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Newman | The Positive Paramedic Project #70 Men with guns

A nugget of Big Medicine every day. #70 Men with guns

Men with guns are seldom rational.

I knew something was wrong the moment he came into the store. It was just a few days before Christmas and while it was cold outside on the streets it wasn’t cold enough to justify wearing a full face ski mask.

He was wearing a long black coat and he was in a rush to get to the cash. He pushed past the one person standing between him and me and then he was standing in front of me. He reached down into one pocket and pulled out an enormous .45 calibre handgun and pointed it right at my face. With the other hand he gave me a pillow case. “Give me the money. All of it. No tricks. No alarms. Now.”

He had no way of knowing the police had already been called. One of my colleagues had seen him come in and had slipped into the storage room to call for help.

I carefully followed his demands. I dumped the cash from the till into the pillow case. Every single cent of change, too. All totaled there was less than $400 and I was hoping that would be enough.

There was no further comment from the gunman. He grabbed the pillow case, turned and ran out the front door. There would be no escape. The police were waiting for him on the street with their guns drawn. He went down on his knees and then kissed the pavement with his chin as his arms were drawn back and placed in cuffs.

Men with guns are seldom rational, part 2.

Several years later I had an encounter with a man with two guns – one large calibre handgun in each hand. He insisted he just wanted to talk as he strode purposefully towards my friend and I in a parking lot. We casually stepped backwards and kept our distance as if somehow by walking backwards we would be able to mysteriously outpace a bullet fired from a gun.

“Stop moving away from me. I won’t hurt you. I only want to talk to you,” he said as he continued walking with his arms outstretched and a gun pointing at each of our midsections.

We opted for the turn and sprint and headed into the hallways of Morlan Hall. He followed us into the building and was going door-to-door searching for us when the State Police arrived. He was arrested, cuffed and then had his head bounced off the roof of a patrol car on the way down into the caged back seat. DSAF. Did Society A Favor.

Men with guns are seldom rational, part 3.

We went out trolling for trauma and for our sins we found it. Medic 18 rolled on an undetermined call in their first-due district. We were bored so we went out in our district and began shading over towards 18’s running territory.

The man had an assault rifle and he used it to terrorize a neighborhood. What likely started as a domestic violence call exploded out onto the streets and into the backyards of a quiet part of the world on what had been a very quiet day.

The man with the AK-47 ran headlong into the police tactical team. His shooting spree ended with a steel-jacketed round to the forehead. The bullet traveled right through his head and out the other side. Oddly enough, he wasn’t killed instantly. And so he became our patient. We transported him to the ER.

Upon arrival, we delivered the patient history to the triage nurse who stepped up to look at the patient, screamed, and then collapsed. The man with the gun was her father.

Men with guns are seldom rational, part 4

On the evening of Sunday, March 29, 1981 I attended a reception at the Washington Hilton Hotel in the District of Columbia. There were several top US officials in attendance and I took lots of pictures, impressed and overwhelmed by the proximity of such powerful political players.

The next afternoon, as President Reagan left the very same hotel, John  Hinckley, Jr. opened fire with a handgun from very close range – striking the President of the United States and seriously wounding three other members of his entourage.

The same feelings of shock, outrage and sadness were with me late last night after another man with a gun opened fire during Quebec Premier Pauline Marois’ victory speech. One man was killed, another critically wounded, and a third treated for shock. Thankfully, Premier Marois escaped injury.

The gunman was captured by police at the scene. He was wearing a ski mask and a bathrobe and carrying two guns – one of which apparently jammed before he could do any further harm.

One Quebecois journalist, Bruno Savard summed up the events of the evening with an extraordinarily sad Tweet: “One killed, eight million wounded. Everyone in Quebec affected/ Un mort et 8 millions de blessés. Tout le québec est atteint.”

Thanks for your consideration.

Be well. Practice big medicine.




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