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Old October 10, 2000, 07:45 PM   #1
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To your TFL'ers,
In your folks' experiences, why do you think people do not drop the hammer? Pull the trigger?, when the situation calls for it?
I recall a thread where the person posting said that as a firearms instructor, he found that many people could not pull the trigger when they were face to face with the BG, who was often armed, too.
Opinions, please. Thanks.
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Old October 11, 2000, 01:11 AM   #2
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Most people are taught from early childhood that it is wrong to hurt someone else. Mom or Dad was there to shake a finger in your face when you hauled off and dotted a sibling in the eye with your fist. Sunday School taught Thou shalt not kill, and the law teaches that to take anothers life is so bad, that it deserves the Ultimate Price -- the Death Penalty.

You are further taught that those who kill, and particularly those who enjoy killing, are the epitome of evil.

There is...a certain...exultation in the act of taking another persons life, even in the act of self-defense. Some psychiatrists believe that it is a relief factor. You were that close to death, you survived, ergo you are feeling a great sense of relief. Others feel it is more primal -- you have faced the ultimate challenge, and you have won. Still others are sure that it is nothing more than the side effects of the chemicals produced by the body in the 'fight-or-flight' reponse.

However it is explained, it is a factor in the sense of shame following a self-defense shooting. You have just taken a life, and you are happy about it. Hell, you're ready to tip your head back and howl at the moon. Then you remember that people who like killing are evil. Big crash. Mondo Big Crash -- I'm talking depression, self-loathing, etc, until your mind manages to successfully rationalize the killing.

Side track here: Your mind not being able to rationalize your taking of a life is, I believe, a big factor in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Anyhoo, back to the subject, I believe that most people don't pull the trigger because a) their minds are hard-wired to the fact that taking a life is evil and/or b)they may have an inkling that they might enjoy it, thus becoming evil -- and death for themselves is far better than becoming a monster that enjoys killing.

That's just $.02 from a tired LawDog

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Old October 11, 2000, 08:32 AM   #3
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I suspect that a fair number of people have never thought through the full consequences of using a firearm for defense. They may have thought that they'll just shoot somebody if they have to, but never really contemplated the enormity of that action, just how terrible it really is. And now, when faced with it, they don't have time to think through their conflicted emotions. I'd spent some time thinking about this before I attended LFI-1, including a fair bit of reading. But LFI-1 definitely emphasized the terrible consequences of taking a life (and also the terrible consequences of not defending your own).

You have to make the decision ahead of time that you can take a life to save your own or your loved ones. That you can shoot a man who tried to kill you, and watch the life drain out of him as he calls for his mother. I thank the good Lord that I've never had to do this, because, as others have said, it seems to me to be the second worst thing that can happen to you.

The middle of gunfight is no time to try to make the decision as to whether or not you can take a life.

A few probably think that all they'll have to do is display their firearm and the goblin will run away. In many (most?) cases, they're absolutely right. But if they're wrong...

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Old October 12, 2000, 06:41 PM   #4
Al Mondroca
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I think Lawdog is exactly right: people don't "drop the hammer" because they've been civilized. Or, more accurately, domesticated. (Someday I have to do a little research on domesticating animals and write a screed comparing that to civilizing people....)

People who have a) been taught all their lives that life is sacred, and that violence of _any_ kind (much less lethal violence) is always bad, and b) have never thought through their beliefs are going to have real trouble pulling the trigger. People who _have_ really thought about the issue, and have seriously contemplated what they'd be willing to do in a crisis, are probably a lot less likely to freeze up. A life-threatening act of violence, like any emergency, is best handled long before it occurs.

When someone is having a heart attack, it's too late to learn CPR. If someone is bleeding out, it's too late to learn how to deal with serious injuries. When someone is trying to beat, stab or shoot you, it is too late to decide whether you're willing to kill to defend yourself. You need to know/decide these things well in advance.

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Old October 14, 2000, 02:05 PM   #5
Art Eatman
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We have some sub-cultures in the US for whom taking life is of little or no consequence. I'll ignore those for this discussion...

From various articles through the years, I got no argument with the "civilization/domestication" ideas. FWIW, in WW II, city people weren't usually considered for training as snipers. Farm or ranch types, since they were far more likely to have slaughtered hogs or yearling calves for food. Wrung chicken necks for Sunday dinner. This is more "up close and personal" than even hunting deer, etc.

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Old October 14, 2000, 03:12 PM   #6
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To continue Art's posting......

Modern Infantry tactics were developed by the Germans in WWI. They found that the skills needed to sneak up on an enemy position was strong in the men from the country. They could read terrian better the city folks.

Also their Close Combat skills were better then the city boys. Art has covered that fairly well.

It was noted that during the 60's and 70's....over 70 percent of the Marine Corps came from Southern states. Hunting States with long traditions of guns.

Being a Disabled Marine...Been There..Done That with 23 years service.

This may be the only life we have....enjoy it to the fullest. And if someone tries to end your life....don't think...act to preserve it.

Life's too short to worry about the small stuff.


There are no dangerous weapons....only dangerous men. Robert Heinlein.

When the fear of failure to do one's duty for God and Country overcomes fear of dying, a true warrior is born.
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Old October 15, 2000, 08:55 AM   #7
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I think legal worries are important also. No one wants to risk going to prison or being sued if they can avoid it. That might cause hesitation.

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