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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?


1 Shirt { 02.26.18 at 9:29 am }

“Will they kill?” Being trained to shoot is entirely different than trained to kill. If a kid killer (shooter is an entirely too sanitary a term) is shot by a teacher then said teacher still has a oproblem. The loud noises stop and others, on autopilot, come racing in and see a man with a gun over there. The results could be very tragic for both heroes.

Say the trained shooter doesn’t confront the Grendel, choosing to hunker down with “his” kids instead. How will he be judged by the Rambo-esque of society (who tend to be the biggest mouths among us). Worse yet, how will he judge himself, knowing he could have stopped the Grendel. It will haunt him with guilt for the rest of his life.

You’re quite right: we do not have the right to ask it of them. It is shameful to even consider it. President Bone Spurs should really consider the Aussie Option.

2 Bryan { 02.26.18 at 10:48 am }

JFK was right when he questioned to logic of paying plumbers more than teachers. We have already loaded them down with all kinds of responsibilities that have nothing to do with teaching. In Okaloosa County a substitute teacher would make more money working at McDonalds – the hourly is higher; they can get more hours; and the benefits are the same.

I think the Broward Sheriff has the answer: trained deputies with AR-15s and I would add ballistic body armor. Give the teachers a break and let them teach.

As for “There’s a man with a gun over there”: Atrios yesterday. I didn’t need him “telling me I got to beware” [lyrics For What It’s Worth Buffalo Springfield]

3 Kryten42 { 02.26.18 at 3:16 pm }

Very well done Bryan. And quite accurate!

You know I trained as a Sniper. That takes Months of extra training, much of that is psychological & a candidate is chosen only after an intense Psych Eval. A sniper almost always shoots to kill & it’s one-on-one (there are occasions when we might be tasked to wound as a warning or for a specific reason). The other exception is shooting at targets such as fuel/ammo dumps, choppers, APC’s, Radar towers etc. where we don’t typically see a human. “One shot. One kill!” isn’t the motto for fun.

Arming teachers is complete & utter bullshit & just a way for the NRA to sell more guns! They are paying a price now, and it will get worse! One of the Parkland Students, Emma González (in that Ellen vid) in two weeks has over 1 million followers on twitter. The NRA, on Twitter for a few years or more, has less than half that! The other new Activist Students are catching up with her also. Even Amazon is considering cancelling the NRAtv program they produce & host for the NRA after the Students called for their millions of followers to boycott Amazon if the don’t! Many other companies got the message fast, see if Amazon does! They’ve also called for a boycott of FedEx, the only shipping company that hasn’t yet dumped the NRA as a client.

They have the power! 😉 😀

Florida shooting survivor tops NRA on Twitter

I was quite fond of Buffalo Springfield & remember that song well! 😀

4 NTodd { 02.26.18 at 3:34 pm }

Just make every teacher take the same training as USMC snipers:


Easy peasy.

5 Badtux { 02.26.18 at 4:15 pm }

You had four armed and trained deputies standing around outside afraid to go into the school. Yet the teachers that Governor Scott is always accusing of being incompetent and stupid would have done better than those deputies? For realz?

If you’re going to send teachers to the police academy, issue them body armor and service weapons, and put them on the payroll of the Sheriff’s Department as school security officers, well okay. But the notion of putting a gun in the hands of totally untrained 77 year old Mrs. Marple whose hands shake more than one of James Bond’s martinis and who jumps in surprise every time she manages to pull the trigger… that’s just nutz.

6 Badtux { 02.26.18 at 4:24 pm }

As for the answer of whether I would kill to protect my students — I guess I could say “that depends”. I know I’d have a hard time killing a student (or someone who looks like a student). That’s not what I signed up for when I became a teacher. *Maybe* I could kill someone who looked like a grownup terrorist, but that’s not who usually shoots up schools. Usually it’s kids or people who look like kids, and teachers don’t sign up to kill children.

7 Kryten42 { 02.26.18 at 5:07 pm }

It isn’t what teachers need to be trained for! NO HUMAN can train to be so many things! Especially those that are diametrically opposed! Nurture & kill! teachers are already forced to do a dozen other things than teach! It’s insane.

Harper’s Bazaar asked Emma González to write an article in her own words for them She did great! She is smart & knows the score. She’s Cuban, so knows how to fight! She will help drive change, or die trying.

Parkland Student Emma González Opens Up About Her Fight for Gun Control

I love her subtitle: “Adults are behaving like children.”

Never a truer word was spoken… or typed! 😆

8 Bryan { 02.26.18 at 6:00 pm }

Hell, Kryten, turning on the lights & siren raises your blood pressure 20 to 40 points and does nothing good for your driving skills. It’s almost as bad as night vision goggles. It is one of the reasons that cops are so prone to strokes and heart attacks, as well as get involved in vehicle accidents.

Try telling anyone with an infantry rating that once a year is enough time on the range. I got together with two other guys to hand load ammo because commercial boxed ammo was so expensive. We went through 6 pounds of smokeless powder a year staying proficient with .357, .38, 9 mm .380 [In my case, that’s a S&W Model 19, a Colt Detective, a Walther P-38, and a Walther PPK] You had to qualify with every weapon you might carry or the department’s insurance and lawyer wouldn’t cover you if you used it in a shooting.

Everybody who has hunted is familiar with “buck fever”, a first time hunter freezes with a deer in his/her sights. Taking that shot, taking life is not easy. I have told people who wanted a recommendation for a weapon for self-defense that they shouldn’t buy a gun unless they are prepared to use it. You are just putting another gun on the street, after you get shot with it, if you don’t use it.

You were on the offense, Kryten, while my use of firearms in the military was to protect a pouch of classified material, survival if we went down. My offensive side was marking maps which resulted in a very bad time for anyone or anything near those marks. Not as personal as what you did, and certainly not as limited in the damages and deaths that resulted. You have to believe that it was the right thing to do to continue doing it. Every time there was a screw up, you took it personally because you started the process.

We both know in our bones that it isn’t easy and there is a price you pay. Politicians have no right to ask teachers to pay it.

I have a better idea, NTodd, since he is so gung ho send Cadet Bone Spurs to sniper school and then he can be a first responder at the next school shooting.

9 Kryten42 { 02.26.18 at 7:42 pm }

Yes. There is definitely a price. And a high one. For every life I had to bury the *softer* parts of myself deeper. But every time I saw the innocent villagers or townsfolk who would die if I didn’t do my job, it made it… not just tolerable, but I knew it was necessary. And that was important. I was chosen not because I wanted to kill, that would have been an instant rejection. but because I did have a very strong moral compass & sense of Honor! I also knew right from wrong. In a curious & non-religious way, I was almost evangelical! When I saw what the KR Warlords had done, I was almost eager to end their miserable misbegotten lives! But we were also chosen for patience. There were times when I waited days for the opportunity. I was always very careful & methodical. nothing was taken for granted or chance. I had to get to know the target, get inside his head. And that’s what makes it difficult after. I can’t forget. Not that I want to. I’m no coward. And I won’t run from who I am and what I did.

I qualified on several weapons and weapons systems. From small arms to stingers, including weapons used by enemy combatants, like the AK-47. Also assorted knives, bows, Shaken (arsenal of small bladed weapons), anything!

I used the IWS-2000 to take out a Hind (Mil Mi-24). Supposedly unstoppable! Has titanium and tungsten armor, 7 a hardened plexiglass that was near missile proof! But, every chopper has a specific vulnerability, especially to a good sniper with a good weapon! We called it “The Jesus Nut” It’s the special part just below the main rotor, hit that and the rotor flies off on it’s merry way… And that chopper flies like a lead brick! Not even a flying tank can survive that! There’s also the tail rotor, but that’s not as… satisfying! 😉 😀

It made personal relationships very difficult. I’d relive some of those events in my dreams, without knowing. I found out a couple years after I returned. I spent the night with a lady & a noise awoke me, my reflexes were still hair-trigger. I heard a noise & put the light on. She was sitting in the corner of the room, knees drawn up & arms crossed… sobbing. I went to get up & she tried to crawl away & told me to stay away! Eventually she told me of the dream that seemed very real, and it was. And I was flailing & pushed her out of the bed. We gradually stopped seeing each other. That happened a few more times, so I stopped dating altogether. I started seeing a shrink & tried hypnotherapy, but that was a waste of time. I’d been trained in the advanced SERE course to resist that & certain drugs etc. But it lessened over time.

They don’t tell you about that @ intake or training. 🙄

That’s a story I haven’t told for a very long time. It no longer matters. *shrug*

10 Bryan { 02.26.18 at 10:26 pm }

Teaching and gunslinging are not compatible. I got away with teaching computer science at the college level while working in law enforcement because of the ability to compartmentalize that was honed in the military. The best way not to screw up and reveal something classified is to close the door on that when you walk out of of the vault at the end of your shift. That way you can get off an airplane and head down to the club and get blasted without worrying. But most teachers, especially the good ones, live teaching 24/7. You don’t ask them to shoot a teenager.

It never occurred to me, Kryten, but, yes, SERE training would definitely would definitely screw up any attempt at Psych assistance. Flashbacks are a bitch and even when you get beyond them the you worry about them starting again. It takes a very good partner to put up with them. Yeah, I don’t remember the recruiter talking about that