On November 24, we saw reports of a woman, named Sophia Wilansky, who was said to have been injured in the pipeline protests in the Standing Rock. Protesters, her father and the mainstream media claimed that the woman was injured by a “concussion grenade” thrown intentionally at her by the police. Her father’s statement reads as follows:
“At around 4:30 a.m. after the police hit the bridge with water cannons and rubber bullets and pepper spray, they lobbed a number of concussion grenades which are not supposed to be thrown at people directly, or protectors, as they want to be called. A grenade exploded right as it hit Sophia in the left forearm, taking most of the under surface of her left arm with it. Both her radial and ulnar artery were completely destroyed. Her radius was shattered and a large piece of it is missing. Her medial nerve is missing a large section as well. All of the muscle and soft tissue between her elbow and wrist were blown away. The police did not do this by accident—it was an intentional act of throwing it directly at her. Additionally police were shooting people in face and groin intending to do the most possible damage. Sophia will have surgery again tomorrow as bit by bit they try to rebuild a somewhat functioning arm and hand. The first surgery took a vein from her leg, which they have implanted in her arm to take the place of the missing arteries. She will need multiple surgeries to try to gain some functional use of the arm and hand. She will be, every day for the foreseeable future, fearful of losing her arm and hand. There are no words to describe the pain of watching my daughter cry and say she was sorry for the pain she caused me and my wife. I died a thousand deaths today and will continue to do so for quite some time. I am left without the right words to describe the anguish of watching her look at her now alien arm and hand.”
If you don’t want to read any more, I will say in short that these claims are, in my opinion, bullshit of the ultimate magnitude.
Let’s start with use of the term “concussion grenade.” Grenades do come in many flavors. The one we all know and love is the frag grenade, that has explosive charge plus steel pellets like the Arges 73 used by the Greek Army or a body designed to break apart at certain points to create fragments like the US made MK2 from WW2. The other flavor is, you guessed it, the concussion grenade. This one relies on the blast power of the explosive to incapacitate or kill and that is why it usually has more explosive charge. One of the most well-known grenades of the kind is the German Stick grenade, the Stielhandgranate 24. And yes, you are right to think that if such a weapon was used against Sophia Wilansky, the loss of a chunk of flesh would be the least of her problems. Add to that the obvious fact that no police force in the western world has such grenades, let alone use them for crowd control. They are lethal. It’s perfectly acceptable to not expect from a civilian to know such differences in terminology, but it is best to clear some things up. The only other thing the police have in abundance and goes boom is flash bangs. Although flash bangs do not have the kind of blast power Sophia Wilansky’s wound suggests , and the statement from Morton County Sheriff’s Officer (MCSO) and the North Dakota Highway Patrol says that:
“We are aware of the information about the woman on social media who has claimed she sustained injuries to her arm due to law enforcement tactics. The injuries sustained are inconsistent with any resources utilized by law enforcement and are not a direct result of any tools or weapons used by law enforcement.” – Lt. Tom Iverson, ND Highway Patrol.
Yes, flash bangs, if you hold them in your fist when they explode, you are going to have a bad day and probably lose a finger or more, but you would have to be holding one tight in your palm for something like that to happen – if they bounce off, you are ok. Considering the fact that they are used for pranks in most armies of the world, it’s safe to deduce that, though it’s an unpleasant experience to have, it’s nowhere near the realm of a serious blast injury.
Now that we have those pesky facts out-of-the-way of a good story, let’s hypothesize what could actually have happened. The police and the FBI concentrated their investigation on some one-pound propane tanks that were found on the scene, one of which had a large chunk of flesh stuck on it The unsuspecting approach would be that some kind of mishap occurred while using said propane tank for legitimate reasons, and that these people being so politically driven, they found a way to use it as a propaganda tool. The alternative hypothesis is that of an IED in the making that went wrong. The investigation from the local authorities will shed light to all that, and I for one can’t wait to see what the verdict will be.
Featured image courtesy of Al Jazeera.