Some Coventry School Deaths Might Have Been Prevented

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Some Coventry School Deaths Might Have Been Prevented; Schools and Public Places Should Follow Lead of U of Maryland

Some Coventry School Lives Might Have Been Saved

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 29, 2023) – Six people just died in the mass shooting at the Coventry Schools in Nashville, twenty-one recently lost their lives in the mass shooting at Uvalde, fifty-seven victims died in 38 U.S. mass shootings during this month alone, and there have been over 100 mass shootings with about 150 deaths so far this year.

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But some of those lives probably might been saved, and countless needless deaths prevented in the future, if only schools and public places would take the same basic precaution as several schools have, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf; nevertheless noting that not enough is yet known about the timeline and injuries in the Nashville shooting to make even a tentative assessment.

Without disparaging efforts to reduce the availability of AR-15 and other assault rifles, or at least trying to keep them out of the hands of unstable individuals, it's time to recognize that wounds from these weapons are very different from those caused by most other firearms, and so special measures must be taken within minutes after a shooting to save the lives of their victims.

Bullet wounds caused by an AR-15 or a similar rifle, apparently the guns of choice of many mass shooters, typically produce unusual huge gaping injuries which can cause a victim to bleed to death in only a few minutes, long before trained medics can arrive, Banzhaf notes.

If blood loss is not stopped within minutes, victims will die from loss of blood long before any first responders can arrive, much less begin to treat those who have been shot - that's why schools should be prepared to stem massive blood loss immediately.

Bullets fired by the weapon of choice of many school shooters and other mass killers are so horribly different and many times more deadly than most guns because:

  • Bullets fired from them travel at several times the speed of sound, creating massive shock waves, huge cavities inside the victims, and copious bleeding
  • Since the energy of a bullet is proportional to the SQUARE of its velocity, an AR-15-fired bullet traveling at more than 3 times the speed of a handgun bullet has at least 9 times as much highly destructive energy which it can impart to the shooting victim upon impact
  • Bullets fired from an AR-15 are designed to tumble and fragment within the body rather than continue to travel is a straight path, so that much more of that enormous energy is in fact imparted to the victim in the form of harm, rather than passing though and exiting

That's why many public health experts and organizations have created the Stop The Bleed Coalition to raise public awareness of this new problem.

Prevent Blood Loss

The Coalition points out that "uncontrolled bleeding is a major cause of preventative deaths. Approximately 40% of trauma-related deaths worldwide are due to bleeding or its consequences, establishing hemorrhage as the most common cause of preventable death in trauma." [emphasis added]

More relevant to the mass shooter situation is that, as the Coalition warns, "while the average time to bleed out [and die from an AR-15 type wound] is 3-5 minutes, the average time for first responders to arrive - much less to even begin controlling the bleeding - is 7-10 minutes."

For these reasons, the Coalition and other experts strongly recommend that schools and other public places have ready-made and easy-to-use tourniquets which can be applied immediately by lay persons to prevent blood loss and subsequent exsanguination within minutes - long before medics can arrive and take over.

Indeed, to make it easy for untrained teachers and other bystanders to stop the bleeding quickly before the victims bleed to death, the organization has even developed StopTheBleed kits which contain tourniquets, other necessary supplies, and clear instructions. These kits are widely available from many suppliers.

These StopTheBleed kits are similar in concept to the ubiquitous AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) kits, found in schools and most public places, in that they are designed to permit those nearby, without any prior training, to save a life before trained medical help can arrive - by stopping sudden cardiac arrest with an AED, or by stopping gushing arterial bleeding from wounds made by AR-15 style weapon with a tourniquet.


The kits are designed to be mounted in public places, ideally near every mounted AED, where either or both can be used in an emergency by people with no prior training. As just one example, the University of Maryland in Baltimore has some 250 StopTheBleed kits, each mounted next to an AED.

But if such kits prove to be too expensive, schools and other public places should at least stockpile some home-made tourniquets - made from common materials as explained in many places on the Internet - and have them readily available for use in the event of a shooting, experts argue.

Banzhaf notes that such tourniquets can also be used to prevent a victim from bleeding to death before help can arrive even if the bleeding is caused by something other than a gunshot wound; e.g., a fall, debris falling onto a person, an explosion (from a bomb or in a chemistry lab), or by the mishandling of a sharp object.

So, rather than simply waiting and hoping for some legislative fix to keep assault rifles out of the hands of mass shooters, schools and other public places can and should mount StopTheBleed kits next to their AED kits so as to be ready for these two emergency situations with require an immediate response by people with no medical training, argues Banzhaf.

The law professor also notes that, if their failure make such advance preparations can be shown to have caused a person to bleed to death during a mass shooting, there can be mass liability for the negligent institution.