Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Having had some complications from eye surgery, I had hoped that when I came back here I would be able to speak about happy or funny things; the kinds of things that amuse or interest me. Sadly, I woke up this morning to find out that I can’t talk about those things.
Yesterday, as I was preparing to go to bed, two Los Angeles County Deputies where shot in the head as they sat in their patrol car. As I write this they are fighting for their lives and their futures. If that was the only story here, it would be tragic enough.
Television and media portray shooting victims in a more or less binary way. Live or die. But “live” in these cases simply means not dying from the gunshot wounds immediately. It doesn’t mean returning to a full, healthy, and productive life. It often means exactly the opposite. Head wounds are not benign.
In 1985, two sets of teens were driving down a country road in Adams County, Illinois, outside Quincy. One car had a single driver. He was returning from his summer job working for the Corps of Engineers on the Mississippi River. The other car had a boy and a girl. Unlike the single driver, these two had been partying all night long. Their blood alcohol levels were off the charts.
In the summer in Illinois, the corn grows tall and it’s over 3 feet high by late July. That’s why the driver of the first vehicle, the young employed man trying to save money for college (he had a National Merit Scholarship to Stanford) didn’t see the lights of the oncoming car around a curve or understand that it was going almost 90 mph. The belted single driver was not ejected. The other two were. It took medics 35 minutes to cut the young man out of the wreck. He was the third victim to arrive at our Emergency Room.
My night shift therapists had their hands full with the first two, and I was called in for the third. I breathed for the young man, and hyperventilated him, blowing off as much CO2 as possible so as to lower his intracranial pressure. We rushed him to the OR for emergency cranial surgery to relieve pressure.
Both drunks died that night. They never had to see the effects of their ignorance on that young man. His brain injury was very severe. I lost track of him after I left the hospital in 1988, but after three years he had barely regained an ability to put on clothes and tie shoes. This is what brain injury does. It steals the soul and personality of its victims. It is cruel and heartless, and anyone in medicine can tell you they’ve seen in a hundred times. So when I hear these officers were shot in the head, I know that the one deputy who is the mother of a six-year-old boy may never come home as his mother, if she comes home at all.
Again, that would be tragedy enough as it is. It would be an awful outcome for both officers simply by virtue of all the rehabilitation they will require. But the horror does not stop there.
The first thing I saw on Twitter this morning was a bunch of people, on camera, showing their faces, talking about going to the hospital to see if the “gang members” (yes, we’re supposed to think that sheriffs are gang members) were dead yet.
But that wasn’t enough for these folks. In addition to going to the hospital, they had to try to breach the hospital and go inside and interfere with the medics trying to save those officers. They stood outside and chanted “we hope they die.”
That they did this while showing their faces, beaming proudly into the camera, demonstrates such a profound level of evil that it’s difficult to capture. Not since Charles Manson has someone so brazenly devalued human life. Manson was evil; these people take evil a step further.
It is my hope that justice will be served. As I have watched the video of the shooting it appears to be a juvenile who shot the officers. Thus, it appears to be a gang initiation type of event. The juveniles can’t be held to the death penalty (of course, in California, with Newsom, that hardly matters). But every adult member of that gang that was involved in this episode and is a co-conspirator can be. Every last one should get the death penalty.
I hold out no hope for that. I firmly believe California is lost. Yet hope springs eternal, and I pray that the evildoer who shot these deputies, and those who facilitated it, filmed it, delighted in it, and danced in joy near the hospital afterward reap the rewards for their behavior that they so richly deserve.Published in