Self-Defense Tip: Have Someone Check You for Injury After a DGU

 Oh da baaaaabeee. (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

I’m red/green color blind. Red doesn’t “pop” for me. At the same time I’m something of an adrenalin junkie. Whether I’m flirting with a Texas beauty [not linked] or shooting my Caracal F at the range, when the adrenalin kicks in I’m feeling no pain. Literally. So the first I noticed I had blood on my gun was when the grip felt a little . . . squishy. I was leaking from a tiny cut on the index finger my support hand. No biggie. More to the point, I had no idea how it happened, or even that it was happening. The same phenomena may well apply when you’re bleeding profusely, or your bones are broken, or you’ve got serious internal injuries, during and/or after a defensive gun use (DGU). Ask me how I know . . .

Nope. Not a DGU. Given my inability to play well with others, I have a remarkably DGU-free record; one that I hope to maintain until I die in my sleep many years hence. No, I experienced painless serious injury after a parachute accident.

Actually, I’m not so sure it was an accident. I’d flirted with the parachute packer’s seriously sexy girlfriend in middle-of-nowhere Georgia. But I am sure that I broke my ankle upon landing (if that’s what you want to call it). As in my foot was facing the wrong way.

Pain? None. Blood? Lots. A tree branch had sliced open my chin. But after that odd snapping noise (which wasn’t a tree) I felt perfectly fine. It was a beautiful day and I’d survived a streamer. Only I wasn’t OK. A slow trip to the ER later (“Bobby, I think you’ve twisted your ankle”), a transfusion and a plate and pins convinced me I’d been a little . . . cavalier.

I tell this story because A) it beats answering 69 messages in my in-box and B) you need to make sure you’re not dying after a gunfight. To coin a phrase, that’s not so easy, Mr. Bond.

Unless you’re Nick “I Carry a Tourniquet In My Pocket At All Times” Leghorn, you’re unlikely to have the knowledge, presence of mind and physical ability (adrenalin numbs hands) to adequately check yourself for injuries after hostilities. Chances are you’ll be happy as Larry, sitting on the top of The Mother of All Adrenalin Dumps.

Eventually, an ambulance guy will check you out. Which is all well and good provided you make it—you know, live—until the ambulance arrives.

So ask someone else to check you out ASAP after a DGU. “Check me out! Look for injuries!” Not the best pick-up line in the world (don’t ask me how I know) but a command well worth issuing in the aftermath of a violent attack. [NB: If you're leaking, ask Nick for a tourniquet. Or use whatever's handy.]

Remember: take care of number one. If you’re dead you’re not going to be much help to anyone. Except, perhaps, your inheritors. Equally, TTAG only publishes posts about successful defensive gun uses. Just sayin’ . . .

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

29 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Have Someone Check You for Injury After a DGU

  1. avatarjwm says:

    Ain’t it just so. Stress, adrenaline, fear. Ask 5 people that were in the same incident and you’ll get 7 different stories, none of which matches what you think happened. Get help as soon as possible. Medical, legal and above all else STFU. If at all possible call 911 before the shooting starts. Be damn sure you’re the first one to call 911.

  2. avatarScott says:

    I do this a lot mountain biking, usually shin and lower leg injuries. You don’t even feel it. Then you get home, and the wife asks about it, and you’re like “Oh wow, look at that”

  3. avatarRalph says:

    In addition, it’s wise from a legal standpoint to insist that an ambulance take you to the hospital for a checkup. Zimmerman should have done that and it’s hurting his case that he didn’t. It also pays to say that you’re too upset or hurt to give a statement to the cops right then and there.

    Cops don’t have to give a statement for 48-72 hours after an officer-involved shooting. You shouldn’t either after a you-involved shooting.

  4. avatarTom in Oregon says:

    This can’t be stressed enough.
    Be careful in what you say to the Doc as well. He Will quote you in your chart notes. And if those notes get subpoenaed…
    Tip- if you’re in a DGU, call 9-1-1 and make a generic statement like, “send an ambulance, someone’s has been shot” after you give the address, hang up. Then call your BFF to high tail it to your location. You’ll need a calm head thinking for you.

  5. avatarBob says:

    Just finished a NRA outside the home class, and one point they hammered was to after ANY sort of fight check you self for wounds. Many people who were in a knife fight did not know their attacker had a knife until they felt woozy and passed out from blood loss.

    • avatarRalph says:

      Oh, yes. A friend of mine got stuck in the back and thought that she’d been punched. Ten minutes later she was calling 911 and on the verge of exsanguination.

    • avatarCA.Ben says:

      Back in high school, a locker room fight during PE turned into a one-sided stabbing. I saw the guy get stabbed in the upper thigh, immediately after which he calmly walked over to the teacher’s office, and plainly said “Mr. [PE Teacher], I think I’ve been stabbed.”

      Didn’t even feel it.

  6. avatarjason says:

    damn skydiving gun owners. cant take us anywhere.

  7. avatarSwarf says:

    I hear all the time around here that I should stfu and call “my” lawyer, but I don’t have a lawyer. I don’t know any lawyers, and to my knowledge I have only ever even spoken to two lawyers in person, and that was party chatting, not “please keep me out of jail I will give you money” time.

    So for those of us who aren’t lawyered up and couldn’t afford to be even if we wanted to, how does one to about finding the right person in a crises? Google “I just shot a robber what now?”

    I’ve been meaning to write to Robert about this question. Seems like it would make a good post in and of itself.

    Unless, of course, I’m the only guy who doesn’t know how to find the right lawyer right now.

  8. avatarIng says:

    “Parachute packer” sounds kinda like an insult. (Shut the hell up, you freaking parachute packer!)

    Possible insults aside, this is good advice. Filed away for future emergency reference.

  9. avatarBlake says:

    Well, considering half the time I don’t even know I’ve hurt myself until I or my wife notice the blood, this is probably excellent advice.

  10. avatarHuman Being says:

    Lesson transmitted: never flirt with the girlfriend of the man who packs your parachute.

  11. avatarOODAloop says:

    Here’s a good time to review a previous post for Beating the Reaper, Trauma Medicine for the CCW Operator. Totally worth looking at. Points out that you need to finish the fight first, get the heck out of Dodge if you can and pay attention to yourself before any buddies or other wounded…

  12. avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    I was in a motorcycle accident about 20 years ago. Head on, just managed to clear my front wheel so instead of flipping over the handlebars into her (73 year old blind woman driving the other car) windshield, her bumper plowed into my leg at a combined closing speed of 85mph, kicking me and the bike off sideways to do a few horizontal mid-air somersaults before sliding a few hundred feet through the tall grass.

    My first instinct was to jump up and have some “words” (insert fist pounding palm gesture here) with whoever it was who just decided they needed my lane instead of their own. I ripped off my full face helmet, without undoing the strap (?) and was about to leap to my feet when I thought to myself, “I just had a head on crash, what are the chances I’m not injured?” So I checked myself out and yes there was substantial damage and I decided it would be better to just lay there and wait for an ambulance. Then I started to feel the pain. Must have been 45 seconds after impact.

    There is no pain killer quite like adrenaline.

  13. avatarAlan W. Rose says:

    One of many anecdotes from my “EMS files” that illustrate the author’s point:

    (very rural area)

    Dispatch: Respond to the Sheriff’s Dept for a man shot. He’s in the brown car.”

    (man sitting in passenger seat of car holding towel around arm)

    Man: “I got shot in the arm. My brother drove me up here after he shot me. I’m OK!”

    Me: “How many shots did you hear?”

    Man: “One. I’m OK.”

    Me: “Lift your shirt up, it’s bloody…. Ooo lookie, you’ve got a bullet hole in your belly right where it came out of your arm. You’re taking a helicopter ride today!”

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