Mag chloride follies |

Mag chloride follies

The other day, I was involved in a discussion about the relative merits and follies of using magnesium chloride and sand.

According to the science on the subject, both mag chloride and sand contain arsenic as a byproduct.

Apparently, arsenic is a naturally occurring substance, and that it appears in de-icers and sand is not hard to believe. I commented there are now three ways to get arsenic poisoning: mag chloride, sand and at church socials in Maine.

You just never know about those church socials. You go to have some coffee and cake and end up dying from some naturally occurring substance in the coffee.

Of course, in that case it was not naturally occurring. A farmer who was one of the parishioners in attendance may have put it in the coffee. You can never tell about those farmers. This one decided to kill himself rather than explain why he spiked the coffee.

In the past couple of weeks, two police officers have been shot and critically injured by motorists they had stopped for some infractions.

One officer is out of the hospital and at home recovering. His assailant remains in the hospital. The other officer is in critical condition while his shooter is in the hospital with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The strange thing about both of these cases is that both officers were wearing bulletproof vests and were shot through openings in their armor.

A vest is only protection where it covers the body. There must be openings and holes to enable the officer to move. It would be impossible to drive a car with full body armor.

The ironic thing about both these cases is the assailant’s bullets managed to miss the vests and seriously hurt the officers.

During the first Gulf War, a news correspondent came under fire and crouched down in the back seat of a car as it was being driven at high speed to escape the gunfire.

One bullet hit the vehicle and managed to strike the reporter in the small of his back, killing him. I know he felt safe with his vest on, but obviously he was not.

I remember what we did before Kevlar, the bulletproof material made by DuPont. Vests contained ceramic plates and were very heavy and very uncomfortable. Some of you who were in Vietnam remember them as not easy to wear and not necessarily safe. Some of the plates were made by Coors in Golden.

At the time Kevlar was invented, you could buy a complete three-piece suit of the material. Everyone from the president of the United States to the street cop could have full body protection that was lightweight and at the same time stylish.

When three-piece suits were in style for detectives, I had a matching vest for my suit that was bulletproof. I always thought it looked bulky – but maybe I was bulky.

Some of the more recent reports out of Iraq on casualties sound as if they could have happened in Chicago or Los Angeles.

One poor soul was throwing food from the back of a truck to refugees when he lost his balance and fell under the wheels and was killed. Two more soldiers were killed when their truck rolled in a ditch.

I have always wondered, as a former coroner, if the death and accident statistics following the war would mirror those in a normal American city.

Gen. George Patton was killed in a car accident in Germany after World War II was over. Imagine going through what he did just to be killed in a car wreck.

A nationally famous skydiver was killed near Boulder recently in a plane crash. Hundreds of times jumping out of planes, and then he was killed in a plane crash. Makes you wonder about fate and the predetermination of the way you are going to go out of this life.

I am sure it does not make any difference to the victims. They are not here to dispute this theory. To the people who have a close brush with death, I am sure it changes their lives and they gain a greater appreciation of the things we all take for granted.

The real message here is to be as careful as you can be but to enjoy life. Maybe. Then again – you never know when someone might find the crack in your bulletproof vest.

County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom writes this space every Thursday. The former police officer and current politician knows what it like to dodge verbal bullets and return fire.

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