Guncrank Diaries Getting Away with (Attempted) Murder

15

Love. It’s the glue that binds humanity together. True love is selfless. True love is sacrificial. True love overlooks faults. One chaotic evening in the emergency department, I saw for real the indomitable power of true love.

Our heroine was 29 years old. She arrived by POV (Personally Owned Vehicle) attended by her boyfriend. He was doting and attentive. The fact she was conscious and conversational shocked me. She had been shot in the head.

She was sitting up when we met, a scant dribble of dark blood tracking down the side of her face. Her left eye bulged monstrously. Bullet wounds are almost mystically sinister up close, like the blackness of an evil man’s soul. This one seemed about the diameter of a pencil and was centered on her left temple.

Miracle Of Misfortune?

I don’t know why, but we always asked what happened. It’s not that it really much matters. The type of firearm is germane to a degree, but the psychosocial events leading up to the shooting not so much. However, I just never could resist. I always wanted to hear the story.

It was the boyfriend who provided the details. He said he had come in from whatever it was he did and was unloading his daily gear — a trim little .380ACP pocket pistol part of his daily loadout. He told me he slipped the little gun out of his pocket and set it down sideways on the top of the dresser.

He had no idea how it happened. He strongly suspected the gun was defective and explained he might have a lawyer review the issue. Somehow, when he set the gun down, it went off.

Bullets are the very embodiment of physics. They describe a path based predominantly upon their orientation and initial velocity. Projectiles fall to earth driven by the constant acceleration due to gravity. Like everything else in the universe, they continue in motion until affected by outside forces. The boyfriend explained the evening’s sordid outcome was pure unvarnished random.

His girlfriend had been standing across the room inquiring as to the nature of his day. When the gun went off the little bullet had traversed the bedroom and, as foul luck might have it, struck the hapless women in the temple. After quite a lot of frenetic chaos as well as a trip screaming across town to the ER here we were.

The Truth Hurts

It was indeed a compelling tale. However, this was not my first gunshot wound. When I examined the thing closely, I noticed charred flesh with ample powder stippling fanned out from the point of impact. There was even a little tearing of the skin around the wound.

As anyone who has ever watched one of those criminal forensics TV shows might attest, you can ascertain a great deal from an entrance wound. A bullet fired at a distance just punches a hole. The same thing at contact range will tattoo the surrounding skin with unburned powder and carboniferous ick. This was definitely the latter sort. Compelling story notwithstanding, this guy had clearly put his gun to this young woman’s temple and stroked the trigger.

The lady in question was doing shockingly well, considering. The anemic little bullet had transected her left optic nerve, deflected downward through her maxillary sinuses, and come to rest behind her rearmost right upper molar. I cleaned her up and found a maxillofacial surgeon who popped the spent projectile right out.

I waited until the moment was right and got a pal to remove the boyfriend for a while. Once it was just her and me, I explained my concerns regarding the nature of the wound and how it didn’t seem to jive with the boyfriend’s story. I assured her we could keep her safe, and if he had indeed shot her intentionally, then we would need to deal with that.

Throughout it all she stuck religiously to the tale. The gun went off when he set it down. He loved her, and she loved him. There’s nothing he would ever do to harm her intentionally. I pushed as much as I was comfortable, but then let it drop.

The cops did the same, but when the victim swears it was an accident, there’s just not a lot left with which to work. They had likely rehearsed their stories en route to the hospital. I discharged her the following day, now irrevocably half blind, in the company of her boyfriend. He was as attentive and affectionate as ever.

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