australia, a cooking pot of hot coals kept by the bonfire was brought inside their makeshift cabin to stay warm. That night, they died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Helena was 31. Derek was 32.

via The End: Remembering Derek Ryan Kehler, 1982-2015.

This happened in Australia, where guns — interesting guns, anyway, like semi-auto rifles — are already outlawed. The promised eternal life for Australians (or anybody else) has yet to appear in the wake of gun control, and suggests as a matter of metaphysics that you may wish to place your faith in one of the world’s more traditionally established religions instead.

Carbon monoxide is interesting stuff. It is one of the most common combustion products and is created by anything that burns. The things that make an oxygen (O2) molecule look attractive to a red corpuscle make a CO molecule even more attractive, and the carbon monoxide displaces the oxygen in one’s bloodstream rapidly. Then, when the corpuscle arrives at a capillary where cells are desperate for oxygen, it has none to give them, just this cuckoo’s egg of a molecule that the cells can’t take and use. The oxygen atoms in CO might as well be in another galaxy for all the good they do the human organism. Absent oxygen, the cells die. One cell at a time, the organism cascades into death — very rapidly. It’s supposed to be a quiet and peaceful way to go, but no one has yet come back to tell us for sure, and so you probably don’t want to roll those particular dice.

It’s summertime up here in the Northern Hemisphere, and we’ve also had carbon monoxide camper deaths in New England and in Colorado this month as people made some bad decisions about how best to get warm after previous bad decisions about how to equip themselves (actually, in the Maine accident, some subgenius put a generator indoors to run a refrigerator. They died, but they had cold beer for the recovery team). Since education has segued into indoctrination in the Western world, we have an amazing number of people who can list all the luminaries of the history of this or that minority group, or who know some other of our equivalents of the Marxist-Leninist doctrine claptrap Soviet schoolboys used to suffer through. But these keenly aware social justicians, as we’ve seen, don’t understand that a two thousand pound wild animal is not a big shaggy dog. And they don’t know how temperatures drop at night in the mountains. They often, then, thin their blood with alcohol, and, shivering in their tents, with a number of complaining kids, they make some unwise choices.

No one, in their formal or informal education, has ever told them that Death attends bad choices. A summer working on a ranch, or a tuna longliner, in a machine shop, or even on an airport ramp around the spinning propellers would teach that, but most people raise their kids to be (in Apple’s 1980s gag-me phrase) “knowledge workers in a post-industrial economy” — soft, delicate flowers, liable to be shredded by the first gust of real-world wind.

The human organism is a weak and fragile one, prone to various malfunctions and easily disrupted by mischief from without.

And in the end, the scythe harvests us all.

This entry was posted in When Guns Are Outlawed… on by Hognose.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

7 thoughts on “When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Hot Coals


Several years ago in our community a well-respected college professor “woke up dead” on a camping trip of no apparent reason, other than his air mattress was flat. Medical examiner found the cause to be CO poisoning. After some head scratching the sheriff found a hose with a home-made adapter that had likely been used to fill the air mattress using the tailpipe of the deceased’s vehicle. Too bad the mattress leaked that night and filled the tent with CO.


I read this website almost every day, when I can, and I live a good, exposed, and occasionally dangerous life in the real world. So I’ve seen my share of idiots, and read about them too, but I never cease to be amazed at just how absolutely, catastrophically stupid people can get. My dad had an African Grey parrot that could tell these fools a thing or two about staying alive.

As a side note, this was, in my humble, blog-less opinion, one of the better written articles I’ve read on here in a while.


I was going to comment on the bison article that we’re (general “we”) stupid because we don’t have much firsthand experience with carnage (present company excepted). Folks are so used to everything being safe that they don’t really learn to think or pay attention. Even folks that should be smarter. You put it much more eloquently here.


Carbon Monoxide is one of my pet worries. An invisible substance that will first make you too stupid to recognize the fact that it’s killing you right before it kills you scares the crap out of me.

I have an indoor rated propane heater for when it gets REALLY cold and when I bought that I bought two monoxide alarms to go with it.


The previous regime here once used CO for their final solution to the problem of disloyal citizens, religious minorities, and welfare burdens. Either bottled or straight from the exhaust pipe…proving that if there’s anyone that we should be wary of trusting with access to lethal means, it’s the government. I believe the only WGAO mechanism for achieving room temperature that hasn’t been covered yet, is starvation, yet it’s proven to be one of the most effective in bulk problem solving.


the brazier method of suicide by deliberate co poisoning, usually elderly couples who spent their adult life together with one of them very ill, frail or demented.


On the one hand, I know that CO can be a killer. On the other hand, I might not have realized that bringing hot coals into a tent at night (or filling up an air mattress with exhaust fumes, etc) could be a life-ender… so just one more reason to keep coming back to weaponsman and keep reading!