Image courtesy: Edmund Duffy
Lynching by a mob can cause serious injuries that are often fatal.
Hitting someone with a blunt object causes hematomas (blood clots), internal bleeds, fractures, organ rupture, lacerations during the attack. Blunt injuries to the head can cause fracture, bleeding into the brain, causing unconsciousness, seizures and/or death. Blunt injuries to the chest can cause fractured ribs leading to lung injuries which can cause air/fluid/blood in the lungs (pneumo/hemothorax). There can also be rupture of some major arteries cause a person to bleed internally. Blunt injuries to the abdomen can injure a lot of soft tissues such as the liver, spleen, kidney and intestines. The liver being fragile can bleed excessively which is often very difficult to control. Injury to the kidney can cause blood in the urine and later acute kidney failure. Intestinal injuries can cause obstruction and severe infections (peritonitis/sepsis). Injuries to the pelvic area can cause pelvic fracture, damage to major blood vessels, rupture of urinary bladder and genital tract injuries. Internal bleeding may require major surgical intervention to control the bleeding and salvage vital organs.
Later the person can suffer from sepsis, obstructions due to the injury, embolisms, haemorrhage and multi-organ failure. Head injuries can progress to loss of vision, loss of hearing, and focal seizures. Those who do survive can have long term consequences requiring prolonged hospital intervention and medical/surgical support.
Apart from this, the person can suffer from severe physical pain often require long term pain medication.
The psychological impact of lynching by an angry mob can lead a person to develop long lasting psychological damage – post traumatic stress disorder, depression, excessive rage, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts and even suicidal attempts.
The effect on a community that is consistently targeted cannot be undermined. It leads to loss of feeling of belonging to a community, alienation, a strong sense of betrayal and discrimination.
Young people can respond to this in several ways. They may hesitate to form close relationships, may be fearful of public spaces and may have inordinate fear of strangers and new places. It can lead young men and women to form retaliatory groups and gangs and in extreme cases lead people to become anti-social elements. So if there is, over time a rise in ‘terrorist attacks’ in the country, we have only ourselves to blame.