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Shot In Cemetery Woods When 7 Years Old
by David G. Bancroft, USA Patriotism! Founder/Owner
August 18, 2021 Copyright

David Bancroft, USA Patriotism! Founder/OwnerAs I was recently enjoying a video showing a boy about 8 years old wearing boots and a cowboy hat eventually lift his younger similar dressed brother on to a saddled horse ... the dad in me surfaced ... thinking about the dangerous risks ... if they weren't being filmed by adult ... and possibly another one nearby out of view.

Then I smiled ... thinking that those two boys ... could have been my two adult sons ... when they were the same age ... as I still remember many things that I did with my three other brothers and friends ... even before turning 10.

One in particular didn't end very well for me when I was 7 years old ... and could have resulted in one or more of us boys being killed.

It occurred one afternoon after school when I was in the second grade.

My older brother Bernard (11) and I along with several other neighborhood buds ... road our bikes about a mile to pick blackberries and do other spontaneous activities that came to mind including ... looking for turtles, frogs, and insects to feed them ... with all located in a heavily wooded area with a pond ... just behind a cemetery.

Boy in the woods holding a bug he found among the berries he was picking.
Boy in the woods holding a bug he found among the berries he was picking.

We were also being very careful to avoid fire ants, all types of stinging bees, spiders, and especially ... the poisonous copperheads and water moccasins that might be hiding among the ground foliage. I was especially cautious about snakes, as I had already come across two sleeping copperheads when picking blackberries near my house and at a small bayou.

We were having a very enjoyable time in the woods with plenty of ripe blackberries for everyone ... when we heard older teenage boys yelling in the distance.

They weren't talking to us.

They were talking to each other about ... using us for shooting targets. (Looking back as an adult ... The older boys were probably intoxicated from drinking beer while shooting their pump pellet rifles at whatever they saw moving.)

Then the next thing I heard ... were pellets hitting nearby trees, bushes, and the water ... prompting their terrified human targets into a panic dash to hide behind nearby large trees ... as we collective yelled a variety of words expressing fear, anger, and more.

Bernard and I quickly reached a nearby tree with him having me stand behind him hugging his waist ... with the hope that he would provide more protection for me from the spraying pellets.

Unfortunately, I unknowingly left the lower half of my right leg partially exposed to the angle of the pellets being shot.

Hearing the pellets hitting the tree that we were behind was shortly replaced with me feeling a severe sting near my right knee cap. 

I instinctively reacted ... looking down ... imagining a bee stung me ...then shocked ... at seeing a steady flow of red blood coming from the small hole the pellet caused when entering my right leg just below the knee cap ... that was already starting to coat my tennis shoe.

I then released a very loud hurt felt scream ... followed with ... yelling that I had been shot in the leg ... and it's already bleeding on my shoe!

The teenage boys immediately stop shooting when they heard my screaming reaction to being shot!

Bernard looking at my wounded, bleeding leg ... quickly asked how I felt and if I could walk on the leg. I tearfully mumbled that ... it hurt, but I could walk on it.

He then quickly called out to our friends by name to see if anyone else had been shot ... with all responding that they were okay. Bernard then loudly expressed his angry concern at the older boys for what they did. He even used dirty words during his expressed outrage that I was now use to hearing.

I even sometimes used these "words" myself around my two younger brothers ... always careful avoiding my mother hearing me as having her slide a soap bar on my tongue to clean the dirty words from it was a terrible tasting experience. I learned many other from my older brother ... and what not to do in front of my mom. And while I was a negotiator to Bernard's instinctive approach to resolve a difference with his fists, I was a very capable fighter and only did so when necessary to defend myself.

Then we heard the teenage boys agreeing that they need to "leave now" to avoid getting into trouble back ... telling us to leave now. Bernard then responded loudly again ... telling the teenage boys that he was going to tell the police on them for shooting at us and wounding his little brother.

The one thing that never entered my mind or remember hearing from Bernard during this traumatic experience was that any of us  could have been killed. We hid instinctively to avoid being hurt, which covered the killing part too.

I then had to ride my bike back home ... constantly glimpsing down to see the blood sprouting from the wound and running down my leg ... with Bernard and the rest of our worried friends periodically asking if I was okay.

And while I knew my mom was the only parent home at the time, it never occurred to me what her reaction might be ... I just wanted her to stop the bleeding with a bandage.

My mom first screamed in shock as she quickly hugged me ... then examined the wound ... while telling Bernard to get a large towel from the laundry room.

Upon Bernard's return, she angrily told Bernard to press it tightly over my bleeding gunshot wound while looking irritatingly at him. Then she gave me another kiss and big hug and went to the phone to call our doctor, who told her to bring me to his office immediately.

The drive and visit to the doctor was a panic blur for me ... as I could now only think about what my mom said concerning the doctor will most likely have to ... give me at least on shot in the leg near the wound ... with me lingering on "at least" ... and fearing it would be more than one needle stinging me! And since I was still tearing up at times ... my mom and Bernard couldn't tell the fear of shot(s) was causing the current round of tear drops.

The good news from the doctor ... was that the pellet entered the meaty part just under the knee cap ... stopping right against the "growth" plate bone ... with no permanent damage done to it.

The other good memory from this tragic childhood time ... was taking the dried blood covered pellet with me to school the next day ... proudly showing it to my second grade friends and Bernard's six grade friends.

Shortly, afterwards the police came by our home and took the pellet ... to use in an attempt to find the rifle it was shot from ... which involved confiscating enough rifles to fill-up at least two pickup truck beds.

I also remember the police informing my parents that a fully pumped pellet rifle is more powerful than a20 caliber rifle, which appears to be the case with pellet that wounded me relative to the distance estimated from where the teenage boys were located.

The officers said that it is very likely the pellets were beyond or near their maximum speed range and slowing down as they neared us. The pellet that hit me would have been higher if we were closer, but might have hit the tree since only my lower right leg was in the pellet's path.

Sadly, a pellet could still have been fatal to any of us depending on it entering a vital area and missing any nearby bones ... with a head shot possibly causing permanent brain damage, if it wasn't fatal. It is why the cops said that "attempted murder" is being considered for any teenagers of legal age ... as their intentionally shooting could have resulted in a fatality.

Cemetery Woods by David G. BancroftFast forwarding many years later to 2014 ... I decided to write a fictional novel based on my boyhood adventures that included me being shot in the woods behind the cemetery along with other dangerous escapades and some that nobody my age should have witnessed.

However, another idea occurred to me that resulted in my suspense thriller novel "Cemetery Woods" that is about a canny, determined psychologically disturbed serial killer seeking revenge on what happened to him when he was a teenager.

Hmmm ... I am now thinking about writing my "Little ??'s Dangerous Adventures" suspense fictional novel, if I can find the time to do so ... relative to my very busy schedule with USA Patriotism!

I also already have the actual name for ... ??'s ... associated with the title listed in the proceeding paragraph!

Side Note ... I am sure my brother, Bernard, enjoyed our shared story in eternal comfort above with his daughter and my niece/goddaughter, who went to heaven in her early 20's after a valiant battle with a leukemia strain that became survivable a few years after her blessed departure with a medical break through. Esophageal cancer took Bernard (71) after a hard fought very painful battle.

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Cemetery Woods by David G. Bancroft