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by Sam Coffman.
Part 2: "Not in My Town"There was barely a quarter moon, but the reflection off the water and the white concrete of the bridge gave a slight back-glow to the area of the river around the bridge where the shooter was hiding.
There was ample cover between the three teammates and the shooter, or shooters -- rocks, fallen logs, a small spring house and some concrete slabs. John ran to the closest decent cover he could find straight ahead, in a space of about 4 or 5 seconds.
Concealment: Using Brush and Shrubs as a Backdrop"I'm up, he sees me, I'm down," as the old saying went. Once down, John turned his head back toward his two teammates who had already flanked on the right and left of him by about 50 meters each. They had both fired two shots each before moving immediately and were not visible now, and knew that against the concealment of the high grass, the shrubs and the occasional house on the edge of town, they were not easy targets as long as they weren't firing.
Facing away from the bridge, John knew it would be very difficult to pinpoint his location from the one word, "Set!" that he called out. This let both Tom and Jeff know he was ready to cover them. They all waited in silence for about 30 seconds, hoping the shooter was stupid enough to fire blindly and give himself away, or that there might be any signs of more than one shooter.
John saw a small portion of outline that did not fit in against the bridge. He sighted through his AR-15's tritium sights at the outline and waited. "Moving" came the calls from right and left. "Move!" came his reply a second before pulling the trigger twice.
He saw the outline change shape as it disappeared from sight. He was sure he saw a sharp movement that coincided with the shots and was pretty sure he had hit the shooter in that first volley. The team of three continued their tactical bounds and sparse covering fire to save ammo as they continued to press on and flank the area around the bridge...
Treating the WoundedBack at Jason's house... After first moving Jason the short distance necessary to be in a more secure location inside the house, which also gave Farrell some light to work with, he quickly cut away the clothing around Jason's wound and examined it. The bullet - fired from a 9mm Glock that had been retrieved when a tarp was put over the headless biker's corpse - had entered and exited Jason's body near the left floating rib.
The external bleeding was already under control both at the entrance and exit wound area, just from pressure and Kerlix gauze, but Farrell was far more concerned with internal bleeding -- specifically from the spleen. Secondary to this for the short term -and very much the primary concern after the internal bleeding question was answered - was the possible puncture of the peritoneum.
There was already an ugly bruise forming around the lower rib cage, and at least one rib was undoubtedly cracked, which was probably where most of the pain was coming from.
"How you feeling, Jason? You think you'll be good to ride some horses tomorrow?" Farrell asked dryly.
"Ugh, it only hurts when I laugh, so knock it off, please" Jason answered.
This was a good sign. Jason's skin color looked much better, and his attitude had greatly improved now that he knew his injury was being looked after. As always, a large part of shock was psychological.
The door opened and Tom walked in, accompanied by Doc Thompson. Doc was a retired veterinarian who lived in town and had worked in the area most of his career.
What They Found on ReconTom nodded to Farrell, "shooter down, we did an initial recon of the area and it looks like it was just the two of them. They left their bikes on the far side of the river and may have been either scouting for a bigger group, or wanting to steal something. John and Jeff taking care of security right now. Figure we'll have a lot to talk about as soon as it gets light."
Doc Thompson cleared his throat. "When we got hit by the looters a few months back, they were on motorcycles too. Not sure if these were the same guys, but if so, they're part of the group who cleared my whole place out."
The magnitude of Doc's words rang heavily in the air as Farrell continued to work on Jason's wound. He was cleaning the wound openings front and back now, using a fresh wound wash compound from his med kit that Jessica had brought. He wasn't sure when she had appeared on the scene, but true to her nature of being both very attractive as well as very practical to Farrell, she had immediately ran to his sleeping area and found his medical kits. Farrell had noted this fact quietly with deep appreciation.
Doc's previous statement reminded Farrell that in his assessment of town medical gear, they had almost no usable pharmaceutical drugs. Doc was the only person in town with antibiotics -- many of which were already expired or could not be kept refrigerated -- and the quick burglary raid that had occurred a few months back had completely emptied his personal, veterinary medical stores.
Farrell finished cleaning the wound area and turned to Doc.
"Here Doc, you mind taking a look at this while I see what I've got in my bag?"
"Thought you'd never ask," came the wry response. Doc knelt and looked closely at Jason.
"You done taking bullets for the day or should I come back in case you want to get shot up a little more first?"
"Hah!" Came the retort from Jason, but he delivered it with obvious pain. "Hurts to breathe, much less talk, you old fool, so make yourself useful instead of gabbing, please." Jason smiled through gritted teeth.
Herbal Medicine: Slowing or Stopping Internal BleedingFarrell rummaged briefly through his medical kit and retrieved what he was looking for. Freshly tinctured herbal mixture to help slow or stop internal bleeding. This mixture consisted of fresh Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) leaves, seed pods and flowers which he had harvested a few months earlier, fresh yarrow (Achillea millefolium) leaves and flowers, and wild geranium (Geranium spp.) root. This was the best choice he had to help slow down any internal bleeding that might be happening, and he needed to administer it immediately. He handed it to Jessica who obviously wanted to help.
"Can you put about 4 capfuls of this into a cup, along with about an equal amount of water?" Farrell asked her.
Even in this dimly lit room with the stress of an bullet wound, Farrell couldn't help but take a few seconds to appreciate her athletic frame and striking features, accentuated by her long, dark hair.
Jessica nodded determinedly, took the bottle from him quickly and was back in a less than a minute with a cup for Farrell.
"Here Jason," Farrell said as he squatted down to hand Jason the cup. "Drink this down quickly. We need to give you about this amount every half hour or so for the next several hours while we watch to make sure you are not bleeding internally.
Doc looked at Farrell.
"Can I hand this back over to you? I'm going to go back to my place and see what I may have that could be useful here in case we have to do more than just give him your magic potions."
Effectiveness of Medicinal PlantsFarrell smiled as he took back over. The jest was a friendly one. Farrell had already convinced Doc years ago how effective medicinal plants could be when he helped him treat heartworm in a stray dog he had rescued, using an anti-parasite formula (black walnut, wormwood, elecampane, horse radish and ginger).
At the time there was a six month waiting list for Ivermectin. Doc's skepticism had turned to intrigue when the dog stopped the typical "heartworm cough" within an hour of taking this formula, and 10 months later after "experimental" treatment (as Doc put it) using Farrell's treatment protocol, tested negative for heartworm. He had become quite interested in using plant medicine after that experience, but still liked to joke with Farrell about being a "witch doctor."
Farrell looked at Jason as he knelt by Jason's damaged side. He always found it best to communicate exactly with any patient exactly what was going on, to include good news and bad news.
Looking for Signs of Infection"Jason, I'm going to gently push in on some of the areas around this wound. What I'm most worried about besides possible internal bleeding, is any kind of break in the two layers of tissue that surround the gut and organs. That would mean infection, and I'm looking specifically for any severe pain, hardness and redness around the area."
Farrell pushed gently above and below the wound site on the front of the abdomen, below the ribs. The tissue felt normal, not hard or bloated. The discoloration around the ribs above the bullet hole had continued to darken and grow, but Farrell suspected that was mostly soft-tissue and bone injury around the ribs. When he had initially done his check on Jason after they moved him indoors, he had checked his breathing and had been quietly monitoring it since.
What to Look For in a Gunshot VictimThere didn't seem to be any sign of damaged diaphragm (respiratory distress, diminished breath sounds, dyspnea while he was lying on his back, coughing) at that time and nothing had changed. Nor did there seem to be any issues with his breathing that would indicate lung involvement. This would probably have been apparent immediately with diminished rise and fall of the chest on one side, growing shock and apprehensiveness as Jason would find it increasingly difficult to take a breath, and even later signs of jugular vein distension or tracheal deviation away from the injured side as the lung started to collapse and the area around it (the pleural cavity) began to fill with air or blood... or both.
Farrell finished his more thorough examination of the area around, above and below the wound sites, front and back. "You were pretty damn fortunate, I'd say so far," Farrell told Jason.
"If I'd been fortunate, I wouldn't have gotten shot in the first place," came the inevitable gruff reply from Jason. "It hurts to breathe, but it feels to me like a really bad cracked set of ribs, which is a feeling I am very familiar with," Jason continued.
Farrell nodded. "I agree that may be all we're looking at here. Our biggest concern is still going to be infection, but I have some things we can use to help out with that greatly. Also, we need to heal up those ribs, which it just so happens I can also probably help you out with."
At that moment, the door burst open and Josh Barden, teenage son of the Barden family who lived in the center of town, rushed in.
His face was flushed and he was breathing heavily, as though he had been running hard. He was normally a pretty quiet kid and a very fast learner. He'd been excelling at the marksmanship training and Farrell was impressed by his motivated attitude.
The Enemy's First Strike: Just a Probe"Tom said to tell you he thinks this was just a probe. He said you'd know exactly what that means. He's meeting right now with Jeff, John and the Council. He said that you should get out there as soon as you can."
The Council was the name the town had given to 5 of the town residents who had stepped up to take charge of town leadership needs. They had formed it 3 days earlier. Farrell had made it clear that although his team was able to train and help, they didn't want to have the added burden of being suddenly in charge of every decision that had to happen.
None of the townspeople knew Farrell's teammates, and this was a typical rural town where it took time for people to trust each other. Now more than ever. It already spoke volumes about how the town felt about Farrell that they had allowed him to organize their defenses and infrastructure so quickly after returning home. Not to mention that he had convinced several families to give up their homes and move into the defensible interior of the town. Farrell and his team didn't want to push their authority, as they knew that town decisions would go much more smoothly when they were made primarily by the strongest and best known residents.
Farrell nodded at Josh. "Tell him I'll be out there in 5 minutes."
He took a deep breath. This was already going to be a long day and the sun wasn't going to rise for at least another hour yet...
He left Jessica to watch over Jason. He left her with the herbal tincture for internal bleeding, along with fresh bandages and a tincture for the pain, shock, and to help him get some much needed rest (St. John's Wort, Anemone, Skullcap, Passionflower).
Treating the Wounded: Follow Up CareAdditionally, he gave her an anti-microbial, immune-stimulating formula from his herbal first aid kit which contained Sida Acuta, Echinacea augustifolia and purpurea, Algerita, Chaparral, Myrrh, Usnea and Boneset.
He also left instructions on keeping Jason hydrated and watching for shock, signs of infection (severe pain, fever, redness), any sign of difficulty breathing (lung or diaphragm involvement), and suggested for nutrition that they break into some of the canned bone broth in storage for him to sip on slowly as they watched him.
Farrell knew what they could do next for infection, as there would undoubtedly be some, but he wanted to make absolutely sure that the infection was only from the bullet traveling through skin and muscle, and grazing bone, and not from actually perforating the peritoneum which surrounds the intestines and other internal organs.
Jessica listened quietly and attentively, nodding and repeating back his instructions to him perfectly without him having to ask.
"This is someone who is naturally adept at dealing with emergency situations," Farrell noted to himself.
Enemy TacticsAs he walked quickly to meet up with Tom and the rest of the group, Farrell thought about the news of the attack being a probe. Sending in some kind of attack and then watching the response was the best way to gauge the strengths -- and more importantly the weaknesses -- of the enemy.
With that in mind, most likely these bikers had been watching the entire battle from somewhere very close by. The fact that Tom knew it was a probe gave Farrell some sense of relief though. It might be that his team had spotted someone, which might even mean they could put a recon element on that biker recon team. "Scouting the scout," as such.
Scouting the ScoutIt would be very useful to know exactly what size force they were up against and where their base was. Depending on what information Tom had for him, it might be time for a reconnaissance mission.
At any rate, if this attack was a probe, there would very likely be a real attack soon. However, Farrell's team had a few surprises of their own that nobody knew about yet. Farrell's weapons cache had more than just rifles and handguns in it. Over the years, anticipating the complete collapse, Farrell had managed to acquire both C4 and dynamite and store it in his caches. He had some other materials as well that would help them create some improvised explosives with contact fuses, as well as early warning devices that nobody would want to run into in the middle of the night.
However, before any of that could take place, what this town needed fast was good communication (commo).
They needed lookouts, early warning and a lot better security. He had some ideas as to how they could make all this happen...
(Next... Setting up LP/OP's, radio and improvised communications, reconnaissance planning, introduction to improvised early warning devices.)
Continue to Part 3: The American Wars: Rural Towns and Gangs Collide...
"How to Fight and Survive the Coming American Wars" puts real life tactics of U.S. Special Forces to work in an "After the Collapse" scenario. Learn tactics for armed warfare and defensive strategy by following these fictional scenarios. In a dangerous land, you don't have to be a sitting duck. Check back next week for part 3. Subscribe to the Crisis Newsletter and we'll let you know when it's posted."
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