Biker Down: Peter McKay

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File this under “holy shit!”

not a typical commute home

(This post is a draft. I will edit as I have the energy. Thank you!)

I am sitting up in my hospital bed with my MacBook Pro. Harborview has the UW WiFi network. I have access by virtue of being an alumnus. Anita brought my laptop to me tonight to make feel “normal.”

Last night, I left Bellevue at 7pm on my bicycle under clear skies and crisp cold temperature. It was one of those wonderful commutes home. While it was dark, I had my usual compliment of front and rear lights.

It was cold, but I stayed warm under my long-sleeve wool t-shirt, bib shorts, tights, wool socks, wool glove liners, bicycle gloves and long-sleeve yellow jersey. Every pedal stroke/revolution of the crank brought warmth into my core. I was very happy.

I enjoy riding during autumn: the colors, the scents, the “rice crispy” crackle of orange and red maple leaves underneath my spinning wheels.

I am nearly home. A mile from home, I hit a pot-hole and puncture my front tire. I replace the tube, but have difficulty getting the tire bead to hold to the rim. On the third try, it holds. I mount my bicycle, ride another two blocks and a car passes to my left. I hear gun-like shots and immediately feel pain in my chest. I ride a short distance and stop. I hunch over my handlebars while I “absorb” the pain. Every inhalation brings a sharp pain to my left lung, as if I had a broken rib. I look at my “clean” yellow jersey. As there are no marks, I suppose that the assailants shot me with an air gun or some sort of blunt projectile.

I am angry at them. But, they are long gone.

I continue home. The damage doesn’t inhibit my pedaling, just causes extreme discomfort.

Once home, I store my bicycle and enter our home. I am in pain, but settle into my routine. I greet Anita and go upstairs to shower. I remove my yellow jersey and notice a blood stain and two small holes on the rear side of my left side. I remove my wool t-shirt and bib shorts and notice the same damage. I turn my body and look in the mirror to see two holes in my body.

Not wanting to alarm the children, I go to the stairway and ask Emma to send her mother upstairs. I explain and show the wound to her. I guess we are both in a bit of shock and respond in our normal ways. She has seen blood on my cycling clothing before from many falls. She rinses out the blood and takes them downstairs to start the laundry. I take my shower.

Anita applies two bandages and hands a slip of paper to me with the non-emergency phone number for the police. I call the number, go through a couple menu items to reach a live person. After explaining the nature of assault and injury, the lady dispatches the police and medics to our home.

I go downstairs to alert the children. Even the appearance of a relatively healthy parent does not calm the shock of having one’s family member violated by some form of gun shot.

The firemen arrive first. They ask lots of questions. I will tire of hearing and responding to the same questions over and over and over. The firemen feed information back to their central support team. They contemplate sending me to the hospital with the medics or with Anita. The medics arrive. Finding neither exit wounds nor the intruders near the surface, they are going to take me to Harborview.

Lying on a back board on top of a stretcher, with a neck brace and an oxygen mask, I cannot see much but for the heads of many caregivers. After a chest x-ray, we learn that I have two b-bs inside me; but, where exactly? After a CT scan, we understood.

Both entered my flesh, leaving near parallel debris fields. One penetrated my left lung, leaving a small hole that released some air into my chest cavity. I have a small pneumothorax. It remains in the bottom of my lung. The other touched my aorta and slid down to my diaphragm. The doctor tells Anita and I that I am very lucky. The damage could have been much worse. My left lung could have collapsed. The aorta or spinal cord could have been hit. The doctor tells me that if the b-bs posed any danger, they would operate to remove them. He recommends leaving them.

He most concerned with my pneumothorax. He has the hospital admit me. He wants me to spend the night for another chest x-ray in the morning.

My case attracts a lot attention from various, interns, nurses, students and other caregivers. They scroll the CT scan pictures to view the damage.

I have some pain, but nothing that I cannot deal with (without pain medication).

Our neighbors spoke with the police after I departed to the hospital. The police officer believes that the assailant used a 22 handgun loaded with b-bs. It is apparantly becoming more common. They also mentioned that usually that b-bs shot from a b-b gun remain near the surface.


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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

20 Replies to “Biker Down: Peter McKay”

  1. …no doubt, “holy shit !”…

    …the idiots who perpetrated this could have killed peter mckay in the name of a “fun prank”…at least i assume & hope their intent was no more malicious than that…

  2. I got shot more than once with a BB-gun when I used to skate in LA. It sucked, but that wouldn’t compare to this in any way, shape or form.

    These shitheads should be forced to do community service and have their licenses revoked permanently AND be forced to bike to and from work (or wherever they go…) for a minimum of 5 years. They should DEFINITELY be charged with attempted homicide.

    And maybe get their thumbs broke. That would be a good start.

  3. I, as a fellow Seattle-area-ite, wish Peter McKay the speediest of recoveries. I wish his assailants a medium-to-slow period of torture to the brink of death, hopefully involving their assholes and something white-hot.

    Time to start packing…not that it would have helped Peter in this instance.

  4. everyone always mentions ‘now we gotta carry a gun’.
    Nuts. After a wreck (or assault) ,esp if one has been turning a crank for a while, in the moments immediately after, a rider with a piece could do some damage. You dont think straigt enough to handle a weapon. What you gonna do?(Go for the guy who hit you? (like the ‘good’ driver who had the decency to pull over after he hit me) Shoot a guy riding off after he jacked your bike? (It’s a custon – He dies!)
    We live in an F’d up world, be safe.
    Don’t make it worse.
    wait for REI to come out with a bulletproof jersey.

  5. A .22 and BBs??!! I hope this doesn’t catch on in my neck of the woods. The BB’s can be purchased by anyone with no questions asked – youths included. And up here, everyone and their dog has a .22. Me included. Speedy recovery to you Peter.

    I have the same frustrations every October and feel like a prisoner in my own home as it is hunting season in my own small, northern community. I cannot ride at the moment (back issues)but I still encounter hunters with high powered firearms while walking on trails within municipal limits. These are adults that should know better. Yet,they give me shit for not wearing “hunter orange”. I am also seeing several youths with BB and pellet rifles – that CAN be used within the municipality and CAN be purchased by kids. I have also been shot at by youths “hunting” with these air powered guns. My frustration is on the part of what defines a firearm, and the stance the local police take on air rifles. Hell, the best man at my wedding was shot in the eye several yrs ago with a BB that to this day remains in the socket.

    North of the 49th and frustrated….

  6. You can buy BBs in almost any sporting goods store, and .22 blanks at most hardware and building suppy stores (they use them to drive nails into concrete), and the combination allows you to shoot someone with no usable ballistic evidence. You have to load the gun like an old fashioned muzzle loader, but there is no rifling imprint on the BB (the wadding that seals the BB so it shoots like a bullet protects the BB from the rifling). It didn’t happen with this case but something that has been happening to homeless persons around Dallas has been contaminating the BB with feces prior to loading it in the gun to cause massive infection in the wound channel. Mr. Mckay might want to be aware of this since it takes a couple of days for the infection to develop.


  7. Holy fucking shit. I’m certain that in many jurisdictions any assault with a firearm can be prosecuted as an attempted murder.

    Let me qualify that. Any assault on a person. The rules might be different for assaults on cyclists, especially if the assailant was driving a car at the time.

  8. buddy of mine got paint ball gunned while on a climb.. knocked him off his bike.. person was in San Jose Ca just looking for
    people.. one word.. LAME!

    They never caught the person in Niles canyon.. I still rode it
    fuck um..

  9. I am guessing what he is talking about is there is a special bird shell for a .22 that has pellets in it.

    If people are actually making there own that is freaking scary.

  10. Wow…that tops the C Springs classic of empty Coors Light bottles hucked from a truck full of GIs. I almost grow misty thinking of those quaint days.

    Get better man, and get used to taking a set of chest x-rays next time you go to the airport.

  11. Fuck!

    My understanding that the attempt to kill someone makes it murder. Manslaughter is by accident.

    I’ve been hit. I’ve hat shit thrown at me. But at least I’ve never been shot…

  12. A guy can buy .22 shot shells all the doo-dah day out here in Gawd’s Cuntry®. A buddy uses them in a Ruger revolver to keep the buzzworms from sunning on his front stoop as his kid plays and the wife gardens. But as I recall the shot in those dudes was teensy — good enough to do the job on a snake, but not on a human’s heart-and-lung group. I suspect Opus may be right about someone bringing the humble shot shell to the next level.

    I’ve thought about packing on rides, but decided on carrying a cell phone instead. I waved mine at a belligerent motorist one day and he quickly went about his business. We’re both still alive and out of jail. Well, I am, anyway.

  13. some pack heat in Vegas.. ;-) on bikes, not the rent a cops..
    he he..

    roll safe i say.. ;—-)

  14. Well, one of my old jobs was making things to kill people for other people to use :( I have some skills in making improvised munitions, and in making otherwise non-lethal weapons lethal. Using an improvised projectile over a blank is an old trick, but contaminating the projectile is new(ish).


  15. …opus…old cosa nostra trick…rub the lead projectile w/ garlic to increase the fatality odds…

    …but the method of contamination you were mentioning earlier, considering the application is more than devious…

  16. Yeah, they have many versions and differing “BB” sizes of 22 Cal Shot Shells, commonly referred to as “Rat Shot”. Some even look like regular bullets until you look closely and notice the ‘bullet’ is a clear plastic casing with lead BBs inside. Dangerous stuff.

    The right to arm bears, may god bless amerika.

  17. Seems to me that if you pack heat, and then yourself have a crash, you could end up accidentally shooting yourself?

  18. My feelings go out to you peter. And i personally wish you a speedy recovery.
    Here in the UK we don’t tend to have such a problem. But in January this year i was out on a routine training ride on a remote main road in wales. I got shot by a passer-by in a 4×4, by a .22 rifle which embeded in my arm, the round ruptured a vein in my arm and had to be removed surgically as it went into the bone. Not as serious as your unfortunate injury, but another shocking incident that the cyclists should not have to deal with.
    Im sure you and the whole cycling comunity are disgusted by these acts of what could be called attempted murder. It is shameful that we now live in a world where one cannot be assured of a safe and enjoyable walk or cycle in the countryside. A place where one should be able to ‘escape’ modern day problems and have a chance to relax.
    As it happens, the police could not track down the perpetrator, as so often is the case with this type os assault. i just hope at least some of these sick people will see the light soon.
    Yet again my feelings are hoping that you have a full recovery Peter.