Off topic in the wake of a terrible Gun Tragedy in Las Vegas :(

Love and Healing to everyone affected by this horrible event. I want to share with you something very well written and expressed by by Dr. Brad Strawn M.D. Surgeon. He had some reflections on this terrible tragedy that I thought were worth sharing….

Guns: Defense or Destruction?

8:01 AM Newport Beach, CA
The Latest News Report: “50+ killed in Las Vegas Strip massacre; gunman had 10 rifles”

This one hit closest to home. My wife woke me up this morning with the news. Route 91 Harvest Festival was the Country Music event I had been begging her to go to since the beginning of the year. We couldn’t go because Grandma was taking her vacation to Washington, DC this weekend to finally go on her White House tour – she was with us in Georgetown with tour tickets for 9/11/01.

I know seven people who were in Vegas; I had seen their posts on Facebook and Instagram – one patient of mine, three coworkers, and some close friends. It only took a few minutes of texting and social media research to find out they were okay. No one close to me was injured.

So now what?

We wait for the final body counts. We watch the videos posted on Facebook. We listen to the Democrats in congress demanding action on gun control. We wait to hear from the Republicans and the NRA. We learn everything there is to know about the shooter. We watch the 24/7 coverage on the news stations. We go to work. We go to another birthday party. We appreciate our children a little more. We hear that a bill has been proposed, but won’t get enough bipartisan support to pass. There is another hurricane off the coast of Florida. We slowly forget.

Most vivid memory: A Friday night at the San Francisco General Hospital. I am a Third Year Surgical Resident on the Trauma Service. “Doc, don’t let me die,” a handsome young African American kid says to me as I am pulling his gurney down the hall to the elevator. “I don’t want to die,” he says. I see a tear in his eye. I think of how he was probably so tuff a few hours earlier. “You’ll be okay,” I say, knowing otherwise. He was holding his left lower abdomen where the bullet hole entered. It wasn’t long before the scalpel cut through the abdominal fascia and I saw the abdomen full of blood. Hours later, after a desperate and exhausting attempt at finding and controlling the bleeding from the deep veins near his back; after pints and pints of blood and liters and liters of fluids had been pumped into his vascular system; after holding his not beating heart in my hands and squeezing has hard and fast as I could, after looking around at the carnage—the blood on the floor, the tired surgeons, residents, nurses, and anesthesiologists; after all this, it was over. Dead. This is not fiction.

Disclaimer: I am not entrenched in either the Fox News or the MSNBC camp. I am neither Republican or Democrate. I actually think our two party system is making our country dysfunctional.

My Gun History: I do not own a gun. But I did have a dream a couple months ago where someone was in my house shooting at my children and I was lying on the floor next to my bed cursing the fact that I did not have one. I come from a family of hunters and outdoorsmen. I learned to shoot a gun as soon as I was big enough not to get knocked over from the kick. I went to Hunters Safety classes and actually went hunting a few times with my father. Other than spending time with him, I thought it was boring. I have a “One Shot, One Kill” medal in a box somewhere in the garage. While in ROTC Officer’s Training Camp I shot 30 / 30 on the M16 pop-up target course.
Then I think back on those 30 hour Friday shifts at the Trauma Center. I would show up at 5:00 and would already be getting the text page for a 65yo Asian woman who was run over in a crosswalk. And then a few hours later, the 43yo white male hit while riding his bike to work; Mid-day the crushed construction worker; in the early evening, the 23yo Hispanic male with a knife wound to the chest. There was always something causing death.

And on other days, I think of the time I read Elie Wiesel’s Night for the second time. I remember thinking, how could a whole group of people allow themselves and their families to be herded into cattle cars. And I remember thinking, this was only possible because the Germans had guns, and they didn’t.

I also think of how our country has never been invaded. Is it because our citizens are armed?

I don’t have the answers.

I can think logically…

Equation: Guns + Crazy person + Public event = Mass Murder.

But then what do we do now? Address one, or all, of the variables? How?

Are we, as individuals safer with guns? Or, less safe?

Is it fair to blame one person or group? The NRA? President Trump? Congress? Health Care? Las Vegas?
Do we all hide in our homes for the rest of our life? Do we miss out on all the experiences life has to offer? Do we stop flying? Do we stop travelling? Do we stop gathering as a community to celebrate life?

I don’t know

Stephen Covey talks about two circles: the circle of concern and the circle of influence. Today, we are all concerned about gun violence. Many of us will come up with solutions. Each solution has its costs and benefits. If history repeats itself, nothing substantial will happen, and we will continue on with life.

Maybe we can all, as individuals, today, work within our circle of influence: parents love your children; teachers love your students; love your neighbors; community leaders love your community; representatives come up with pragmatic solutions; leaders inspire us all to be better people. What else should we do?

Well, I have to get to work: I have patients to see; I have to pick up my daughter from dance tonight; an Indian Princesses planning meeting tomorrow night; and a hospital staff meeting on Wednesday. Life goes on.

But it will never be the same for my loved ones who were in the crowd enjoying the music of Jason Aldean. Their lives have been changed for good. I love you all. Stay strong. And as my dad always says, “Keep Fighting It!”




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