Archive for July, 2015

Sandra Bland case – Too many inconsistencies & unanswered questions!

July 31, 2015

There are too many questions still to be answered – this is a very disturbingly confused situation, suggesting a need for an in depth and thorough investigation

As a retired research pathologist and physician the Sandra Bland case is very disturbing to me.

Sandra Bland was arrested after an officer stopped her for not using a signal to change lanes and then, although legally but questionably as he had no reasonable basis to do so, told her to stop smoking and then  got mad at her and made her get out of the car because she seemed to object to this request.

When she got out of the car and was verbally objecting to the officer’s requests, the officer then slammed her to the ground causing her to smash her head down.  Then she complained she couldn’t hear, which indicates she suffered a concussion.

She told the officers she had epilepsy and was on a medication, Kepra.

The jail then claims she committed suicide by hanging three days later with a plastic bag.

Yes it is possible to hang yourself by leaning in after securing your hands so you cannot get the bag or rope away from suffocating you even without any drop. Many prisoners have killed themselves in this manner called “leaning in hanging”.

If the jail denied her  the epilepsy medication, it is possible that she died from a seizure as the medication wore out of her system and then made her prone to a seizure. The stress of the situation and lack of medication could have contributed to having a seizure. Then they could have staged the hanging.  If this was true, then there would be no bleeding after death around the ligature (plastic bag) which was around her neck and no petechiae (pin point hemmorhages).  Petechiae however, are not always present with hanging or suffocation.

If she was strangled and then the hanging staged, the autopsy report, if it was done properly, should show that the ligature furrowing was concentric and not consistent with hanging.  A hanging will have non-concentric furrowing as the ligature has more pressure on one side due to gravity.

There was also plant matter in her abrasions on her back, consistent with the day she was arrested, having been thrown to the ground and dragged.  It is negligence for the jail not to have cleaned and treated her abrasions or allowed her to shower properly for three days to clean the wounds.

If the blood tests show she did not have her medication, then that also would be negligence, as lack of medication needed for epilepsy could have precipitated a seizure.

The reports say she told the officers she was suicidal, but the jail did not have her on a suicide watch. That would also be negligence. Suicide in jails often occurs during the first few days in jail as that is when the detainee is most upset about the situation. Ms. Bland certainly had reason to be upset as the circumstances of the arrest and slamming her to the ground seem excessive.

In addition, she had an unusually high amount of marijuana in her blood.  Therefore, she was given a large amount of marijuana in the jail which she either ingested or smoked. That needs investigation. I am not an expert on effects of marijuana so I cannot comment on whether this can increase suicidal ideation or depression or if it can trigger seizures.

The autopsy does not prove she hung herself.  There are too many questions still to be answered.

A senior well-known forensic pathologist, Dr. Cyril Wecht , who is also an attorney agrees with the above assessment during an interview on the radio here.

Solving mass shooter issue -don’t regulate guns; regulate bullets

July 25, 2015

ammo-222172_1280Gun control will do nothing. The horse is out of the barn. Americans own 50% of all civilian owned guns in the world. We need strict bullet control at least as serious as with driver’s licenses. Licenses of several levels like level one for limited # bullets for a 22. To own high capacity clips or clips for guns with more than one bullet at a time must have advanced level bullet certificates for mental health and from police every two years. To own high caliber bullets or clips with more than a few bullets you would have to have training similar to an officer. Licensees would also have to keep records of their bullets like pharmacists do with narcotics. How many they have, who they give or sell them to, how they were used (target practice, etc).

Louisiana has concealed carry everywhere and more guns per capita than almost any state. Where were the armed citizens here? They clearly could not react quick enough. They likely wouldn’t have been fast enough, accurate enough, and trained enough to counter panic in an active shooter situation.

Armed civilians do more harm than good. Studies have shown that practicing with a stationary target under calm conditions does not prepare you to duck, be aware of your surroundings and avoid tunnel vision of fight or flight situation where you fail to recognize innocent and shoot wildly, and without constant intense training, you do not have muscle memory to overcome the shakiness from stress hormones and fight or flight signals from nervous system removing blood from periphery and giving it to large muscles and center mass plus brain, as well as have the quickness and accuracy needed in a rapidly evolving active shooter situation with innocents running everywhere including in front of your gun. Armed civilians everhywhere will cause more death and injury, not less.

With guns, the only thing needed is a permanent ID embedded in some high tech way so that they can be traced more easily.

More bullets = more death.  Less mental health care = more death.  Remember 1/3 of 30,000 gun deaths in U.S. every year are suicides and 11% of population has mental health issues. You should be required to lock up bullets and loaded guns.


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