Gunfire And The Fat Man


Gunshot wounds can be deceiving. There is frequently minimal
evidence on the outside to attest to the mischief lurking within.

Our hero was north of 400 pounds. In the place where I learned my trade, we’d call that four Mississippi Units. He was a big boy but not the biggest I had seen … not by a long shot.

The man waddled into the emergency room under his own steam. At first brush, he honestly seemed unhurt. Then, he turned around and showed me his shirt. The right aspect of his back over his shoulder blade was soaked with blood. I got him to take his shirt off, put some pressure on the wound, and got about the business of figuring this all out. Along the way, he told me his story.

Just Minding My Own Business …

They all had the same tale or some variation thereon.

“There I was, sitting on the front porch reading the Bible to my blind grandmother when Some Dude jumped out of the bushes and busted a cap on me. He was wearing a hoodie, so I couldn’t see his face, but he was packing a GLOCK 9.”

Repeat as necessary.

If the cops could apprehend Mr. Dude, the crime rate in our little corner of hell would plummet precipitously.

In this case, the guy was supposedly just driving along when he pulled up to a stoplight and was accosted by a total stranger. Now, I was born at night, but not last night. Were I to hazard a bit of conjecture, I’d guess that he took part in a drug deal gone bad. That’s what got most of them.

Anyway, the two men exchanged words, and things escalated. Then, my new buddy hit the gas. He had enough sense not to hang around amidst such fulminant percolating drama. His roadside buddy decided to seal the deal with a single 9mm Parabellum ball round.

Possession of a genuine cop gun like this police-issue GLOCK 22 will make you a rockstar among serious criminals.

Shop Talk

Talking guns with shot-up thugs was actually one of the bright spots of my time in an urban ER. They were all rank amateurs, but they spoke the language to a degree. Hi-Points were ubiquitous, and GLOCKs marked the Thug of Distinction.

A GLOCK that had been credibly taken from a cop was enough to fill one’s dance ticket any place two or more criminals formally gathered. I only heard of that once. As this was in the early aughts, the criminals in my hood had not yet discovered the joys of the homebuilt AR-15 pistol or the Draco.

Long guns were mostly SKS carbines and illegal cut-down scatterguns. Interestingly, not one shot-up criminal who told me about the sawed-off shotgun they kept back in their crib knew anything about the barrel length restrictions imbedded within the National Firearms Act of 1934. To have even asked would have seemed insane. Methinks there might be a message buried away someplace in that, something deep and timeless, perhaps.

Once they secured their Gat, they had to feed it. Ammo was and is expensive. They didn’t much care about details so long as it went bang. That meant cheap FMJ ball. Think Winchester White Box or the imported Russian steel-cased stuff. Just blasting bullets to us.

Performance Anxiety

Never underestimate the penetration capability of 9mm hardball. There is a reason most tactical teams use rifle-caliber carbines rather than pistol-caliber subguns these days. Believe it or not, those zippy little 5.56mm rounds don’t generally punch as deep through drywall as do 9mm pistol rounds. That’s counterintuitive but nonetheless real. My new lumbering pal was a great example of physics in action.

This particular 115-grain Full Metal Jacket bullet penetrated the steel trunk of his ghetto sled, bored through the back seat, followed subsequently by the front, and finally found a forever home in his ample back fat. The man actually told me he didn’t realize he was shot until he got home, crawled out of his car and noticed all the blood. He claimed the wound was literally painless. How weird is that? He then got back into his hooptie and came to see me. By the time we met, he was starting to get a little bit sore.

The wound was superficial, though it likely would have been through and through for a skinny guy like me. His X-rays were fine, and the bullet had not reached anything important. If I remember correctly, he left with some antibiotics, a tetanus shot and an outpatient follow-up with the university surgeons. The guy was in and out in a couple of hours. Just another day in paradise …

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