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bodies

KN, p. 123 “Is that a body in the rug?”

 

The painting is done in the office! Prepping really wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be, mainly because I didn’t have to worry about splatters on the old rug. The result is pretty good if I do say so myself. Sheila just gave me a ‘thumbs up,’ so the job passed inspection.

 

The guys at the paint store really did a nice job of matching colors to the rug. They’ve been in business for a long time and we’re happy to go there rather than to a big box warehouse. It’s easy to give word-of-mouth referrals to such a reliable, helpful operation.

 

We had a local flooring company do the new rug. They pulled out the furniture, tore up the old rug, laid the new rug, and moved the furniture back in – all in about three hours. Great crew, well-organized, nice guys.

 

I hung around most of the time, ‘supervising,’ and told them about ‘Kerrian’s Notebook.’ At first, there were surprised looks when I described some of the pages, but after a while they relaxed and had a few laughs. I even got one of the guys to agree to be rolled up in the old rug so that I could take a picture before it was carted off. Honest – the young man is fine and was only inside the rug for five minutes.

 

Then, the very night that the rug was put in, a TV show aired that had a body in a rug as part of the storyline – “How to Get Away with Murder.” Great cast, fun basic concept so far. I can’t give anything important away, but the rug pops up more than once.

 

I started thinking about all the times that rugs have been used as a way to hide bodies in the movies and on TV. Kidnappers carry the victims out of their homes, murderers dispose of bodies, terrorists get rid of the targets… it seems to be an easy way to dispose of (or hide or move) the evidence without raising suspicion even in broad daylight. Or at least delay discovery of the crime.

 

And, the method is perfectly believable, as long as the deed is carried out correctly.

There are physical realities to be dealt with – rugs are heavy and bulky. There’s a reason that carpeting is sliced up into smaller pieces before the crew carries it out to the curb. It’s more manageable then.

 

After seeing the guys work with the old carpeting in my house, it makes sense that more than one person should carry the body-in-the-rug on TV or in the movies. One guy or gal at either end of the rug and probably one to support the middle. Bodies flop and bend, so somebody needs to hold up the sagging section if a lightweight area rug is being used. And, keep in mind that most adults weigh anywhere from 120 to 220 pounds. No way is anybody except a body builder going to toss a rug and a body over one shoulder. Too bulky. It’s possible for one person to drag a body-in-a-rug to move it within a house, but if any lifting has to be done, the weight will be a factor and that’s where at least a second person is needed.

 

Years ago, I watched an average sized woman in a made-for-TV movie, roll up her tall, dead husband in a rug, lift and carry that body all by herself out to a car and put it in the trunk. At no time did she have help. I wanted to throw popcorn at the screen.

 

The funnier episodes have arms slipping out of a less than well-tied edge, or feet sticking out an end as the partners-in-crime carry the bodies out to the waiting vans – in full view of the neighborhood. What? You think that everybody has a big enough piece of rug to hide a body in, right when they need it?

 

Would you wonder about the neighbors if you saw a rug being carried to the car? Would you start counting family members?

 

 

*I promise, no rugs have been used to hide any actual dead bodies during the writing of this post.

 

*Many thanks to Blake Lee for ‘posing’ inside the rug. He was a great sport!

 

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KN, p. 122 “How many bodies at the yard sale?”

 

(WARNING:  Some photos may be upsetting to some people.)

Last month, Sheila and I had a chance to attend a simulation with law enforcement, firefighters, EMS professionals, and students in action at a multi-casualty accident scene. We saw how their skills are tested when a drunk driver runs a traffic light and smashes into a yard sale, killing and maiming several people.

 

How do the EMS, firefighters, and police learn to work together to handle the horrific scene? They practice, in demonstrations just like this one.

 

Typically, an onlooker at an accident calls 911, gives whatever details are available – location of the accident, number of people injured, whether or not there is more than one car involved. Rarely are the callers calm and collected, but the dispatcher has to keep his/her cool, no matter how bad it sounds. The information is passed on to the agencies that can help and usually, the closest one to the accident site responds.

 

The First Responder assesses the accident, notifies Dispatch as to what other help may be needed, and establishes a perimeter. In this scenario, the First Responder was a deputy from the Sheriff’s Department.

 

He took a look at the scene, called for backup, made some decisions, checked to see who was still alive, and helped those he could while he waited.

 

 

Fire and Rescue arrived at the scene next.

 

The driver of the car did not appear to be injured, was not pinned inside, and no gasoline was leaking from anywhere, but the Firefighters were needed to lift the car off two victims who were trapped underneath it. One was ‘dead,’ but one was still alive.

 

The Firefighters used a Hurst Spreader (commonly known as the ‘jaws of life’) in addition to assorted chocks and lumber in order to stabilize the car before pulling the victims free.

 

Standard procedure indicates that after the initial assessment and after additional help has arrived, law enforcement takes care of the driver issues and rescue takes care of the victims. Law enforcement continues to help where needed.

A Breathalyzer test was administered to the driver, since the road was not wet, and there was no other apparent reason for him to plow into a front yard full of people. Witness statements were taken from those involved at the scene. Onlookers were kept at a safe distance throughout the simulation.

 

 

 

The ambulances arrived and EMS workers evaluated the injured people.

While cries of “Please help us,” and “She needs help,” were heard continuously in the background, one of the EMS workers assigned black, red and yellow tags to the victims.

Yellow tag:  broken bones, but alert

Red tag:  will die if not treated immediately, still breathing on own

Black tag:  not breathing

 

After the car was elevated, the person underneath was pulled out, strapped onto a stretcher, then transported to the hospital.

 

 

 

EMS workers enlisted the aid of lightly injured victims and urged them to talk to the more seriously hurt. Keeping the injured awake and alert was an important part of assessment. If the victims lost consciousness, or had slurred speech, then they went to the head of the line for treatment and transport.

 

 

 

One of the EMS gals told us later that it’s not unusual to have to talk people into leaving others behind in order to get help for themselves at the hospital. Some victims appear to be fine, but wander around the area in confusion and shock, unaware of cuts and more serious injuries of their own.

One of the victims who kept crying out for help for others, eventually collapsed, was put on backboard and then lifted to a gurney for transport.

 

The last victim was treated and transported, the driver was arrested and taken to jail and all that remained was the cleanup. The firefighters took off their jackets, gathered their gear and re-stowed it in the rescue truck.

What was the difference between this simulation and the explosion simulation we witnessed last year? That one included unknown perpetrators and a continuing threat that widened from the campus to the airport and public transportation. Both law enforcement and EMS personnel gathered evidence at the scene (which in some cases was embedded in the victims).

 

At the Yard Sale simulation, the evidence collected was in the form of photos of the scene, the Breathalyzer test, as well as witness statements from onlookers and victims. The threat was specific to the scene and dealt with.

 

Both were crime scenes, but played out quite differently.

 

As we saw last year at the explosion simulation, the three groups at the ‘Yard Sale’ were professional and took the simulation seriously. Their interaction appeared seamless and we were impressed by the way they worked near each other in order to complete their assigned tasks and then jumped in to help each other when needed. Well done!

 

*Photos by Patti Phillips, except one.
All taken at Guilford County Community College, in North Carolina.

 

*Photo taken and shared by Terry Odell, writer. Thanks! Follow her blog and find out about her books at www.terryodell.com

 

 

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