William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Saturday, 12, March, 2011

It Doesn’t Happen That Way

Filed under: Boomstick,Forensics — williamthecoroner @ 19:53

So there I was, at the Diner on East 55th Street, where they have the best french toast in the city. It’s got cinnamon or something in the batter, and it’s really the best in town. It’s a bit of a crap-shoot going there, because one of their servers doesn’t really pay attention. She’s nice, but you’re never sure what you are going to get to eat, and what semblance it has to what you actually ordered. The other day I ordered scrambled eggs, rye toast, bacon, with grits and orange juice, and I got over easy eggs, wheat toast, sausage and tomato juice. It adds to the challenge, particularly if you haven’t had coffee yet. But I lucked out this time, and got my french toast.

A woman comes in, sits down near me, and in a complete and total failure to read social cues begins to talk to me. I certainly did not act approachable, not making eye contact, eating, paying attention to the paper, answering in monosyllabic grunts when spoken to, but anyway. This woman had a bee in her bonnet about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Evidently she had seen a photograph of the shooting, and there was no blood on Ms. Giffords or on the person helping her. This, of course, was evidence of a conspiracy of…something. (I’m not clear on exactly what, but people are covering up the truth and lying.)

Now, bullet holes don’t always have lots of blood. The bleeding may be internal, and it really depends on what the bullet struck, what anatomic structures it went through, the position of the victim. There are many variables. Here is a photo of a contact GSW from WebPath, and there is very little blood. People who don’t see wounds often aren’t familiar, and life is not like TV, where things are excessively gory for dramatic effect.

While I do teach Forensic pathology, I’m not obliged to teach everyone all the time. That way lies pedantry and being a crashing bore. I also don’t teach people over the breakfast table, no-one would want to eat with me otherwise. I just smiled, got the check, and left. At least I got a blog post out of it.



  1. I dunno, sounds like a reasonable idea to me, discussing wounds, etc., over a meal. Of course, my dad was a LEO and I grew up on accident scene photographs….

    Comment by anon — Sunday, 13, March, 2011 @ 19:18 | Reply

  2. You’re a bad influence sir!
    I clicked upon the link to webpath.
    Not only did I learn what I thought I knew about gunshot wounds…
    It ‘Schooled’ me regarding my Diabetes more than I liked.
    Now if I could just get the ER doctors to read up.
    I might live to regret something!

    Comment by john b — Thursday, 24, March, 2011 @ 04:38 | Reply

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