What should a person think if their medical history says:  ”Stabbed three times, shot two times?’  That it’s a terrible genetic anomaly?  That they somehow attract stainless steel or copper-jacketed projectiles?  That the health-care system has failed them?  That we need more laws regulating kitchen knives, box-cutters and all manner of firearms?

I’ve encountered this phenomenon on more than one occasion.  The chief complaint may be one of many things, but the history says ‘stabbed twice; shot thrice; stabbed and shot at same time.  Coma from assault, stabbed.’

Now, I’m not talking about any Army Rangers here, nor Air Force PJ’s, Navy Seals or Marine Force Recon.  I’m talking your average Joe (or to be fair and modern, your average Jane).  People who, in the course of normal life, really have no job requirements that should, in any way, expose them to a repeated risk of stabbing, shooting, beating or other violent assault.  Just people, like you and  me.

Scratch that.  Not so much like you and me in all likelihood.  I mean, your average person might get shot or stabbed, but usually only once.  If  it does happen and they survive, it was a horrible violent crime, a terrible accident or something of that sort.  And if your average person survives, she or he tends to pay attention in the future, because being stabbed or shot is just SO not fun!  Well, not for most of us.

Not so our glorious emergency department population.  Serial stabbing, chronic shooting, assorted interactions with those brave folks in blue, these are the stuff of life for all too many people

Fool me once, shame on you...but twice?

Fool me once, shame on you...but twice?

.  Like the man I recently saw railing at security in his drunken state, telling the story of his life, and how he used to work for the police, make that know the police, make that, get routinely arrested by the police;  ‘why, I remember the first time I got arrested.’  Well, at least he was neither shot nor stabbed.

I guess I just wonder sometimes.  Lots of things cross my mind when individuals come to me sliced open or pierced in various ways.  Like, ‘is it advantageous, from a strictly violent crime standpoint, to be moderately obese?  Knives often seem to have a hard time getting through layers of adipose, you know.  It’s like a big suit of fluffy, adipose-filled body armor.  But I digress.

What I really wonder is this:  if you’re stabbed or shot on several different occasions, should you ask yourself, ‘is it me?’  Should you reassess your life?  Should you reconsider your friends and acquaintances, or the places you frequent?  Should you think carefully about the amount of alcohol you ingest?  Should you just learn to finally catch-up on some of those paint-by-number sets, watch Lonesome Dove and stay home with your mouth shut?  Maybe.

In an era of health-care reform, when we frantically discuss how to use our dollars better, some folks (who might well fall into the uninsured category) might want to get a handle on their chronic condition of being stabbed and/or shot.

And the best way to start might be by looking in the mirror and accepting a smidge of responsibility.

Here’s to one more day without having anything cut open by anyone else!


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