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'Early in my medical training, I learned that it is not the bullet that kills you, but the path the bullet takes. A non-expanding bullet often enters the body in a straight line. Like a knife, it damages the organs and tissues directly in its path, and then it either exits the body or, if it is traveling at a slower velocity, is stopped by bone, tissue or skin.This is in contrast to expanding bullets. Once they enter the body, they fragment and explode, pulverizing bones, tearing blood vessels and liquefying organs. T he shooter in Virginia used a semiautomatic assault rifle. I once treated a patient shot in the pelvis with a similar weapon. The bullet shattered the hipbone into hundreds of pieces. It shredded the femoral artery, causing life-threatening bleeding and destroyed whole portions of the bowel and bladder... the human costs, not only of death but also of survival.'