A pregnant nanny, who was the wife of an airman stationed at Luke Air Force Base, died Monday after being struck in the chest by a stray bullet while visiting a spot in the Arizona desert known to be a popular target shooting area, police said.
Kami Gilstrap, 24, of Goodyear, was roaming the desert in Buckeye, about 30 miles west of Phoenix, on Sunday during a family outing when she was struck in the chest. She was airlifted to a hospital where she later died.
This sounds like it would have been avoidable only by the victim having knowledge that she was straying into a live-fire area, or possibly having signs posted out where she was hiking to notify the odd hiker of what they were hiking into. But even then, a stray bullet can carry for miles, depending on caliber. Plus, if it is a riccochet, who knows what direction it will take off in, or how much further it will fly?
When I worked in the ER, we treated a young man who had been shot in the head with a .308 caliber bullet at a National Forest shooting area by a shot fired from so far off that his friends never heard the shot. They had walked out to their targets and were setting them back up, and they believed they were the only ones there. The working theory was that he was hit by a bullet fired by a deer hunter further up in the mountains. If so, the long odds are that the hunter never knew he fired a bullet that hit another human in the head, and there is no way for sure to prove that’s even what happened. The victim did not die right then from the GSW. Two years later, when I left working there, that guy was still curled up in a shivering ball with no higher order mental functions at all, fighting off a series of pneumonia infections and bed sores.
I’m not sure what could have been done differently in either of these stories, but they are sad reminders for us as shooters to do everything we can to (A) safely backstop our own rounds, and (B) make sure WE are not in a beaten area ourselves when we shoot on public land. I was reminded by the above linked story of this thread: http://www.texaschlforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=91193.