You Are The First Responder

I will leave it up to much smarter people than me here and elsewhere to write long essays and columns about the events in Tuscon over the weekend and tease out the deeper meanings.

I have a few simple takeaways.

I still haven’t heard what the shooter was using. I am guessing a .22 – could a person like the Congresswoman really survive anything bigger going all the way through her head? They said that around 5% of all people who get shot in the head survive. Amazing.

I wish the Congresswoman well. I feel really bad for all of the victims who will get washed out of this tragedy since the media will want to follow the Congresswoman’s story (this is akin to the victims of the Deepwater Horizon getting washed out of that story). Even a kid died. I heard this morning that is was Dallas Green’s granddaughter.

Our media is really stupid. Still. And Forever.

Most importantly – you are the first responder. Not the cops, not security, you. I don’t know how the attacker was subdued, but I can only assume some guys eventually tackled him when he was reloading and I assume they beat the hell out of him to subdue him. In any situation such as this, all the cell phones, beepers, pagers, and iPads in the world won’t help you. You and others have to take charge and attack the attacker. To this day I don’t understand how all those people at Virginia Tech died, allowing themselves to be shot execution style. I will at least die “with my boots on” to coin a phrase. My actions might not stop the killer, but at least I can try.

17 thoughts on “You Are The First Responder”

  1. I am guessing a .22 – could a person like the Congresswoman really survive anything bigger going all the way through her head? They said that around 5% of all people who get shot in the head survive.

    The correct information has been available since yesterday … here. It’s really inexcusable to just say things without understanding anything about them. You’re spreading misinformation as people will ignore your disclaimers otherwise.

    I don’t know how the attacker was subdued, but I can only assume some guys eventually tackled him when he was reloading and I assume they beat the hell out of him to subdue him.

    This information is also available. Several people acted heroically to save lives and prevent the attacker from killing more people. The young intern whose quick action probably saved Rep. Giffords life is named Daniel Hernandez. There is no excuse for you not knowing it at this point.

  2. Carl – you really shouldn’t be surprised that nobody at a D rally would be armed.

    Uncle Kenny – thanks for info, not so much for the tone. Your link about the caliber of the weapon is to another blog. With no link from there to anywhere else. I think it is too early in the game to be sure what happened.

  3. I take that last comment back, it was not a D rally, it was a get to know your Congressperson meeting, mea culpa. Still I assume that most in attendance were of the D persuasion.

  4. Sorry for being snarky, but first person accounts from the folks who subdued Loughner are available. 74-year-old retired Colonel Bill Badger was one of them. He was wounded himself. Your sneering at “another blog” seems so very 2005, don’t you think? Sure, some of the information has come out in blogs, but the bloggers I am reading are also very careful to not speculate, something the big media has not been able to avoid. Perhaps you don’t realize how much of your credibility you destroy when say something like “I am guessing a .22”. Lookup Daniel Hernandez and Bill Badger. You won’t find their stories in the New York Times. The LA Times does have a nice story on Dr. Peter Rhee, former Navy battlefield surgeon, who operated on Rep. Giffords.

  5. Uncle Kenny – I love blogs, and am one of the biggest defenders of them and I am pretty familiar with most common calibers. I am just a wait and see type of guy, what can I say. This thing happened only 48 hours ago. Forgive me for being so stupid as to wound ballistics – not my specialty.

  6. “CNN has reported that the alleged shooter was arrested in 2007 for possession of drug paraphernalia. Those charges were dismissed. Thus there was an arrest record, but no conviction that would ban gun ownership.”

    Another good reason for harsh drug laws. ;)

  7. Just for the record, I’m pretty sure Arizona is an open-carry state, one of only three or four in the Union. That being said, it’s entirely possible that lots of people had guns but were either disinclined to use them or in a position where they couldn’t. From my own experience getting my CCL in Texas, once you fire your weapon, you are responsible for that bullet until it comes to a stop. Typical calibers for carry weapons very easily could exit the bad guy and end up in a good guy, especially in a situation like a rally. If that happened, the person who fired it would be liable for damages. I don’t know what the situation was like but I would assume the shooter wasn’t just standing off alone by himself where he could get shot and thus, even if everyone had a weapon, it may not have helped in that situation. Which isn’t to say I’m going to stop carrying mine anytime soon.

  8. Dan,

    Does anyone in Wisconsin open carry in practice? Or is it the case that it is legal but you would be swarmed by law enforcement on man with a gun calls?


  9. Art – more and more have been carrying open. There are several cases that recently drew press. Some guys just open carried at a local Madison mall food court and were harassed by the cops. I don’t remember how it turned out but I am sure they will get off.

    Another guy was carrying open on his private property west of here and a neighbor called him in. The cops arrested him for disorderly conduct. He beat it after going to court.

    Typically you will get arrested and get a d.o. ticket, which will later be struck down in the courts. I think that in more rural areas that you would have no real issues – hunters of all shapes and sizes are carrying all sorts of weapons all over the place.

    As they say, you will beat the rap, but you won’t beat the ride.

  10. Scotch Drinker, your assurance is misplaced. At least half of the states either have no laws prohibiting open carry at all, or else allow open carry with the same license that permits concealed carry.

    What is unusual about AZ is that it recently abolished its permit requirement for concealed carry, joining VT and AK in that elite club.

  11. One of the four people credited with disarming and restraining the shooter was a guy named Joseph Zamodio, who was armed but didn’t see the need to use his gun. Maybe Dan is right – Zamudio was not attending the political event. In fact he is about as non-PC Democrat as they get. He was in the Walgreen store buying a pack of smokes and saw the shooting as he came out the door and ran over to help.

  12. A couple of points. The bullet entered her temple and exited her forehead. That means that the injury to her brain was peripheral and a shot like that could miss the brain completely. I took my students to examine some neuro patients at LA County a few years ago and one of them turned out to be a man who attempted suicide by shooting himself in the temple. The bullet wound up in his frontal sinus above his nose and he had no brain injury. His injuries consisted of powder burns and a ruptured eardrum from the loud noise. The kids enjoyed talking to him about why he did it.

    I understand she did have some brain injury but it would like be prefrontal area and probably would not involve motor function or thought. Right now they are treating her for cerebral edema which could just be from the impact to her skull.

    The other point is that the shooter had had many complaints about threats that were largely ignored by the sheriff, possibly because his mother is a city employee. When the FBI went to the parent’s house, they tried to bar them by putting up wood barriers. The sheriff is going to look like a fool when all this comes out.

  13. There were other armed citizens present at the scene.

    Instead, Zamudio said he ran toward a man and a woman who were grappling with a man on the ground. When he saw another man holding a gun, Zamudio grabbed his arm and shoved him into a wall.

    “He told me ‘It’s not me. It’s not me,’ and I just told him to put it on the ground to make all of us feel safer,” Zamudio said.

    Reassured by the others involved that the man wasn’t the shooting suspect, Zamudio helped hold the suspect down.

    “He was just laying there until the guy who had the gun put more weight on and he said ‘Oh, my arm! You’re breaking my arm,’” Zamudio said.

    When deputies arrived, Loughner resumed his silence and refused to roll over for them, Zamudio said.

    Zamudio, who was armed, said he didn’t draw his weapon because it wasn’t needed and he didn’t want to be confused as a second gunman.

    Zamudio doesn’t think of himself as a hero; the elderly man who tackled Loughner despite a head wound deserves much of the credit, he said.

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