I’d like to comment on James Hall’s letter to the editor (Sept. 11) in reference to AR-15s purchased from an FFL dealer not being a weapon of war. Aside from the NRA and the Second Amendment, about each of which volumes have been written, I want everyone who reads our local newspaper to know the real reason these guns should be outlawed. This is from an article I read of a CT scan made from a regular gunshot wound as opposed to an AR-15 wound (“The Difference Between AR-15 and Normal Gunshot Wounds,” Outside The Beltway, Feb. 22, 2018, bit.ly/2mnx0Hj).
Heather Sher, a radiologist who has worked multiple mass shootings, points to a critical difference between incidents involving AR-15 rifles and ordinary handguns.
“As I opened the CT scan last week to read the next case, I was baffled. The history simply read ‘gunshot wound.’ I have been a radiologist in one of the busiest trauma centers in the nation for 13 years, and have diagnosed thousands of handgun injuries to the brain, lung, liver, spleen, bowel and other vital organs. I thought that I knew all that I needed to know about gunshot wounds, but the specific pattern of injury on my computer screen was one that I had seen only once before.
In a typical handgun injury that I diagnose almost daily, a bullet leaves a laceration through an organ like the liver. To a radiologist, it appears as a linear, thin, gray bullet track through the organ. There may be bleeding and some bullet fragments.
I was looking at a CT scan of one of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who had been brought to the trauma center during my call shift. The organ looked like an overripe melon smashed by a sledgehammer, with extensive bleeding. How could a gunshot wound have caused this much damage?
The reaction in the emergency room was the same. One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle which delivers a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. There was nothing left to repair, and utterly, devastatingly, nothing that could be done to fix the problem. The injury was fatal.”
For this reason alone, it should be enough to outlaw AR-15s. Yes, mental health should also be addressed. It will take years for our medical community and health care providers to catch up and get under control, our out-of-control mental illnesses in this country. It would take a day to outlaw AR-15s for sale and offer a reimbursement (buyback) for present AR-15 owners in the U.S.
Alan Held lives in Tinmouth.