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Death is Certain


S.A.M spent the last week in  training to prepare us for potential Benghazi attacks. This is a new requirement that everyone must go through now. In a world that is unpredictably changing, it is best to be prepared.
A few score of us headed to the rural outskirts where they’ve set up a whole training facility for this and other trainings.  
Medic/first aid was on order the first day and a half.  This was taught by former military medics who had seen all sorts of trauma.  Our course was introduced by an affable, straight talking guy with tattooed, post-spinach Popeye forearms. I sat to the side of the classroom, so I could only see one arm tattoo clearly.  It said something to the effect of ‘death is certain.’  What was I in for?
Laying around the room were assorted mannequins in various states of dying. Dismemberments, disembowlments, bullets, etc.  Arms and  legs were strewn about.
We spent much of the day learning how to place tourniquets and plug holes. Before our first exercise an instructor walked up with a large red bucket labelled “fake blood.”  He connects a hose from the bucket to the dummy’s chest and threw down a pad.
He handed me a radio control, the kind you’d steer a model car with. He hands me the control and says this switch make him move and this switch makes him bleed. All I could think about was “I feel bad for the legless chap in front of me, but  does this fake blood stain?, ‘cause this is the  only pair of pants I brought.”
“Boom! He’s hit! He’s bleeding.” I start working the levers and sure enought the dummy starts writhing on the floor and a good amount of red liquid spurts out onto the floor as my teammates work to keep him from fully exsanguinating. There we were, four doe-eyed bureaucrats trying to keep our clothes clean.  
But by the end of the day we were all pretty good at that and other things. Patching chest wounds, inserting nose tubes, applying bandages.  All the things we could do to bide time until better help arrived.  

For the last class, I sat on the other side of the room.  The first instructor came back and I could get a better look at his ink.  He crossed his arms once. The full tattoo was less gloomy and more positive. To paraphrase, it was a reminder to  ‘live life fully for death is certain.’

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