PCR past banners Nolan's Pop Culture Review--now in our seventh calendar year!
PCR #302 (Vol. 7, No. 1) This edition is for the week of January 1--8, 2006.

Deadguy's Dementia

Book Review: Sunshine Skies: Historic Commuter Airlines of Florida and Georgia....PhyMed Partners, Inc.: From the Criminal to the Civil áby William Moriaty
"The Producers" áby Mike Smith
A Shot In The Dark áby Mike "Deadguy" Scott
Is Tampa's Film Community Obsessed with B-Movies? áby Mark Terry
2005 ľ A Year to Forget?...Looking Ahead....Can't Believe What We Read? áBrandon Jones
Bush Is Great!!!...King Kong DVD....The Return of Dick Clark....Masters of Horror Update áby Matt Drinnenberg
Happy New Year....Passing On....Miscommunication....Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards....My Favorite Films--Chapter 1: The Buddy Holly Story áby Mike Smith
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A Shot in the Dark

I'm not sure how big this story will become, at the time I'm writing this, it's relatively fresh, so please indulge me if new information comes out about it that contradict with what's currently known about it.

In central Florida, on New Years Eve/Day, a lady was watching the fireworks from a shoreline while carrying an infant in her arms. Nearby, presumably, another person is excited by the New Years festivities, and aims his .45-caliber gun up into the air and fires off a shot.

Theoretically, the bullet flew up into the air at a great height before it's interia was overcome by the pull of gravity, it stopped rising and began plummeting back down again. The bullet fell until it hit an acceleration rate of about 29.4 feet per second, minus wind resistance. That's not it's actual speed, that's just how much the speed was accelerating. My estimation, based on not knowing the actual weight/mass of the bullet, but comparing it to other similar ammunition, was that it reached it's terminal velocity at about 200 - 300 feet per second.

Terminal velocity is the point where an object is moving at a full drop speed, and unable to accelerate anymore due to wind resistance. It's almost right over the woman with her child.

Now, understand that 300fps (feet per second) is approximately the same speed as a paintball. The surface area of the bullet is metal however, and cylindrically shaped, typically with a point of some kind.. it's designed to hit a target with all of it's speed and mass directed at it's tip, thereby increasing it's PSI rating at the point of inpact. However, a hardhat would be more than adequte protection against a falling bullet.

Anyways.. the lady looks up at the fireworks and suddenly feels a jolt of pain in her temple, accompanied by a bright flash of white light. She staggers forward a bit, and then drops to her knees. The child is taken from her by presumably her husband. She reaches up to the pain and discovers a wound, as blood begins to flow out. She can't see.

The gunman, unaware that he has just shot a newborn's mother in the face, is going on with his little party. There's presumably drinking going on, and some fireworks, and presumably after awhile, he retires to bed, pleased to end one new year, and perhaps dreading what tomorrow morning might bring with regards to a possible hangover.

Meanwhile, his victim is rushed to the hospital. It's determined that the bullet entered next to her eye and is lodged in her skull. Her eye has been destroyed. Her husband contacted family members in Equador, and they're on their way to see her. He hasn't told her that it's a bullet in her face, and she thinks it's just from the fireworks.

Although she lives in Central Florida, she's not a U.S. Citizen, and doesn't have healthcare coverage. She and/or her husband don't have enough money to cover medical costs, and as a non-citizen, she doesn't qualify for aid, so, according to a local paper, she was "forced to leave the hospital Tuesday because she cannot afford further care for her injuries."

The public is outraged that she should go untreated and be "forced" out of the hospital.

The reality is, the article itself contained two or three x-rays of her head, and showed a picture of her face with her good eye closed (sleeping?) with her head back on a pillow. Her wound was suitably bandaged, and her face seemed calm.

This indicates that she stayed in hospital for about 3 days, received X-rays, the bullet was positively identified as a .45 caliber bullet. She received pain killers, her wound was treated, and it was deemed that she could leave, which means that since she was no longer in the emergency room, there was no longer an emergency present.

It's actually standard practice to leave a bullet in the body if it's lodged in bone somewhere, as long as it isn't effecting anything around it, like pinching a nerve or whatever. The reason being that in this case, they'd have to remove the destroyed eye to get to it. Apparently it's safer to just leave it alone rather than risk causing problems in the eyesocket.

Apparently the public is still outraged... I'm not quite sure what they thought happened when you don't have health insurance, and aren't eligible for aid.

The reporters sensational usage of the term "forced" obviously created a focus for the public, who haven't stopped to think it through.

I'm sure the hospital's bouncers went in her room, tipped the bed over and said "Get the Hell Out of here!" Then they poked her in the eye-socket with a stick, removed all of the hospitals bandages and stood her up. They then said.. "hey.. does your eye still hurt you? Here.. maybe this'll stop you from worrying about it." Then they stomped on her foot with cleats on before throwing her out the window.

Yeah...that happens a lot.

What else were the doctors supposed to do anyways?

Dance a jig in there?! Pull flesh from her ass and construct her a new eye? Put a dog eye in there? (wouldn't Marilyn Manson be jealous!?)

Still, the sensationalistic view of this story will probably prove to be an effective tool for someone. The system works, and IS worked, every single day...here's how:

#1 - Incident occurs where innocent person is injured, even MORE innoncent in this case because she was carrying a baby in her arms.

#2 - Innocent person apparently decided to not have healthcare coverage, despite programs in place to assist Florida residents that want it.

#3 - Hospital says.. "Gee, we can't do this stuff for free, you're no longer in danger, unless you've got some money and stuff, we don't advise hanging out here because it's expensive."

#4 - Everyone says.. "Uh oh.. they can't kick us out let's call the press!"

#5 - The press says, "just hanging around.. minding your own business when WHAM! No.. wait! Any puppies involved? people LOVE puppies.. no? hmm.. OH! wait, you have a kid? Ok, we'll run with that. Mean ol' nursie gonna' kick out the mommy? hmm.. how come the state won't help? Ohh...I get it, you're a legal immigrant without citizenship! This is GOLD!"

#6 - The hospital says "Oh...no...we want to help, but we simply don't have the funding for this kind of thing, tragic yes?"

#7 - The press says.."Mmm...OK, but that'll come out later.. right now, you're the scapegoat, and then we'll do a follow-up expose if enough folks are interested, because right now, she's a poor little innocent mommy with no financial aid. If we focus on the hospital's problem right away, the public will say 'pay the hospitals and fix this problem' but won't actually act because they'll think it's not going to help this particular woman anyways, and she's the reason they're up in arms."

#8 - The hospital says "Yeah, but we really need the funding.. Just promise you'll do a public investigation and stuff, we have a children's wing if that'll help...No puppies though...sorry. Ok, so we'll come up with a buncha kid stories and be ready for you in a few days."

#9 - The press rushes to the presses, and then the public catches wind of the situation. "Oh.. woe is us! this poor, poor, woman.. Is she pretty and young? yep? Oh.. woer is us.. We must do something.. but What?"

#10 - The matter reaches the ears of someone that can do something about it. Either a rich philanthrophist, or a group who starts a donation/collection process, or another hospital, hears about it and says, "Wow, that's not right, we'll fix it! Let's throw money at it" Or a doctor somewhere says.. "Ahh, yes...a high profile case... this will look great! let's offer to get her eye out and the bullet...it's risky, and tricky, but that just makes us look better! Think maybe she'd want us to throw in a fake eye, or maybe a cool eyepatch? Hmm...which style...the Kill Bill thing? or more like a pirate theme.

Problem solved, assuming the media reached enough folks, and enough people take up the rallying cry to make it a palatable concern for another hospital or politician that wants to look like the good guy.

I probably seem very cynical, but the reality is, it doesn't matter why, or how. The fact is.. it does work.

Meanwhile, the police have no comment, except, "Anyone knowing anything about the shooter, is requested to contact us immediately, and we ask that the shooter come forward." This is of course, ridiculous, because in this case, the shooter may have been quite a distance away. Literally thousands of folks celebrate New years by illegally firing guns into the air. It's unlikely that any of them thought for even an instant that their gunshot was the one that's making the papers.

Someone did it though... Somewhere the guy just might be reading a paper going, "Wow, that's only a few blocks away...I hope they get that bastard somehow. That just ain't right."

By the way.. on the off chance that you, or someone you know, celebrates stuff by shooting into the air, could you you please fire into the ground instead? Or maybe into your own face, instead? I'm not against guns, OR gun control, but can we exercise a little common sense and self restraint here please?

"Deadguy's Dementia" is ©2006 by Mike "Deadguy" Scott.  Webpage design by Nolan B. Canova.  The "Deadguy's Dementia" header graphic and background tile are creations of Mike Scott.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.