Saturday 22 February 2014

Bad guys and their guns

I think we've all seen the movies where the good guys have a shootout with the bad guys.  What inevitably happens is that bad guys shoot and shoot and shoot but can't hit the broad side of a barn let alone one of the good guys (unless it's a Red Shirt from Star Trek...those guys seem like they are bred to get shot and die).  The good guys, on the the other hand, can somehow evade thousands of bullets while shooting two guns at once, all while spinning, leaping, twirling, diving, and flipping, hitting every bad guy in their path and killing them instantly.


The funny thing about these scenes is not just how preposterous they are (you do NOT die instantly when you are shot in the chest!), but how there is a smidgen (yes, a smidgen) of reality hiding out there.  

"Reality?  In movies?  Ha!"

No, I'm serious.  The skosh of truth about gun battles is that the good guys often don't miss, due to their extensive training with shooting these dangerous and potentially deadly things.  Bad guys?  Not so much. 

There comes a time in most people's lives when that little voice inside our heads looks at what we're doing and says "Wait, what the fuck am I doing?  This is really stupid!  I could hurt myself!"  I say "most" because some folks just don't seem to have that little voice telling them to stop and think.  You know, that little voice that annoyingly (but correctly) stops you from sticking your hand in the sink garbage disposal while its spinning, or stops you from calling your abusive ex-boyfriend just to say hi, or stops you from jumping off the roof into the swimming pool.

In Peter's case, I think it's safe to say that his little voice took the day off.

It was a beautiful sunny day when Pete (not his real name) and his buddy decided it would be a perfect day to steal a car.  Their ride of choice?  A sports car, right?  No.  Well perhaps a luxury sedan then?  Nope.  Um, a mid-size hybrid?  No sir.  They chose a minivan for their joyride, though I'm not sure how much joy there is in driving a minivan.  Anyway, in the midst of their joylessride, these supervillains figured that since they had a getaway car already, it would be the perfect opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream - robbing a bookstore.

"Haha, you mean a bank, right Doc?  Right?  Doc?  Hello?"

No.  A bookstore.  A small one that doesn't have a café attached.  You know, those places that is putting out of business.

After driving home and picking up their illegal handgun, the Band Of Evil Geniuses drove to the bookstore and successfully robbed it, escaping with approximately enough cash to buy an economy pack of toothpaste.  

Thanks to the magic of surveillance cameras and silent alarms (I guess our criminal masterminds didn't case the joint and think of that little detail prior to completing their grand scheme), the police caught up with them less than 10 minutes later.  After a brief chase in their high-powered minivan, they crashed into a pole, ditched the car, and ran.  As they were running, Peter turned and fired his weapon multiple times at the police. 

Bad move, Pete. 

The police fired back, and one of their bullets found their mark - the back of Pete's leg.  He fell, bleeding profusely. 

By the time he got to me about 20 minutes later, he had nearly bled to death from the wound on his left leg.  The tourniquet placed by the police wasn't working well, so we put direct pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding temporarily.  As we were doing our comprehensive exam, I found something most curious - a second gunshot wound on the front of his right hip.  Now I was never that good at physics, but it seemed to me impossible to get shot in the front of the hip from behind.

X-rays confirmed a shattered left femur just above the knee where the police shot him, and a shattered right pelvis with bullet fragments all over the place.

For the next several minutes I stared at his right hip wound, trying to figure out how the police had shot him in the front from behind.  Just as I was about to surrender, Peter divulged this little nugget: 

"Hey Doc, I think I did that one."

I'm very rarely speechless, but I guess Pete recognised the clueless look on my face. 

"Yeah, when I was pulling my gun out of my pants, it went off."

That's right, in his attempt to extract his gun from his pants and shoot at the police, Pete had shot himself in the hip.  Shockingly, none of the police officers were hit by our marksman.

Peter spent about a month under armed guard in hospital before he was mobile enough to go to jail.  

I wouldn't dream of challenging Garry Kasparov to a game of chess.  I would never challenge Rafael Nadal to a tennis match.  And I wouldn't think to challenge a police officer to a shootout.  But then again, unlike Peter (and many of my other patients), I have an IQ higher than a radish.


  1. Sounds to me like he didn't put the safety on...

    Honestly, this story kinda has the feel of teenage rebels trying to commit a crime to be cool. Stealing a minivan? Robbing a bookstore? Sheesh. Good thing nobody died.

  2. Too bad Peter wasn't holstering his gun under his head band. This story wouldn't of had to be told, and all the tiny bookstores in his area would once again be safe. But then again, what's the fun in NOT making fun of stupid people. LMAO!

  3. Where I live, our "gangsters" used to carry knives and did honorable battle with fists and knives. Now they've graduated to handguns, and because these guns are usually "hot," our local Hispanic gang-bangers don't do target practice, except upon each other. They are fond of drive-bys and of wearing dark clothing with hoodies and sneaking up on their prey and shooting them in the back.

    The nearest sort-of trauma center is 40 miles to the north. Most gangsters with bullets (who have a pulse when EMS gets to 'em) are air ambulanced to the real trauma centers, a minimum of 90 miles to the north. Even gangsters who have been merely grazed by bullets go by air. If one happens to present at the local ER, local cops come and close down the hospital because of expected gang retaliation.

    Peter and his gang would have stolen a Honda Accord, the thug's choice of stolen vehicle. They don't like having to abandon their Impala low-riders.

  4. if I were to (very hypothetically) rob anywhere, it would definitely be a bookstore. but not a quaint little independent bookstore. in fact, I would steal the books for myself, and steal the money to GIVE to the quaint little independent bookstores. and the only sense I can see in stealing a mini-van is that a soccer mom and her 2.3 children are less likely to shoot/stab/beat the thieves making off with the van than the owner of a hot rod might be, if the theft was interrupted. after all, they didn't have their gun at that point. they probably thought they were being all logical and whatnot.

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  6. Doc Bastard reminds us just how stupid half (maybe more) of the human race is! SNAP! There's a TV show somewhere in these stories from the trauma bay.

  7. I'd willingly play Kasparov at chess or Nadal at tennis. They'd massacre me but it would be great to see a master at work.

    However, the key difference is that they massacre me only figuratively. Anything where losing means you get massacred in a literal sense? For those I'll pick my fights a little more carefully! Shootouts with cops? Sportscar jump challenge? Knockout chainsaw juggling? Nope. I'll pass on those. Thanks all the same.

    I think that the issue is objectivity here: Everyone thinks that they are the good guys. The cops in the movies are only on the side of the virtuous now and again. They are equally likely to be the bad guys and when they are, they still can't shoot straight. But thinking you are the good guy doesn't make you a crack-shot. It would be the hundreds of hours of training and practice that does that. Just like anything.


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