Vietnam Stories: The powerful reality of guns

For the Monitor
Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Fifty one years ago I experienced my first encounter with gun violence and learned how devastating a gunshot can be to the human body.

While on a platoon-size patrol, my dear friend and platoon mate, Shorty Jackson, was struck in the head by one rifle round. The entry wound was small, but it blew the back of his skull off, killing him immediately. Shorty was the first person killed in my platoon.

As a 19-year-old platoon medic, I knew he was dead; so I wrapped him in a poncho and tried to carry him back. Along the way across the field we were in, other young boys from the platoon asked if Shorty would be okay. His head, by then was exposed. That’s how young and naive we were.

Although it was my first experience with the horrendous damage guns can cause, it was not the last. Since that day 50 years ago, and because of all the other horrors I saw, I have been a staunch advocate for gun control, especially automatic weapons, here in our beloved country.

In a week like this, where so many have been impacted by the use of automatic weaponry, I reiterate my call for a rational discussion of gun control and for some mandate to be issued regarding these lethal combat weapons.

I have missed Shorty and all the others since then.

Doc Bergeron lives in Northwood.