What you need to know about “Rubber Bullet” in Nepal used by riot police kill 4 year old boy.


note: be sure to click on the colored words. they are hyperlinks.

News from Bhairawaha

In USA we have ample access to firearms, and there are many nurses and doctors  (including me) with experience with ballistic wounds of all kinds. Starting in 1977 when I worked at Boston City Hospital (where the police took every gunshot wound victim), I have dealt with this. In Nepal, not so much. Nobody here owns a firearm. (which is a very good thing!)

Tutorial needed

As the violence continues in Terai, I am thinking that every nurse and doctor needs a tutorial on treatment of wounds from bullets – both the “usual kind” made of lead and steel, and the “Rubber Bullet.”

The tragic news on September 15th 2015 is about a child killed by a “rubber bullet” at a confrontation in Bhairawaha. Here is the News Report video in Nepali: https://youtu.be/XR9vC4jK3RE

What is a “rubber bullet?”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_bullet

Rubber bullets (also called rubber baton rounds) are rubber or rubber-coated projectiles that can be fired from either standard firearms or dedicated riot guns. They are intended to be a non-lethal alternative to metal projectiles. Like other similar projectiles made from plastic, wax, and wood, rubber bullets may be used for short range practice and animal control, but are most commonly associated with use in riot control and to disperse protests.[1][2][3] These types of projectiles are sometimes called baton rounds.[4] Rubber projectiles have largely been replaced by other materials as rubber tends to bounce uncontrollably.[5]

Such “kinetic impact munitions” are meant to cause pain but not serious injury. They are expected to produce contusions, abrasions, and hematomas.[6] However, they may cause bone fractures, injuries to internal organs, or death. In a study of injuries in 90 patients injured by rubber bullets, one died, 17 suffered permanent disabilities or deformities and 41 required hospital treatment after being fired upon with rubber bullets https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubber_bullet

  • There are different styles of  “rubber bullet”
  • A properly trained policeman is supposed to fire the rubber bullet at the ground in front of the protester, so it only hits the protester in the legs.
  • If it hits you in the eye, you will lose your eye.
  • If it hits a child, it can kill – we already knew this. Everybody already knew this.

In the U.K., police are forbidden to use them, (until recently) not even for riot control.

They ARE used in USA, and here is a graphic but short video showing their effect.

If you see a policeman with a gun that has a wide mouth like one of these, it means they are ready to use rubber bullets:

pix paul lewis/http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2059053/The-decision-authorise-use-plastic-bullets-bad-wrong.html I don't for sure this is the style that is being employed

pix paul lewis/http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2059053/The-decision-authorise-use-plastic-bullets-bad-wrong.html I don’t for sure this is the style that is being employed

Trauma doctors conduct research on this kind of thing. Click here for a report of a medical study of injuries caused by rubber bullets, conducted in Kashmir, where communal violence is a problem.  Among other things, the rubber bullet can pierce the skin and lodge inside the victim.

This is from the Kashmir study. If the wound looks like this, it's an ENTRY WOUND and the projectile is inside the body.

This is from the Kashmir study. If the wound looks like this, it’s an ENTRY WOUND and the projectile is inside the body.

I looked for a specific video on medical treatment of wounds from rubber bullets. Here is a video of what it is like to get hit with one: https://youtu.be/djtnh5vonz8

Doctors and Nurses in Terai need to watch this next video and learn more about projectile injuries

I did find a six-minute video on assessment and treatment of bullet wounds. In USA we have ample access to firearms, and so many people (including me) have experience with these. In Nepal, not so much. The size of the external wound has no relation to the amount of internal bleeding the victim is having.

I would be remiss if I only focused on the medical treatment and made no other comment.

Lessons

The protesters should not be bringing children to these events, or allowing them outside. Would you allow your child outside if a tiger was in the neighborhood?

The police need proper training in use of these weapons.

Escalating violence by throwing stones, invites a police response. The police and the Army, can be counted on to escalate until they dominate. It is foolish to expect them to do otherwise.  They only way they will go away is when people stop provoking them. Express your anger in  a different way, such as by voting.

When you see the police like this, go away from there. It's simple, really.

When you see the police like this, go away from there. It’s simple, really.

Everyone needs to be able to identify “escalation” and “de-escalation” and learn how to de-escalate.

This whole cycle got out of control when the people in Tikapur made a conscious, cold-blooded decision to murder Nepali police that were trying to keep things peaceful. Violence only begets more violence.

Take the lessons of the people in Dang who organized a rally for social harmony.

“This is not just the issue of Dang, people in other parts of country presently fear loss of existing social and communal harmony,” Shanta said. “There is a dire need to voice for restoring and maintaining communal and social harmony in all parts of the nation.”Baharu Tharu, another participant in the rally, expressed worries on the probability of conflict between the Tharus community members and the hill people community. “People from all caste, religion, ethnicity and region should live in harmony. We have helped each other in hard times and must continue doing so in future also,” he said. “As social beings it’s not possible to live in society without helping each other.” – See more at: http://myrepublica.com/society/story/28150/tharu-organize-rally-in-dang-for-social-harmony.html#sthash.TYUG5dX0.dpuf

from Republica. Dang, in western Nepal. These are the women of the town. It seems like the young boys are the violent ones. let's pray for all the cooler heads to prevail. The world will not end Spet 21st just because the new constitution will be announced Sept 20th

from Republica. Dang, in western Nepal. These are the women of the town. It seems like the young boys are the violent ones. let’s pray for all the cooler heads to prevail. The world will not end Spet 21st just because the new constitution will be announced Sept 20th

The new constitution will be announced Sept 20th, and nothing will change that. On Sept 21st, everyone will arise in the morning and look out the window. The world will still be there and it will look the same.

If you are thinking of violence, watch this video.

Finally, the factors that go into “communal violence” (e.g., “a riot”) are complicated. In Nepal, I work in this issue because it is prevalent – long before the widespread protests in Terai region. My second book addresses the question as to why and how this happens, and how nurses and doctors get mixed up in it.

About Joe Niemczura, RN, MS

Experienced nursing educator and problem-solver. I have fifteen years of USA nursing faculty background. Add it with fifteen more devoted to adult critical care. In Nepal, I started teaching critical care skills in 2011. I figure out what they need to know in a Nepali practice setting. Then I teach it in a culturally appropriate way so that the boots-on-the-ground people will use it. I travel outside of Kathmandu Valley as well. When the recent violence happened, I knew the cities - I had trained people in those locations. One theme of my work has been collective culture and how it manifests itself in anger. Because this was a problem I incorporated elements of "situational awareness" training from the beginning, in 2011. Global Health Nursing is not all sweetness and light; not solely milk & honey and happy moms and babies.
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2 Responses to What you need to know about “Rubber Bullet” in Nepal used by riot police kill 4 year old boy.

  1. Pingback: They’re Dancing today in Nepal Sept 16th | Local National News

  2. Pingback: Critique of the Human Rights Watch report on Nepal Oct 16th, 2015 and suggestions | CCNEPal 2015

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