By Marc Kelley
Syndicated by: Montana News
No matter where I was assigned when I was working as an RN in the Emergency Department, I would get asked the question: What bring most people into the ER? The answer is just as true today, as it was 20 years ago….Stupidity, theirs or someone else's. There is no shortage of stories I could share you about the patients I personally cared for, but in the spirit of confidentiality, I will share with you, not a story of one my patients, but rather an outstanding example of the thought process which brings many people into the ER. In keeping with my full disclosure, I will tell you, this is a true story which made national news, neither the names nor the faces have been changed to protect the stupidity of our subjects.
Growing up, my Grandmother who cared for me a great deal of the time, was always teaching life's lessons, the expectations she had for us as human beings and her accumulation of experiences learned from her own childhood, growing up in Russia. My Grandmothers parenting style was not that of a harsh disciplinarian, but rather a story teller, using both parables and anecdotes to make her point. Many of the lessons she taught me, have proven invaluable as I navigated my life.
From my earliest memories, my Grandmother taught me not to lie. She taught me, if I told one lie, I would have to tell another to cover up that lie and then still another, leaving a story, not even my own Mother would believe. In 2019, we live in a world of seemingly endless tales, lacking even the most basic aspects of the truth. No longer is the truth the truth, but rather, statements are now framed with the caveat of people speaking, "their truth."
As do so many stories which lead to an ER visit, this story too, begins with the phrase…Hey, hold my beer and watch this. On Saturday March 30, 2019 in Benton County, Arkansas, neighbors Eugene Ferris (age 50) and Christopher Hicks (age 36) had been drinking and shooting their 22 cal rifles (the first good decision). At some point, the pair was struck by the notion, they should test their recently acquired, bullet proof vest (the second good decision). Ferris retrieved his body armor from his home, donned his vest and instructed Hicks to shoot him (the third good decision). Standing approximately 20 feet from Ferris, Hicks took dead aim and discharged the rifle. The projectile struck Ferris in the chest, center mass on his right nipple. Thankfully, the Good Lord saw fit to protect our drunken friend and the body armor did in fact, stop the round from penetrating the vest. Having cared for law enforcement officers who had been struck by a gunshot while wearing their own body armor, I can honestly tell you, they each told me, it felt as if they had been "struck by a baseball bat." Often times ribs are broken and on every occasion, a nasty, swollen, bruise is the very best outcome you could ask for.
At this point in time, all reason and thought, had vanished from our two brain children. Ferris, angry and hurting from his wound; insisted, it was now his friends turn to put on the vest and his turn to do the shooting (the fourth good decision). Hicks then put on the body armor, turned his back to Ferris and allowed his friend to shoot him in the back. Simply firing one round did not satiate, Ferris's rage and he emptied his magazine of its remaining six rounds, all of which struck his friend. Once again, the body armor did its job, and Hicks received only the same swollen, painful bruises, as did his friend.
When the adrenaline wore off, Hicks began complaining of difficulty breathing and asked his friend to take him to the local hospital. Finally, a good decision right? Not a chance, our two morons, put their heads together and realized, if they went to the hospital and told the story of how they shot each other, a justifiable, psychiatric evaluation, would surly be part of their ER visit. Instead, taking a page from the Jussie Smollet hoax, our pair decided to spin a tale of how their injuries occurred (the fifth good decision). Just like Smollet, the pair told "their truth", to hospital staff and law enforcement. In a sworn statement, Ferris told police he and Hicks were hired as bodyguards to protect "an asset". When the three men entered Hobbs State Park, at 10 pm on Saturday night, they were confronted by a man wearing a "white suit". The white suited mystery man, promptly opened fire on them, striking both Ferris and Hicks. Only thru their quick actions and careful thoughts, was the pair able to save the asset from sure death.
In the course the ensuing investigation, no man in a white suit could be found, no weapons, shell casings or any evidence of the alleged shootout could be found. To make matters even worse, when the authorities interviewed Ferris's wife, she did in fact, tell the truth. Mrs. Ferris, explained to the investigators, her husband and his friend, had "made a habit of combining drinking and gunplay for many years and it was just a matter of time before one or the other got hurt".
The pair were
arrested by local law
enforcement and were each charged with one count of felony aggravated assault. If found guilty of these charges, the two men face up to 6 years in prison. When the
pair appeared in court, neither was represented by an attorney, bolstering the notion, their decision making paradigm remained fully intact.