Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Life, not War

Maite ("MITE-aay") was 10 years old. She loved animals. When she grew up, she was going to be a marine biologist, working in oceans with the animals that she so loved.

Maite's favourite colour was green. When she got shoes, she chose a pair of high-top converse sneakers. Then she added a red heart to the white toe of each shoe.

Let's talk about oranges. They're such handy things - literally. One fits right into the hand. Kids tend to love them, too. This makes it easy to do a comparison. Hold an orange up next to a 10yo child.

Up here. Over there. Too cute!

Or maybe not.

Bullets designed for AR15 semi-automatic war rifles are generally high-speed. As a rifle, the AR-15 has a long barrel. This makes a bullet fly even faster. This is important.

When a high-speed bullet hits something soft like a human body, it begins to turn, or yaw. "Yaw" is a funny word, and it sounds like nonsense. It is about angles, though. A line running down the length of a bullet is part of this angle. The direction in which it is moving is another line in the angle. Flying through the air, both lines are one and the same. As it turns inside the body, though, an angle opens up. That is the yaw.

As that angle opens up, tissues are torn. Muscle is shredded. It isn't merely cut, like when a knife is passed through. Pieces of muscle are frayed here and there in different directions. Tendons and ligaments, necessary for holding muscles and bones together, are shorn apart.

Then there is the energy. Something moving as fast as a high-velocity bullet from an AR-15 causes shock waves of energy. These waves push tissue out of the way. All tissue, soft and hard, is pushed. Muscle is pushed aside. Bones are shattered, their shards acting like jagged biologically hazardous missiles piercing nearby tissues.

If a body organ is in the way of that shock wave? It is rendered into pulp. Liver? Kidney? Spleen? It might as well be pudding now. Unless a child is shot at the doorstep of a hospital, they will likely bleed to death before they can receive life-saving surgical care in that case.

And then the bullet finally leaves the body after leaving a trail of destruction inside. The exit wound is a hole, but not merely a hole. It is a gaping cave the size of an orange.

Where have you been holding that orange? It is gone now. Shoulder? Shards. Gut? Shredded, spilt, gaping. Back? Great open hole. What have you sacrificed? Bones? Muscles? An entire body organ?

The AR15 is not merely a gun. It is a weapon of war. That is why it creates these life-defying wounds.

After the school shooting in Uvalde, families gathered. DNA collection kits were passed around. Moms, dads, families swabbed their cheeks and deposited q-tips, then handed the baggies back.

Their children were so taken over by those "oranges" that they were no longer recognisable.

Maite's shoes were green high-top converse sneakers with red hearts on the white toes of each shoe. That is how her family identified the once-future marine biologist. The wee precious babe who loved animals, knowable only by her shoes.

There are some things that are far more precious and valuable than a gun. Life, the beating of a heart, the fulfillment of development of embryo, then fetus. Life is more important than a gun. Science, the love of living creatures, the dedication to learning about them and studying them - that is also more important than a gun.

An AR15 was developed for use on the battlefield during war.

A school is not a battlefield. Science is not war.

And Maite - beautiful, precious young Maite, who so longed to care for marine animals - was not an enemy combatant. Maite was life.