Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hunting with the boys gone wrong

Photo&Story by Mary Garvin
School Paper, The Lion's Roar

On a night out hunting with the boys, junior Rhone LaBonte knew he'd be shooting something, he just didn't know it'd accidentally be his best friend, junior KC Jones.
"All I know is that we were driving down the road varmint huntin' and all of a sudden a shot goes off from inside the truck and Rhone starts screamin', 'It wasn't me! It wasn't me!'," junior Cole Moore said.
LaBonte, Moore, and Jones were out varmint hunting after dark with juniors Cody Alexander and JT Bowman on their friend, Robert Putnam's, ranch. The group was driving around the ranch in Putnam's pickup with LaBonte, Putnam, and Alexander inside the truck. Jones was in the back sitting on the toolbox with his elbows resting on top of the truck. LaBonte had just shot at something from inside the truck and as he pulled his .22 in through the window, the safety switched off. He held the gun beside him, barrel facing up, and when the truck hit a bump, the gun went off. The bullet sailed through the ceiling of the cab, through Jones's coveralls, and into his side.
"I heard the shot go off and was looking around to see what had been shot, but then I got this sharp pain like I had just hit my funny bone," Jones said. "I turned to look at my elbow and my whole arm was floppin' in the air like a water hose under too much pressure. My hand was all purple."
After exclaiming a few profanities, the group pulled over to examine Jones.
"I started freaking out when I realized my gun had shot KC. At first I thought it was my fault, I had just shot my best friend," said LaBonte. "They reassured me that it wasn't my fault though. I just wanted him to be okay."
Jones slipped out of his coveralls to reveal a once white shirt now soaked in blood. The group then immediately turned around and headed to the highway to meet an ambulance.
"KC was just sitting in the back of the pick up whistling and telling us to turn up the radio and drive faster," Moore said. "Everyone should know this wasn't Rhone's fault. It could've happened to anyone."
One might think that after being shot, if the bullet were still in the body, it would be taken out. However, this was not the case with Jones. Jones' bullet was left in his body and was very visible, even mobile, for several weeks. The bullet entered under Jones's right arm and traveled up over his shoulder. It stopped just beneath his skin, and minorly damaged the nerves in his right hand. It could take up to six months for the nerves to recover-if ever.
"It's like something out of a sci-fi movie. He gets shot, but it misses his major arteries and bones. It's a miracle really," junior Dacoda White said. "It's something you'd expect to happen to KC. Crazy things always happen to him and he just laughs it off."
Jones agrees that it is somewhat of a miracle.
"It feels like God has given me a second chance at life," Jones said. "That bullet could've hit my lungs or even my heart, but it didn't. It makes me want to start going to church more and cuss a little less. I have a second chance, I don't want to screw it up."
The bullet, however, was removed during spring break. Doctors said he could leave the bullet in if he wanted to avoid surgery, but now that the bullet is practically sitting on top of his shoulder under his skin, removing the bullet was no longer such a high risk. Since removed, Jones has been able to feel his right hand for the first time since his accident.
"When I got home my mom and sister freaked out and didn't want me to hunt anymore," Jones said. "My little brother thought it was awesome though."
Jones still makes hunting and camping a frequent activity, regardless of the past.
"We don't bring our guns camping anymore," Jones said with a laugh. "We're always careful, it was just an accident."

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