Category Archives: Death

Celebratory Gunfire – Where Do the Bullets Land?

From 1985 through 1992, 118 people were treated at King/Drew for such injuries on those holidays and 38 of them died, Dr. Gary J. Ordog and his colleagues reported recently in the Journal of Trauma. A full 75% of the survivors suffered severe long-term disabilities, the doctors reported, including paraplegia, quadriplegia, seizures and chronic pain.
[…]
The mortality rate from such random shootings, about 32%, is much higher than the 2% to 6% normally associated with gunshot wounds, Ordog said. That is probably because 77% of the victims were hit in the head, which is especially vulnerable to gunshot wounds, he added.*

“Data show the 77% of reported celebratory firing results in injury to the head, 12% to the shoulder, 5% to the upper back, 2% to the posterior chest and neck, respectively, and 1% to the upper arm, leg, and foot each.”*



Mario Jovanovski (top of head)
7/4/2016 – Columbus, OH
“Mario Jovanovski, 21, and his girlfriend Amanda McGarran met at John Bishop Park Sunday evening right before the fireworks started. ‘The first fireworks went off and he grabbed his head and said babe, I’ve just been shot,’ said McGarran. She said the impact knocked him to his knees.”*


Diego Duran (top of head)
1/1/2012 – Ruskin, FL
Entry:

Termination (no exit):

“The bullet went into his left front parietal part of the cranium, the direction was diagonal. On it’s way, diagonally, it did fracture, I believe, two of the facial bones, one that’s behind the nose and one behind the eyeball. And, it was trapped behind the [right front cheekbone].”*

“ ‘It’s like I have to be cautious of my head. I have a shunt, it’s a tube that goes all the way down to my stomach and it drains fluids,’ he said as he traced the path through his body.”*


Joe Jaskolka (top of head)
1/1/1999 – Philadelphia, PA
“But police still don’t know the caliber of bullet that struck Jaskolka on the top of his head because the projectile is still lodged near the base of the boy’s brain.”*


Shannon Smith (top of head)
6/16/1999 – Phoenix, AZ
“A single bullet had struck Shannon on the top of her head. Police believe it was fired straight up within a mile of Shannon’s home. Several residents reported hearing gunfire the night Shannon was killed, but no suspects ever emerged.”*


Brendon Mackey (top of head)
7/4/2016 – Midlothian, VA
“A seven-year-old boy died Friday after being shot in the head by a stray bullet Thursday night while watching Fourth of July fireworks, police say.” […] “It wasn’t until the boy was taken to the hospital that doctors discovered a bullet wound in the top of his head, Badgerow says, according to the station.”*


Aaliyah Boyer (top of head)
1/1/2013 – Elkton, MD
“Aaliyah Boyer was killed when Cecil County Sheriff’s officials said a bullet fell from the sky and struck her on the top of her head.”*


Marquel Peters (top of head)
1/1/2010 – Decatur, GA
“The stray bullet came through the roof of the sanctuary of the Church of God of Prophecy and struck Marquel in the top of his head.”* “The boy, playing with a video game, and his mother were waiting for a 12:30 a.m. concert to begin at Church of God of Prophecy near Decatur when Marquel was shot in the head by a stray bullet. Marquel was on the floor, crying and bleeding, when medics arrived, but he died later at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.”*


Grant Pinkstaff (near top of head)
7/4/2016 – Tulsa, OK
“The bullet entered near the top of his head and traveled under the skin around his skull. It is now resting permanently near the back of his head.”*


Javier Suarez Rivera (top of head)
1/1/2015 – Houston, TX
“Friends and family gather in support of 16-year-old Keyla Rivera, whose father died about 1 a.m. Thursday in southeast Houston after being hit in the top of his head by a bullet.”*


Brandon Yam (top of head)
7/4/2014
“Charlotte-Mecklenburg police reports indicate that around 9:25 p.m., Yam was struck ‘in the top of the head by a stray bullet.’ ”*


Amy Silberman (top of head)
12/31/1994 – New Orleans, LA
“[O]n New Year’s Eve 1994, Boston tourist Amy Silberman was killed by a falling bullet while watching fireworks on the Moonwalk along the Mississippi river. One moment she was listening to music and talking to friends in the massive holiday crowd, the next she was falling to the ground, a bullet lodged in the top of her head.”*


Richard Smeraldo (bill of cap)
7/4/2012 – Safety Harbor, FL
“The bullet traveled through the bill of Smeraldo’s cap, into the bridge of his nose, out his right nostril, through the upper portion of his bottom lip and exited though his lower chin.”*


Roof of House
7/4/2016 – Hencrico, VA
“Police say the victim reported gunfire around 9:45 p.m., with one round flying through the roof of her home. Officers determined it wasn’t intentional; it was celebratory gunfire, shooting illegally into the air.”*


Roof of House
1/4/2016 – Northland, OH
“A Glenhaven Drive resident also reported that apparent celebratory gunfire damaged his house. In a report filed at 9 a.m. Jan. 1, the man said a .45-caliber round crashed through the roof sometime after 2 a.m.”*


Roof of House
1/1/2016 – Sacramento, CA
“ ‘We just heard the bullet go right through the ceiling,’ she said. In a panic, Jimenez jumped up only to find the bullet inches away from the couch where she and her three young children were sitting.’ “*


Hood of Car
1/1/2016 – Stockton, CA


Windshield of Car
1/1/2016


Branon Vaughan
7/4/2016 – Tulsa, OK
“The force of the impact made Branon Vaughan stumble left, then to the right, finally dropping to a knee with his arms on a wall to brace himself. The 35-year-old wondered if he had walked into a street sign. Seeing none in the area, he reasoned it might have been a beer can thrown at him.”*

Entry:

Termination (no exit):


Saul Bermudez
7/4/2016 – Kansas City, MO

“Police obtained the bullet that was pulled from the teen’s shoulder. They said they may have a difficult time tracking down where it came from, as bullets can travel over a mile and a half.”*


Amber Bartles
1/1/2016 – St. Petersburg, FL
“I was standing but leaning on a car. If I was standing up straight it would’ve gone right through my head.”*


Officer Travis Weber
1/1/2016 – Stockton, CA
” ‘I heard a loud pop and then felt a sting to my right leg. The loud pop was it (bullet) hitting the vehicle and then ricocheting toward me,’ Weber said.”*


Window of House
1/1/2006 – Stockton, CA


Shower
1/1/2016 – Snellville, GA
“About an hour later Adrian said he walked into their bathroom and found a bullet laying in his shower. ‘I opened my shower and stepped in and immediately saw the fragments of tile there,’ said Adrian. ‘The bullet hole entered right at the base of my shower.” The Hayes family believes it was celebratory gunfire.’ “*


Kaitlyn Jacobs
1/1/2015 – Tampa, FL
“Was sitting in the Gwazi Pavilion area just before midnight when she suddenly felt pain in her lower left leg.” […] ” ‘The biggest thing is we don’t understand how there are two holes and a bullet in my leg,’ said Jacobs.”*


Blair Shanahan Lane
7/12/11 – Kansas City, MO
“Five years ago, Blair was dancing with her cousins during a party. A stray bullet struck Blair in the neck and killed her; the bullet was shot from a distance more than three football fields away.”*


Man Hit in Stomach
7/4/2016 – Corpus Christi, TX
“Corpus Christi Police responded to the home, located in the 4200 block of Easy Street just before 9:30 PM, and when Officers arrived they were told that a bullet came through the kitchen window and hit the homeowner who was sitting inside in the stomach. Luckily, he was not injured by the bullet. Officers believe the shot came from an open field near the home, where gunfire had been heard earlier in the evening.”*

Taking in Syrian Immigrants Immoral?

Recently, I was trying to find non-xenophobic arguments against the US taking in Syrian immigrants. I found a potential case in National Review (assuming the numbers truly are reliable). Two writers from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) argue that it costs an estimated $12,874 per year (for the first 5 years) to resettle Middle-Eastern Refugees in the US while it may cost around $1,057 per year to move them to relative — if temporary — safety in neighboring Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon. Again, if this is true, we could assist roughly twelve times the humans by helping resettle Syrians into neighboring countries with the same resource investment.

But, should we be concerned about this study’s impartiality? Maybe. The same authors published a study last year for CIS warning that immigration in general is a problem, partly because Muslims (who, incidentally, make up less than 1% of the US population) pose a significant security threat. These immigrants will, undoubtedly, “board an airliner and blow it up” according to one co-author*.

The person who said that, Steven Camarota, has remarked on another even more serious immigrant threat very concisely in the past: “[E]ach 10 percent increase in the immigrant share of the county’s population reduced the Republican vote by about six percentage points [over the last 30 years]”*.

Of course, we can’t discount this study/argument simply because the writers may be generally biased against immigration. Hopefully, PolitiFact will have a look at their figures.

Agree or not, there are still solid ways to try to help out the thousands of Syrian civilians in need. Both Charity Navigator and Charity Watch highly rate American Refugee Committee International as an effective charity. GiveWell recommends Doctors Without Borders.

Richard Dawkins and Peter Singer Discuss Animal Suffering

Richard Dawkins (to Peter Singer):

I think you have a very, very strong point when you say that anybody who eats meat has a very, very strong obligation to think seriously about it. And, I don’t find any very good defense. I find myself in exactly the same position as … I might’ve been 200 years ago — or perhaps a bit longer ago than that — talking about slavery….

[T]here was a time when it was simply the norm. Everybody did it — some people did it with gusto and relish; other people, like Jefferson, did it reluctantly. I would’ve probably done it reluctantly — I’d’ve just gone along with what society does…. It was hard to defend then … and that’s the sort of position I find myself in now.

Use Your Birthday for Charity

Clifton 
A good friend came up with this idea recently that I thought was pretty brilliant: when your birthday comes around, rather than ask for a gift for yourself, encourage potential gift givers to donate to a charity. My thinking is that even if this idea caused only one person to donate where they wouldn’t have otherwise, then it was worthwhile.

Well, my birthday is coming up soon and so this seems like a good time to try to spread this fine idea. I considered recommending an environmental organization like Sierra Club, but I think that the folks at Against Malaria might be doing work that would benefit from more immediate attention. I also think that even small donations go far with them.

Putting Charities to the Test
According to Guide Dogs of America, the cost of training a dog is around $42,000. So if you had $42,000 to give, you could greatly improve the life of one blind person.
But what if instead, you spent that $42,000 on eye surgeries for people with trachoma in Africa? Helen Keller International, which works to prevent blindness, says trachoma surgery costs as little as $25 per person and is 80 percent effective. That same money, then, could restore the sight of 1,344 people.

Mark  Very good! Every little bit helps. I was just thinking about the unnecessary stuff we accumulate and how hard it is to get rid of.
John  I would give, but I heard that Africans are afraid of getting shots and all the money goes to warlords. Plus, even if you *did* save someone, think of the quality of life they’re likely to have after! And, how do you even know that it works? These things are so poorly tracked.
Clifton  Well, John, the money would not easily end up in warlord hands as it goes to purchasing nets. People generally aren’t that afraid of nets.

As for the quality of life, I think the going-in assumption is that people would rather live than die, regardless of the attendant hardships. Given that this is true for most people, we might go a step farther and assume that the average child doesn’t want to die from malaria.

This is from a section on the web site where efficacy is published for Ntcheu District, Malawi: “Malaria incidence, compared to the same month in the prior year, is 50% lower in Mar 2012, 50% lower in Apr 2012, 45% lower in May 2012, 45% lower in Jun 2012.”

John  Well, what about the Syrian refugee crisis? Isn’t that more important? I read somebody calling it the worst humanitarian crisis since Rwanda. And, why not donate within the USA? Continue reading Use Your Birthday for Charity

Arizona Judicial Branch Case Summaries

With news such as this:

At around 2:00 a.m. on March 17, 2006, Isiah Patterson chased his girlfriend, Consquelo, from his apartment. He caught her in the sand volleyball pit of the apartment complex, kneeled over her and stabbed her with a butcher knife thirteen times. He stopped attacking her when a neighbor, who had been awoken by Consquelo’s screams, yelled for him to stop. Patterson returned to his apartment, telling bystanders, “That’s what you get when you try to turn a whore into a housewife.” Consquelo stumbled out of the volleyball pit and asked for help before collapsing under a bush, where she died.

[source]

Visit the site.

Richard Speck

Thank you, Mad Men, for this:

From Wikipedia:

Richard Franklin Speck (December 6, 1941 – December 5, 1991) was a mass murderer who systematically tortured, raped, and murdered eight student nurses from South Chicago Community Hospital on July 14, 1966.

And, this:

In May 1996, Chicago television news anchor Bill Kurtis received video tapes made at Stateville Prison in 1988 from an anonymous attorney. Showing them publicly for the first time before a shocked and deeply angry Illinois state legislature, Kurtis pointed out the explicit scenes of sex, drug use, and money being passed around by prisoners, who seemingly had no fear of being caught; in the center of it all was Speck, performing oral sex on another inmate, sharing a huge pile of cocaine with an inmate, parading in silk panties, sporting female-like breasts (allegedly grown using smuggled hormone treatments), and boasting, “If they only knew how much fun I was having, they’d turn me loose.” The Illinois legislature packed the auditorium to view the two-hour video, but stopped the screening when the film showed Speck performing oral sex on another man.

Continue reading Richard Speck

Louis C.K. and (Not) Being Evil

I finally watched the first episode of Louis last night and, although I laughed at this bit, I was disappointed and a little disturbed that it ended with just a smirk.

Which is why I’m so pleased to find this:

Louis C.K. gives $280,000 to five charities after ‘Live at the Beacon’ sales rocket to $1 million

[source]
(The first episode of Louis premiered in June 2010* and his big donation occurred in December 2011.)

So, how could I possibly be disturbed to begin with? Well, crazy as it may sound, I don’t wish for people to suffer horrible misery when I can easily help to alleviate at least some of that misery.

Because I know that not everyone is as crazy as I am, here are some selfish reasons to give away your precious money:

Research suggests that many people think that spending money on themselves will make them happier than spending it on other people (Dunn et al., 2008). But there is evidence from various different studies that, on average, this isn’t true:

  • Participants who were given $5 or $20 to spend on another person were happier than those who spent it on themselves (Dunn et al., 2008).
  • People who spend greater proportions of their income on giving to others or to charity are happier than those who spend it on themselves (Dunn et al., 2008).
  • Canadian and Ugandan students who thought back to times they’d been generous to others were happier than those thinking back to money they’d spent on themselves (Aknin et al., 2010).

[source]

Perhaps you’re still worried that you’re just going to be giving money to some African warlord.* That’s probably unavoidable. Perhaps you don’t want to remove anybody’s incentive to pull herself up out of the gutter. There are lots of reasons that people don’t give.

Well, if you happen to visit this site, I think most of your uneasiness will be alleviated. Perhaps (after donating) you will sleep even more neo-nascently than June 2010 Louis Szekely did.

Against the Personal Preference Diet

If our going-in belief is, “Meat-eating is morally acceptable as it is a personal decision,” this belief equates acceptable morality with personal preference: “I like to eat beef; therefore, it is acceptable to kill and eat cows.” This easily permits the equivalent expression, “I like to eat Soylent Green; therefore, it is acceptable to kill and eat people.”

However, if we use unnecessary suffering as our benchmark, we can easily defeat both arguments. We first grant that unnecessary suffering is bad. We then grant that the more unnecessary suffering our actions cause, the worse those actions are.

We know that eating animals causes suffering in at least one direct way and one indirect way.

Factory farming is a direct way in which animals suffer. Conditions in many large-scale meat production operations cause animals to suffer cramped quarters, little or no outdoor grazing ability, and inhumane slaughter. Continue reading Against the Personal Preference Diet

Report: Number of Animals Killed In US Increases in 2010: “~10 billion land animals were raised and killed for food in the United States in 2010.”
Farm Animal Rights Movement
Do Chickens Suffer in Wire Cages?: “Dawkins explains that if hens kept all their lives on wire floors are suddenly given access to a floor of wood-shavings or peat, they have ‘an immediate and strong preference for these more natural floors over the wire ones, which is all they have known until then.’ “
United Poultry Concerns
The Human Cost of Animal Suffering: “The sheer volume, scale and rate of killing, the way the animals form a continuous stream rather than individual creatures, makes it clear the animals are seen as raw material.”
Timothy Pachirat