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Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:48 AM

The Science of Panic: Why the NRA Is Wrong About Defensive Gun Use

Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association, released an op-ed for the Daily Caller on Wednesday, February 13, to defend the pro-gun position, listing hurricanes, tornadoes, riots, gangs, lone criminals, and my personal favorite, terrorists, as threats Americans are "sure to face -- not just maybe." This use of fear to implement a political agenda is nothing new to America's right wing. From the infamous Southern Strategy to Milton Friedman and George W. Bush passing laissez faire reforms in New Orleans following Katrina, conservatives have unabashedly manipulated their ranks because scared people are obedient. Studies indicate that people who have larger right amygdalas, the part of of the brain associated with sensitivity to fear, tend to be more conservative. It is no surprise, then, that this tactic is so effective. Now, I find myself wondering where Mr. LaPierre lives that he encounters each of these threats, but more importantly I question his underlying assumption that armed civilians are competent enough in crisis scenarios to ward off or kill an attacker.

Though the scenario plays out in virtually every western and action film ever made, good guys stopping bad guys with guns is a rare occurrence as we know from reports from the U.S. Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice and the Harvard Injury Control Policy Research Center's David Hemenway. Every year there are even a few token incidents in the news of this occurring, but for most part these events are uncommon. And there is a good reason for why that is: Human physiology.

When people are put in a crisis situation the fight-or-flight response is triggered and the sympathetic nervous system kicks into action involuntarily. Stress hormones like epinephrine are released en masse into our blood stream increasing arterial pressure and blood flow to major muscle masses, dilating the blood vessels. This boosts our gross motor skills. Still some blood vessels constrict which reduces blood flow to the ends of appendages to limit injuries. The heart rate increases. A report from Killology Research Group, that studies the science of combat, explains that "extreme SNS activation will cause catastrophic failure of the visual, cognitive, and motor control systems." Tunnel vision and auditory exclusion impair our ability to take in our surroundings, we lose complex motor control (meaning we fumble performing anything but the most basic movements) and irrationality and confusion prevent sound action.

This is precisely why police officers and soldiers require constant training in high stress situations to develop muscle memory to overcome these physiological barriers to rational decision-making. Even then, prolonged exposure can result in post-traumatic stress disorder. The argument that armed civilians are just as capable as law enforcement at stopping crime is essentially the same as saying "police don't need training."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/walker-bragman/nra-guns-fear_b_2703118.html

65 replies, 6147 views

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Arrow 65 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Science of Panic: Why the NRA Is Wrong About Defensive Gun Use (Original post)
SecularMotion Feb 2013 OP
iiibbb Feb 2013 #1
safeinOhio Feb 2013 #3
holdencaufield Feb 2013 #5
iiibbb Feb 2013 #10
gopiscrap Sep 2013 #46
cantbeserious Feb 2013 #2
holdencaufield Feb 2013 #4
cantbeserious Feb 2013 #20
oneshooter Feb 2013 #22
cantbeserious Feb 2013 #27
oneshooter Feb 2013 #38
holdencaufield Feb 2013 #28
iiibbb Feb 2013 #37
Eleanors38 Feb 2013 #40
Nuclear Unicorn Sep 2013 #60
gopiscrap Sep 2013 #47
cantbeserious Sep 2013 #48
gopiscrap Sep 2013 #49
safeinOhio Feb 2013 #6
Clames Feb 2013 #8
iiibbb Feb 2013 #12
iiibbb Feb 2013 #15
Clames Feb 2013 #21
krispos42 Feb 2013 #7
jmg257 Feb 2013 #9
iiibbb Feb 2013 #13
jmg257 Feb 2013 #14
Zoeisright Feb 2013 #23
jmg257 Feb 2013 #24
bossy22 Feb 2013 #25
jmg257 Feb 2013 #35
Eleanors38 Feb 2013 #41
jmg257 Feb 2013 #42
Tuesday Afternoon Sep 2013 #50
ProgressiveProfessor Feb 2013 #11
AtheistCrusader Feb 2013 #16
iiibbb Feb 2013 #17
GreenStormCloud Feb 2013 #18
iiibbb Feb 2013 #19
AnotherMcIntosh Feb 2013 #26
iiibbb Feb 2013 #34
holdencaufield Feb 2013 #30
iiibbb Feb 2013 #31
holdencaufield Feb 2013 #32
iiibbb Feb 2013 #33
EX500rider Sep 2013 #61
holdencaufield Feb 2013 #29
ileus Feb 2013 #36
HillbillyBob Feb 2013 #39
HGT Sep 2013 #43
Eleanors38 Sep 2013 #44
gopiscrap Sep 2013 #45
AtheistCrusader Sep 2013 #51
DonP Sep 2013 #52
AtheistCrusader Sep 2013 #53
SecularMotion Sep 2013 #57
AtheistCrusader Sep 2013 #58
Lizzie Poppet Sep 2013 #54
SheilaT Sep 2013 #55
beevul Sep 2013 #59
MisterP Sep 2013 #56
ileus Sep 2013 #62
SecularMotion Sep 2013 #63
HGT Oct 2013 #64
Nuclear Unicorn Oct 2013 #65

Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:57 AM

1. Then why do people successfully defend themselves

 

probably because there is more to the story

1) it assumes people don't train and probably discounts equivalent training (lots of things can prepare a mind for crisis)
2) it assumes all criminals have a real plan and/or know what they're doing.
3) It assume people don't have time to get to a defendable position.

I will agree, a gun in the hands if someone who hasn't thought it through is less likely to help.

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Response to iiibbb (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:18 AM

3. "a gun in the hands if someone who hasn't thought it through is less likely to help"

that'd be 99% of gun owners. Then you could add the 50 percent of those that have "thought it through" that still screw up. There is a big difference between reality and fantasy, gun ownership involves mostly the latter.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:22 AM

5. Not 99% of the gun owners I know.

 

Everyone I know who owns responsibly is AT LEAST as proficient with their firearm as any petty criminal they are likely to encounter.

It doesn't take military levels of training to face an adversary who has no training at all. And most of the arseholes running around looking to do bad things with guns aren't trained.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 09:08 AM

10. That is BS

 

The article gives police too much credit, and your 99% figure blows yours away.

Although the real number is probably nothing for gun owners to brag about.

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Response to iiibbb (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 04:29 PM

46. I agree

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:00 AM

2. What - Good Guys With Guns Is Not The Answer - But Fox News Told Me So

eom

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Response to cantbeserious (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:18 AM

4. What is your solution to BAD guys with guns?

 

Singing Kum-ba-ya until they acheive total consciousness?

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Response to holdencaufield (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 01:16 PM

20. Same Solution - Outlaw All Guns - Very Punitive Measures For Violators

eom

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Response to cantbeserious (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 02:29 PM

22. Of course this includes all LEOs.

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Response to oneshooter (Reply #22)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:39 PM

27. Not Necessarily

eom

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Response to cantbeserious (Reply #27)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 10:22 PM

38. So you would have them armed on duty.

And have their arm locked up when off duty?
And why, if firearms are illegal and confiscated, would they need anything more than a strong voice and maybe a wooden billy?

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Response to cantbeserious (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:54 PM

28. Now your username is beginning to make sense

 

Yes, prohibition works -- it totally eliminated alcohol, drugs, gay sex, copies of "Catcher in the Rye" and the use of steroids in professional sports.

Since people -- at one time or another -- faced very stiff jail sentences for most of those things above and still continued to use them what sort of "very punitive" measures did you have in mind? Public executions? Killing their family members? No desserts for a month?

Did it every occur to you that bad people with guns ARE bad people because the number of fraks they give about your laws is equal to or less than zero? How do you plan on enforcing your "very punitive" measures if the only people who have guns are the bad guys? Honour system?

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Response to cantbeserious (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:40 PM

37. You are on to something

 

You serve the crimes of your neighbors... that way you're inclined to make sure they follow laws, or call the police to stop them, or else

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Response to cantbeserious (Reply #20)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 04:14 PM

40. So you disagree with other controllers who say "No one wants to take your guns away?"

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Response to cantbeserious (Reply #20)

Tue Sep 24, 2013, 05:55 PM

60. Just outlaw hurting other people, then people won't need guns for defense.

Oh, wait.

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Response to cantbeserious (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 04:29 PM

47. Why are you watching Faux Snooze?

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Response to gopiscrap (Reply #47)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 04:50 PM

48. Never Do - Do Not Own A Television

eom

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Response to cantbeserious (Reply #48)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 04:58 PM

49. Oh thank God, I thought you might have gone over to the dark side!!!

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:31 AM

6. The only criminals that have trained with their weapons

tend to be mass murders.

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Response to safeinOhio (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:50 AM

8. What this individual is ignorant of is that gangs are known to have members enlist in the military..

 

...to receive basic combat training.

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Response to Clames (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 09:55 AM

12. Like these guys?

 

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Response to Clames (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 10:23 AM

15. And what about this claim that gangs and bad guys are getting "training" makes me want to be unarmed

 

... I mean gun owners are criticized for being paranoid, but you're saying the criminals are organizing their efforts?

If that is true, why the hell wouldn't I want a gun as an option?

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Response to iiibbb (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 02:18 PM

21. I have several firearms as options...

 

...I prefer to have as many options as I like....

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:50 AM

7. Well, this presumably also applies to the bad guy

But it does help explain why people want large magazine capacities... so they don't have to try reload under stress!

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 09:04 AM

9. I wonder if criminals and attackers are ever 'put into a crisis situation'.

Especially if suddenly and unexpectedly faced with the real prospect of getting shot themselves.

Maybe they are immune to all this science.


That said, nothing wrong with a bit of training. As most instructors will avow.

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Response to jmg257 (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 09:56 AM

13. like this?

 

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Response to iiibbb (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 10:16 AM

14. Yep - I guess they are! Sure looked like much more fright and flight instead of fight to me. nt

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Response to jmg257 (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 04:46 PM

23. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA!!!

Keep on believing that, along with the little fairies under toadstools in your backyard.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #23)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 04:49 PM

24. Keep on believing what??

I see a declarative point about training, other then that...

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #23)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:21 PM

25. what are you saying?

that most criminals are some how well trained commandos in the use of firearms?

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Response to bossy22 (Reply #25)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 06:58 PM

35. Whatever he's saying - he's definitely getting a kick out of it! nt

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Response to jmg257 (Reply #35)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 04:18 PM

41. Well, he did mention toadstools.

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Response to Eleanors38 (Reply #41)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 04:27 PM

42. Aahhh...that could explain the unexplained laughter. Hope he had a nice trip!

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #23)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 10:45 AM

50. What ARE you -On- about?

Last edited Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:06 PM - Edit history (1)

All those make you look like you are laughing maniacally.

Do you not think instructors say that?

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 09:50 AM

11. Note that this is from Blagman's blog, and has nothing to do with science..nt

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 10:33 AM

16. Wrong.

This article equates SELF DEFENSE with LAW ENFORCEMENT. The purpose of LEO is not simply to shoot at people in self defense. LEO must run down, tackle, capture, corral, or otherwise apprehend bad guys who might be dangerous even when retreating at high speed.

Joe Schmoe on the street (assholes like Zimmerman excluded) generally do not have an apprehension duty to exercise.

The FBI has released studies on this in the past, and the number of shots fired in self defense by Joe Citizen is on average lower, and more accurate than XYZ police department, and part of that is the delta between the purpose of an individual defending him or herself, and a police officer, not only defending him or herself, but also charged with enforcing the law and public safety.

There is no direct comparison here. For me and you, average non-LEO, we must deal with fight or flight. LEO has to deal with predator/prey response as well. That's why you get 10 police officers stomping on some kid that initially fled from the police, when they catch his ass. Because they are filling the role of predator, and they have caught their prey. That's why there's so much more training needed for a police officer, beyond simple 'bullets go here' training that everyone else can leverage perfectly well into lawful and effective self defense.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 12:12 PM

17. This guy should have trained more

 

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/19/17017235-homeowner-shoots-kills-intruder-climbing-through-window#comments

A homeowner fatally shot an intruder as he climbed through a window and into his home Monday afternoon, Dallas police say.

Police said the homeowner heard a noise inside his residence and shot a man, later identified as 33-year-old Deyfon Pipkins, aka BJ, as he climbed through the window.

"The homeowner heard a noise. He came around the corner, saw the individual trying to climb into the window and according to the law, the castle doctrine, he used deadly force," said Sgt. Calvin Johnson, with the Dallas Police Department.

According to police, the homeowner then called 911. When police arrived, officers found Pipkins’ body lying lifeless in the window.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 12:35 PM

18. What is your lifetime chance of being targeted by a criminal?

The threat to me from criminals, on a daily basis is extremely low, almost zero. But as days accumulate, the total probability increases that on some day, a criminal will target me. The probability for any particular day remains low, but someday...
Like that meteor in Russia, the daily chance is almost zero, but sometimes it happens if you wait long enough.

Further, it is well known that criminals tend to target individuals that they think will be an easy takedown and us old folks are prime candidates for that category. So while my daily chances of being targeted are very low, over my life the total chances are rather high.

Further, your studies predominately took place when civilians could not carry guns legally, and for about half the population they still can't. Obviously, if people can't be armed, then there won't be any DGUs. So ultimately your argument is circular. People couldn't carry guns so there were almost no DGUs and you use the absence of DGUs as an argument against allowing people to be armed.

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Response to GreenStormCloud (Reply #18)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 12:56 PM

19. Lifetime.... 1 in 200 chance to die at another's hands.

 

at least according to this site I just found... which is going to be fun to peruse for a few days as it seems quite in depth.

http://violentdeathproject.com/countries/united-states


the most interesting map right off the bat.




which is interesting because north generally leans liberal and non-gun-owning, and south generally leans conservative and gun-owning. Both sides like to throw the N/S and city/urban patterns of homicide in each others' faces. But what this map really indicates that it's due to climate. Murders happen more where people get out more.... in southern latitudes and in cities.

So neither side probably has it right when discussing regional violent crime... it really seems to come down to exposure and opportunity.

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Response to iiibbb (Reply #19)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:27 PM

26. You must not be from Chicago.

 

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #26)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 06:31 PM

34. my dad isn't

 

" nice place to be from"


emphasis on from

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Response to iiibbb (Reply #19)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 06:08 PM

30. Homicide is related to temperature?

 

That actually makes sense -- when it's REALLY hot I just want to kill someone.

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Response to holdencaufield (Reply #30)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 06:19 PM

31. When it's not cold, criminals are more willing to loiter perhaps

 

or be out in general

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Response to iiibbb (Reply #31)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 06:21 PM

32. If you lick your gun in Canada -- your tongue will freeze to it

 

Seen it happen -- not pretty

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Response to holdencaufield (Reply #32)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 06:25 PM

33. only if you keep it in a cold place winkwink saynomore

 

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Response to iiibbb (Reply #19)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 07:50 PM

61. Does sort of make you think climate is part of it...

...reminds me of the "Boomtown Rats" lyrics in "Someone's looking at you"

"You know most killing is committed at 90 degrees.
When it's too hot to breathe
And it's too hot to think."

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 06:07 PM

29. Pistol ammo is nearly $1 a round

 

Let's say .75 for reloads. I shoot a few thousand rounds a year in practice which isn't cheap. I shoot competitive single action so I am not bad at shooting accurate and reloading fast under time pressure.

I submit to you -- anyone who has same amount of disposable cash to train as much as I isn't involved in petty larceny. The odds are VERY high that whomever comes into my house at 3am looking for trouble is going to be less familiar with their weapons than I am with mine.

On top of that, I'm familiar with my home and, presumably, they are not -- home field advantage.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:07 PM

36. Thanks for offering but I'll keep my ability to defend my family and home.

safety first....victim later.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 10:59 AM

39. It might be hard to keep your stuff together

I have been mugged and beaten very badly 4x. You simply do not know how you will react when the time comes. Perhaps more training, I had training, but there is also the fact that you can be outnumbered and have that same gun used on you.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 07:28 AM

43. 10% technique 90% Attitude

Basically the message of the article "Put yourself at the mercy of people who have none."

Which means putting yourself at the mercy of people like this

The battle begins in your mind. High quality training is readily available online and can be bought for less than the cost of an iPod.

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Response to HGT (Reply #43)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 04:17 PM

44. The "Killology Institute?" Cute.

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Response to HGT (Reply #43)

Sun Sep 15, 2013, 04:28 PM

45. Welcome to DU

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 10:56 AM

51. This is actually an argument to train more.

The more shooting becomes muscle memory, the less likely that tunnel vision and time dilation is to hurt you. Against a single adversary, some of those conditions are an enormous asset.

Drive a stick enough and yes, you CAN manage a clutch, and the steering, in a skid, to avoid another vehicle, by example. Drive a stick once a year, and get on the road in bad conditions, and you're going to fail miserably.

This article seems to downplay how incredibly lethal some humans can be, in a pinch.


There are two things to keep in mind, reading an article like this; past performance of civilians (non-LEO anyway) hitting bystanders accidentally, and the lethality of armed self-defense overall.

In the wild, both are actually incredibly unlikely. Most DGU's do not produce so much as an injury, let alone a fatality, and most DGU's do not involve a bystander getting hit. Statistically negligible territory for either, especially if you consider the USDoJ estimates of 60-100k DGU's/year, and less than 1000 Justifiable Homicides involving DGU's/year.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #51)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 11:48 AM

52. Aaah, that's the catch!

It's simple -

If citizens don't train, then they are clearly a danger to the public and shouldn't have guns in their possession.

If citizens do train, they are obviously just looking for a chance to shoot somebody and therefore shouldn't be allowed to have/carry a gun.

(Please ignore the fact that after repeatedly asking for a few examples of the 12+ million CCW carriers accidentally shooting civilians, no one seems to be able to find any/many examples of the carnage they obviously must cause)



Lately The gun control "fans" seem to be cranking out study after study showing how ... "guns don't work for self defense", "will kill your pet dog/cat/neighbor/pot bellied pig et. al.", and the public opinion needle still isn't moving the way they want it to, unless of course they conveniently measure it themselves and tell us it's working.

In the meantime gun sales continue to soar and violent crime continues to fall. But ... since it's not as low as (fill in designated European country of the moment here) it's still not good enough.

BTW, Has anyone else noticed that the "NRA is Dead and has no impact on elections" threads have disappeared? We're back to the basic "the elders of the NRA if the source of all evil" again.

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Response to DonP (Reply #52)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 11:53 AM

53. I have noted that particular Catch-22 in discussions before.

Can't make everyone happy I guess. Either you are unqualified, or you are 'looking to shoot someone'.

My personal crime is, I don't carry very often, even though I maintain my training. Can't carry at work, so I can't carry to/from work. That's like.. 70% of my waking hours right there. I accept 'no guns' as a condition of employment. That is my choice. But it means that I am HIGHLY unlikely to be prepared to respond, if needed, even though I am adequately skilled in doing so.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #51)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 02:43 PM

57. I agree that the bar should be raised for carry permits.

I don't agree with the NRA lobbying to lower the bar for civilians to obtain carry permits. Nor do I agree with the concept of national reciprocity, which forces states with strong regulations on carry permits to accept gun permits from states with weak regulations.

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Response to SecularMotion (Reply #57)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 02:44 PM

58. I didn't speak to a bar high/low.

I agree insofar as I deplore the existence of people who do not train, but either possess a permit to carry, or actively carry.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 01:42 PM

54. This demonstrates the need for repeated, high-quality practice.

As the excerpt implies, the goal is to develop "muscle memory" so that the adrenaline surge and other physiological effects produced by an actual fight-or-flight situation can be at least partially overcome. I always tell any of my friends contemplating getting a firearm for protection that they shouldn't do so unless they are willing to commit to regular range time.

I shoudl also point out that there is a wide range of human reaction to these types if high-stress situation. Some react in the rather extreme manner cited (near-complete shut-down on several levels), others see very little change. It's pretty much impossible to predict how you will react until you're actually in such a situation.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 02:13 PM

55. A few months ago a video was posted here multiple times

which took several people, ordinary citizens, who had guns and had had some training, through an exercise where they were in a classroom and a shooter came in. Not a single one of those self-proclaimed "I'm trained and I can keep you safe with my gun" people could actually effectively disable the shooter.

Even professionals fuck up. I heard a brief piece on NPR that a cop tried to shoot someone today (I think it was in NYC) but missed and wounded a couple of bystanders.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #55)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 04:01 PM

59. You mean the one...

You mean the one in which the "active shooter" knew before hand which individual in the room was armed, and the "defenders" were made to wear gloves, baggy clothing etc?


We remember that one too.

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Mon Sep 16, 2013, 02:30 PM

56. what--a paranoiac, corporate-concocted worldview with strong racist overtones

is wrong from top to bottom? then that means that talking points derived from that worldview are unlikely to be accurate, too!

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Response to SecularMotion (Original post)

Sun Sep 29, 2013, 10:09 PM

62. That's why you train train train...

Because lives depend on it...safety first, willing victim never.

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Response to ileus (Reply #62)

Mon Sep 30, 2013, 05:59 AM

63. Keep practicing

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Response to SecularMotion (Reply #63)

Sat Oct 5, 2013, 05:57 PM

64. So....

We the peasants are too stupid and untrained to defend ourselves yet when we learn how to defend themselves, we become Travis Bickle?

I guess self-defense is only for the rich and connected then which is what gun prohibitionists like Walker Bragman want.

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Response to HGT (Reply #64)

Wed Oct 9, 2013, 05:38 PM

65. Good citizens have a duty to be beaten, assaulted, robbed and murdered.

All right-thinking people know this.

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