Monday, December 31, 2012

When I got shot

On the evening of December 31, 1996 I was hanging out with a couple of friends of mine.  We were bored and trying to think of something to do, when one of them said to go to their place because, hey, they have more games.  So we went over there and began playing Magic at the small kitchen table.  Most of his family was home at the time and they were doing their own thing.

Eventually we got all drawn into a conversation with a couple members of his family and we got up from our game and just stood around the kitchen.  One, Rich, grabbed a fake red little gun.  The kind that presses against powder packs to make it go "POP POP POP".  Well this one would but it was broken, even with the packs it could not make a POP noise.

He's idly pulling the trigger while talking, when suddenly there were loud POP POP POP sounds.  Rich was suddenly holding his right arm to him, and when I looked down I saw blood on my shirt.  I assumed, as did most people, that it was spray from his getting shot.  Several seconds later, as I was getting dizzy, we realized I had 3 holes in my abdomen and one in my arm.

My friend's father grabs his gun, and we all shelter against walls.  Not that it would do much good, as we later learned the bullets had to have passed through the Garage Roof, Garage wall and Foyer wall to hit us in the kitchen.  Which they did.  One, a rifle round, hit somewhere in a bedroom and landed perfectly in a bag of clothes.  911 was called.  And then my mother (who assumed it was her sister calling her as the Ball had just dropped).

The owner of the house threw his gun up on a fridge as the police arrived, as he did not want to be a statistic, and they cased the place and the neighborhood around.  (Later we found the shooter was on the balcony of the house behind this one, across the alley).  I was taken to the hospital first.  And let me tell you, catheters are NOT fun.  But I was out by 2:30 am, as they saw that the bullets had missed my organs and just traveled through skin and fat.

A surgeon, later, told me they don't remove bullets often anymore unless they have to, due to digging around to remove them tends to cause more damage than the shooting does.  Historically, many people who died of gunshots (especially assassinations) died of the surgery, not the actual shooting.

Four holes in my body.  One, the left most in my abdomen, was the same bullet that hit Rich's arm (which shattered bone, he had to get a steel plate put in).  The one that went in my right arm (stopping a couple millimeters before hitting my bone) traveled through my abdomen first.

I got so fucking lucky.  Several months later, my right arm started to reject the bullet inside of it so I had to go through surgery to have it removed.  That scar is far more visible than the 3 shooting scars I still have.


  1. Wow, that really squicked me. I'm glad you recovered! What happened to the idiot who decided shooting at random was a fun idea?

    1. They arrested him when they got him a few weeks later, but the DA only pursued weapon charges. Didn't try for anything else.

  2. ... Huh. Was the pop gun right then just a coincidence?

    So random, so pointless...

    1. Yep. SOme nurses, apparently, tried to say to the guy whose arm was shattered "Well obviously you shouldn't have been holding that toy gun."

      But given the shooter was at least 75 feet away, and would have only seen it if he could see through a roof and two walls...Pretty sure the fake gun was just a coincidence.