A former student wrote me after the Aurora shootings saying that a friend of his was in the theater and had been shot. He said she was from an active homeschooling family, a leader in the Colorado homeschool debate league, and a committed Christian, very much like our other students. He was distraught about it, and the parallels with our other students made the shootings disturbingly real to me.
A few days later, my student updated me about how his friend’s life was providentially, if not miraculously, spared. I’ll let NBC News tell the story:
Petra Anderson, one of 58 people injured in the Aurora movie theater attack, is lucky to be alive.
Anderson, a 22-year-old aspiring music professor, was hit by a shotgun blast during the assault that killed 12 people. Three pellets struck her arm and one rocketed through her head, but it missed the brain’s many blood vessels and key sections controlling vital functions, according to her doctor.
“If the pellet had wavered a millimeter, really in any direction from what it actually took, then she would have likely either died or been severely injured,” said Dr. Michael Rauzzino, a neurosurgeon at The Medical Center of Aurora who operated on Anderson to remove the pellet. “I would say this is definitely a miracle,” he said, while showing an MRI of Anderson’s brain.
The MRI reveals a faint trace of the pellet’s path after it entered the left side of Petra’s nose, broke through the front of her skull, and passed through her brain, before lodging in the back of her head. . . .
“It would be hard to create a path similar to this where it goes all the way from the front to the back and misses every single blood vessel, doesn’t bother any of the major structures, and leaves her able to talk and move everything and not be paralyzed or dead,” he added. “Never in my entire career have I seen a case where a bullet has traversed the entire brain like this and not caused severe damage or death.”
At first the report was that she was saved by a birth defect–a channel in her brain that the pellet exactly followed–but the doctor says now that this was not the case. The pellet just went through her brain missing every blood vessel and vital structures. That’s miraculous enough. I know it’s hard to talk about such things, given the people who were not spared, but still, this is remarkable.