Monday, February 7, 2011

A Bullet Through Your Head Might Not Kill You

It was the year 2007. A sheriff's deputy in Wisconsin killed his ex-girlfriend and five others at a house party, then fled. When he was caught hours later, he used his .40-caliber Glock pistol to commit suicide—shooting himself twice from under the chin, and then once through the right side of his head.

Horrible incident. Any question so far?
Well I've got one: how'd he manage to shoot himself in the head three times?

Most of us think that a bullet to our head is an instant ticket to heaven, or hell. But some of us are so poor at aiming our weapon we'd keep missing the brain. A bullet penetrating the skull without going through the brain actually makes the experience much more agonizing.

When the gun is aimed upward from the chin, like what the man did, the resultant recoil can position the muzzle toward the face. Hence the bullet travels through the mouth and nose instead of through the head, where the brain lies. The victim of such a wound would suffer serious injuries to the face, though the pain isn't necessarily excruciating. Survivors say it's like being punched or kicked in the face. A strong-willed victim might even remain alert enough to use his hands, or, in the case of the sheriff's deputy, to reposition his gun and try again.
There are several factors that determine the severity of a self-inflicted bullet wound to the head.

Firstly is the size of the bullet; we all learn the concept of momentum in our elementary physics course; the larger the bullet, the more damage that is inflicted. Bullets that shatter are especially dangerous, because the fragments can spread into a larger swath of brain tissue.
Secondly, the path taken by the bullet through the skull: the farther from the center of the brain, the greater the chance of survival. If a bullet grazes the tip of one of the lobes of the brain, the patient will probably live with proper medical treatment. If a bullet enters just one hemisphere, it's still possible to make a reasonable recovery.
A bullet in the brain of a Chinese grandmother. She was shot during World War II when she was only 13 years old. The bullet hit her after first going through a bystander's arm. After herbal treatment from her mother, the war wound was forgotten-until surgeons plucked the rusty bullet from her skull. Image:
 Someone who took a shot just to the front of the brain might suffer personality changes, like Phineas Gage, the 19th-century railroad worker who became obstinate and profane after a long metal pole pierced through his skull. A patient with a wound to the side of the head usually arrives at the hospital unconscious but breathing.
Phineas Gage. Image:

This is a true story-Phineas Gage didn't die after a metal pole pierced through his skull. Image:
The worst of all bullet trajectories crosses from one side of the head to the other, striking the center of the brain along the way. Here lie the brain stem, the diencephalon, and other structures that govern basic life functions such as breathing, the heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature.
A bullet through the mouth can kill immediately if it strikes the brain stem. Adolf Hitler died this way.

Nevertheless, a bullet through your head is usually fatal. So don't try this at home.



  1. "So don't try this at home."

    WHO WILL TRY AT HOME...=.=''

    but tis is nice post ..

  2. Replies
    1. I'm trying to find away out where I'm dead,not alive.. Brain damaged. I wish I could just find a single pill that would take seconds.

    2. I just shot myself in the brain, choosing to use the nasal cavity as a point of entry. My brain is about 90% destroyed and I am seeing the Grim Reaper quite clearly right now, summoning me into what appears to be a bright light with an overwhelming sense of peace, but the most amazing thing is I"ve never breathed this clearly before!



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