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Thread: Will shooting to protect a victim end in the victim's death due to involuntary muscle contraction?

  1. #1
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    This question is a bit different than what you're probably expecting so don't skim it.

    If there were a victim being held at gun point, and the gunman had his finger on the trigger, would it be advisable to shoot the gunman?

    The reason I ask is this: at death, don't a person's muscles contract? In the same way, when vast amounts of pain are inflicted, don't a person's muscles contract? If so, doesn't that mean that if you shoot the gunman, the victim who you are protecting will be shot when the gunman's fist clenches?

    So how should one respond?

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    I would think it depends upon where the BG is shot.

    One shot to the cranial cavity and all functions should cease. No contrations, no movement (except for dropping to the ground).

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    Walther wrote:
    I would think it depends upon where the BG is shot.

    One shot to the cranial cavity and all functions should cease. No contrations, no movement (except for dropping to the ground).
    See, that's what I was wondering. Would a head shot cause complete relaxation of all muscles or would they contract?

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    Front Sight teaches the hostage shooting senarios. They teach that one shot to the cranial cavity through the ocular (sp) area will drop the BG because it stops all brain function and therefore no movement of any kind. Not even muscle contractions.

    It would be a shot I wouldn't want to have to take.

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    A direct hit to the medulla oblongata would produce a no reflex drop. I believe I've heard others refer to it as the peach. I pray I never have occasion to test this information.

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    Depends on what sector of the brain or nervous system is hit, really. A shot that goes through the back of the head (around the neck joint) will cause them to drop right then and there - instant muscle relaxation.

    Keep in mind that a lot of hand guns tend to have heavy triggers as well, so it would take a hell of a contraction to fire the gun.

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    I agree that I hope I never have to make this choice, but I think it's irresponsible to carry a gun without deciding how you will react to certain scenarios. You won't have much decision-making time if the need arises.

    I imagine such a shot would be made from the side of the attacker. Not the front since the victim would be blocking (which means you couldn't shoot through the "occular cavity" as one suggested) and definitely not the back since you again run the risk of shooting the victim.

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    LiveFreeOrDie wrote:
    Walther wrote:
    One shot to the cranial cavity and all functions should cease. No contrations, no movement (except for dropping to the ground).
    See, that's what I was wondering. Would a head shot cause complete relaxation of all muscles or would they contract?
    Be advised there are some on this forum who have taken large caliber rounds to the head. But I will let them share their stories as they see fit.

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    LiveFreeOrDie wrote:
    I agree that I hope I never have to make this choice, but I think it's irresponsible to carry a gun without deciding how you will react to certain scenarios. You won't have much decision-making time if the need arises.

    I imagine such a shot would be made from the side of the attacker. Not the front since the victim would be blocking (which means you couldn't shoot through the "occular cavity" as one suggested) and definitely not the back since you again run the risk of shooting the victim.
    Bullets aren't magic, and hitting something the size of a quarter from 20' away using a pistol, while your adrenaline is making you super high.. is not likely at all.

    IMO, the only way 'out' of a situation like that is if you can get closer without being noticed, OR wait for the split second that the weapon is removed from the hostage and/or is transitioning to another target (that'd probably be you; the other target).

    Morally speaking, I'd rather take a bullet AND kill the BG than have an 'innocent' person killed. Of course, rule #1 is that you're no help to anyone if you're dead, but you know what I mean....
    Evangelical lessons are provided upon request. Anyone wishing to meet Jesus can just kick in my door.

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    It worked in the following situation;

    http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=1444912

    "Sicker entered a home and took two hostages, a man and a woman. The man escaped.

    Salt Lake City Detective Jeff Bedard said, "Officers at several points, three or four times, saw the suspect with his arm around the neck of the female hostage and a gun pointed to her head and come out to a doorway."


    Pearson says, "He'd just open it really quick and look out, and shut the door again."
    An officer at the scene, worried for the life of the hostage, fired a single shot at Sickler, killing him but not hurting the hostage. Police don't believe Sickler ever intended to surrender. "

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    I've mostly decided that it is unlikely I will ever defend a stranger, unless I believe I or my loved ones are in danger. However, that doesn't exclude a situation like this, as this is a likely home invasion scenario, for instance.

    I agree about trying to shoot such a small target as the eye. I think the head in general would probably be the target.

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    cccook wrote:Be advised there are some on this forum who have taken large caliber rounds to the head. But I will let them share their stories as they see fit.
    Exactly!! That is why it has to enter the cranial cavity to stop all brain functions.

    Many rounds have bounced or traveled along the skull under the skin.

    That is why from the front it has to enter the octal area. From below the eyebrows to the nose (above the gums) and from eye cavity to eye cavity.

    The forhead has stopped many rounds as has the teeth and gum area.

    This is one shot that has to be practiced over and over and over, on a continual basis. And would have to be a life or death situation. It would be a tough call to make.

    At Front Sight after practicing this shot for some time they have us put a name of a loved one on the hostage part of the target before we take the shot.

    We practice the shot with pistol, rifle and shotgun with both slugs and buckshot.


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    Walther wrote:
    We practice the shot with pistol, rifle and shotgun with both slugs and buckshot.
    Using a shotgun in that scenario seems reckless when the attacker's head is so close to the victim's.

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    LiveFreeOrDie wrote:
    Walther wrote:
    We practice the shot with pistol, rifle and shotgun with both slugs and buckshot.
    Using a shotgun in that scenario seems reckless when the attacker's head is so close to the victim's.
    No not at all, You can be much more accurate with a shot gun than you can with a handgun.

    At 12 feet with 00 Buck you will have a 2 1/2 in. group.



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    LiveFreeOrDie wrote:Using a shotgun in that scenario seems reckless when the attacker's head is so close to the victim's.
    Tell me about it. When we were told that we would be doing this I thought "yeah right".. but with training and practice I was amazed at what we could do.


    However I agree, I can't see me doing it in real life and I hope I am never in a situation like that. But it is good to know what your weapons and you can do.

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    I gotta get to Front Sight (I gotta get some MONEY first though :P:?)

    So what I'm hearing is that a head shot shouldn't cause a tensing of the muscles, at least not to the point of the attacker's finger pulling the trigger. Shooting at general body mass could have a different effect I imagine.

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    Search the archives at Force Science Institute. http://www.forcescience.org/

    These folks spend more time and money than anybody else I know about researching issues involving the use of force and what happens when you use force - the mechanics of the issue, not the legal/moral areas.

    Thay have done everything except going out and shooting people in the head to find out what will most likely happen.

    Their research has saved the bacon for more than a few folks who were being tried because a bullet entered from the side/rear instead of from the front.

    They will accept mere prolls at their training, even when the training is geared entirely towards law enforcement.

    They have a free newsletter. Most of the time I wade through it, skipping stuff that will most likely never effect me, to find the one nugget that makes the effort worth while.

    stay safe.

    skidmark
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    Some guys can take alot of shots and live, even to the head if it doesn't enter and stop the brain.

    I know of an deputy sheriff that had a guy coming at him with an ax or machete, he shot him eight or nine times in the chest with his 9mm before the guy went to his knees. He lived and the deputy went right back to his .357, this is when they first went to the 9mm, the story I heard was this is the incident that changed the police in our state to drop the 9mm and go to the .45. This was quite a few years ago. They mostly now use the .40. They found that the 9mm were mushrooming just under the skin against the guys chest and never entered his chest cavity. He was a big guy, I think they said over 300 lbs.

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    Here are some selections from Charles Remsberg, The Tactical Edge: Surviving High Risk Patrol (Northbrook IL: Calibre Press, 1986; ISBN 0-935878-05-X), Chapter 4 Barricaded Subjects, section Sniper Control.

    The following excerpts assume a sniper with a scoped rifle, except where otherwise stated.

    p 221
    What you're hoping to sever or pulverize is his brain stem, the "celery stalk" about an inch in diameter that joins the spinal column to the brain. Nerves that control motor function are channeled through there, and the lower third of the stem [the medulla] controls breathing and heartbeat. Hit here, he won't experience even reflexive motor action. His entire body will instantly experience what doctors call "flaccid paralysis"; all his muscles will suddenly relax, incapable of any motion of any kind thereafter.

    Regardless of how the subject is positioned relative to you, think in terms of shooting center mass to his head. According to a concensus of medical examiners and forensic pathologists who've studied the incapacitating effects of sniper shots to the head, there are different considerations depending on his head positioning.
    A discussion of where to aim from different angles ensues.

    p. 225
    One quick reading on whether your head shot has been successful is how your target falls. If he goes straight down, limp, or pitches forward, you have high assurance of fatality. If he falls to the side, you're likely only to have partially incapacitated him. Almost never with a high-powered rifle round do you see the Hollywood phenomenon of the target being blown backwards. ...
    But wait! There's more ...

    In a discussion of center-mass chest shots on p. 227:

    The twitching phenomenon can also occur with head shots, if inappropriate ammunition is used. At a Wisconsin barricade, where a young gunman was holding a police chief hostage in a car, a lieutenant in the inner perimeter fired his .45 semi-automatic pistol and hit the suspect in the head. The slug ricocheted around inside his scalp but never penetrated his skull. He was still able to struggle with the chief before a second shot, fired from a .38 revolver achieved penetration. The subject seemed dead, but when officers rushed the car and dragged him out, he still clutched a gun in his right hand ... and all his fingers were twitching. ...
    DISCLAIMER: I myself have neither experience nor particular expertise in this area. The only thing I'm doing is presenting what this book says. Calibre Press is a respected LE publisher, but then again this particular book is 22 years old.

    As with so many things in self-defense, it seems like something of a crapshoot. Figure your odds and take your choice.

    Hope the above is helpful.

    regards,

    GR

    Edited for spelling.

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    Walther wrote:
    I would think it depends upon where the BG is shot.

    One shot to the cranial cavity and all functions should cease. No contrations, no movement (except for dropping to the ground).
    I think the most important word hereis "should." Brain functions probably should cease, but will they always? I'd bet not.

    I would rather concern myself with the question of whether I should pull the trigger. If its time to pull the trigger, then then its time to shoot. All else will fall into place for better or worse.

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    Hcidem wrote:
    Walther wrote:
    I would think it depends upon where the BG is shot.

    One shot to the cranial cavity and all functions should cease. No contrations, no movement (except for dropping to the ground).
    I think the most important word hereis "should." Brain functions probably should cease, but will they always? I'd bet not.

    I would rather concern myself with the question of whether I should pull the trigger. If its time to pull the trigger, then then its time to shoot. All else will fall into place for better or worse.
    The point is you can't decide when it's time to pull the trigger if you don't know what effect that action will cause. I thought that was obvious.

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    LiveFreeOrDie wrote:
    The point is you can't decide when it's time to pull the trigger if you don't know what effect that action will cause. I thought that was obvious.
    That action usually causes my gun to go BANG! Silly citizen!

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    In all the "advanced" handgun classes I have taken we were taught the "t-zone" shot (the "t" made by the eyes running down to the upper lip) and had to take it on hostage motiff targets. I have been taught that the ideal t-zone/medulla oblongata shot is between the bottom of the nose and the top of the upper lip.

    I would hate to ever be in the position where I had to take that shot IRL.
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    Hcidem wrote:
    Walther wrote:
    I would think it depends upon where the BG is shot.

    One shot to the cranial cavity and all functions should cease. No contrations, no movement (except for dropping to the ground).
    I think the most important word hereis "should." Brain functions probably should cease, but will they always? I'd bet not.

    I would rather concern myself with the question of whether I should pull the trigger. If its time to pull the trigger, then then its time to shoot. All else will fall into place for better or worse.

    Very aptly put.

    The greater good.

    One action....Pull...Fire.


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    which of us have doctorates in physiology? specifically neural physiology? I'd just say it's situational. Are you comfortable taking the shot? No then don't. Yes? then blow his face through the back of his head.

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