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Brain Stem, Blood Pressure, & Homicide

Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov, Count of Rymnik, Count of the Holy Roman Empire, Prince of Italy, and the last Generalissimo of the Russian Empire knew a thing or two about combat. One of his guiding principle was “Train Hard to Fight Easy”. Qualifying once a year is not “Training Hard” and is not adequate for someone to be effective in an actual combat situation. If you aren’t putting a minimum of 100 rounds through your weapon monthly, it is unlikely you will hit your target under stress.

An armed confrontation is a “Flight/Fight” decision that takes place in your brain stem. You have to have training to affect your choice. When the situation is recognized the body starts doing things to facilitate a maximum effort without regard to which path is chosen. Adrenalin flows and your blood pressure climbs to provide extra energy to your muscles.

Obviously this is effective if you’re going to run or engage in hand-to-hand combat, but it creates problems if you are going to engage in a gun fight. The blood pressure rise creates tunnel vision and reduces your hearing. Things get dicey quickly when you face multiple targets. Training can give you better control – you know what is going on and can master techniques to overcome the limitations. Training can provide an “autopilot mode” to keep you alive while you are adjusting.

Finally there is the issue of homicide, killing another human being. Some people just can’t do it. The military spend a lot of time convincing the troops to kill. “Thou shalt not kill” is a pretty powerful taboo. Normally there will be a period of dehumanizing the enemy to make it easier. Now, I don’t doubt for a minute that teachers will die for their students because they already have in many of the mass shootings. The question is: will they kill? Further, do we even have the right to ask them?

February 25, 2018   10 Comments