Alcohol and Situational Awareness- Incompatible?

This is a discussion on Alcohol and Situational Awareness- Incompatible? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This question is regarding the implications of being mentally impaired and trying to have the greatest possible situational awareness regarding a self defense mindset. For ...

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Thread: Alcohol and Situational Awareness- Incompatible?

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    Member Array romansten9's Avatar
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    Alcohol and Situational Awareness- Incompatible?

    This question is regarding the implications of being mentally impaired and trying to have the greatest possible situational awareness regarding a self defense mindset. For the context of this discussion, I will define this as: A temporary condition in which a person has reduced mental capacity and diminished response time as a result of intoxication by alcohol and other drugs.

    Since alcohol is so common, and since it is the drug that is implicated in an enormous number of traumatic injuries (planned and un-planned) it will be the major focus of this discussion. This discussion is NOT about whether or not a person should be allowed to carry a weapon inside of an establishment that sells alcohol. We all know that being in a bar does not mean that a person is impaired (designated drivers for example)

    Now to the questions:

    1. Can a person expect to have JUST AS MUCH capacity for situational awareness (SA) and reaction time (RT) while using alcohol as opposed to being sober? (keeping in mind many research studies in which reaction times have diminished due to alcohol intoxication and even mild consumption)

    2. Should a person that wishes to be able to defend them-self be using alcohol at all? Is there ever a good time to be impaired while desiring maximum safety?

    3. Is there ever a safe PLACE in which to become impaired and remain safe (short of hiring a bodyguard to watch out for you) ? To expand this thought, obviously a bar may be a worst case scenario for many, while home may seem relatively safe. (but we know that even home is often not safe)

    4. Are there situations in which one may be called to assist someone else, or to make emergency decisions for another, which may be impossible while impaired? (for example, a parent called to the ER to make decisions for a child involved in an automobile accident)

    5. What is the value of training to increase SA and self defense tactics for those that plan to use alcohol or other drugs? Doesn't mental impairment go against everything that is trying to be accomplished? Isn't the goal to INCREASE mental conditioning rather than DECREASE it?

    Just a few thoughts I have had, hopefully this will generate some good discussion that can be learned from.

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    Senior Member Array Gaius's Avatar
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    Are these trick questions?
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    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    You're kidding right? Actually being drunk reduces SA, but enhances accuracy. Nothing provides a steadier rest than your arm against the floor and your face against the cold linoleum. Any mice or cockroaches that cross in front of your muzzle have had it.
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    lol slim
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    Doesn't matter. When you're bullet proof nothing can hurt you anyway.

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    VIP Member Array Hiram25's Avatar
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    I'm glad I don't drink.
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    Member Array romansten9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by automatic slim View Post
    You're kidding right? Actually being drunk reduces SA, but enhances accuracy. Nothing provides a steadier rest than your arm against the floor and your face against the cold linoleum. Any mice or cockroaches that cross in front of your muzzle have had it.
    I like it!

    Actually, one reason I asked the question is that I have NEVER seen this topic addressed anywhere. Not on a "self defense" type of TV show, and not on a forum like this. (maybe it was there and I missed it) I'm surprised how many "gun experts" preach: "the mind is your greatest weapon" and then go out and drink after training a group of shooters on the range! So much for practicing what you preach. What are we to believe?

    thanks for your input!

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    Member Array romansten9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaius View Post
    Are these trick questions?
    Yes. The "trick" is that you can choose to have a mindset of maximum self awareness all the time, or you can choose to go out and get drunk, but you can't do both! So choose wisely!

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    Distinguished Member Array ArkhmAsylm's Avatar
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    Oh, great! Now I've got to think about: my smoke; my drink; the guy at the next table who's having a heart attack; AND what's going on around me???

    Seriously, if there is an iota of concern about impairment & it's possible ramifications, then don't do anything that might cause impairment - or choose your company & live life.
    "Historical examination of the right to bear arms, from English antecedents to the drafting of the Second Amendment, bears proof that the right to bear arms has consistently been, and should still be, construed as an individual right." -- U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings, Re: U.S. vs Emerson (1999)

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by romansten9 View Post
    I like it!

    Actually, one reason I asked the question is that I have NEVER seen this topic addressed anywhere. Not on a "self defense" type of TV show, and not on a forum like this. (maybe it was there and I missed it) I'm surprised how many "gun experts" preach: "the mind is your greatest weapon" and then go out and drink after training a group of shooters on the range! So much for practicing what you preach. What are we to believe?

    thanks for your input!
    Alcohol and guns don't mix,having a drink at home or getting plastered are 2 different things,I don't drink and haven't for almost 20 years,a huge problem isn't just diminished SA but also diminished skills as far as being able to make a rational decision to a perceived threat.I need all my decision making skills intact when carrying a firearm and the responsibility that comes with it
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
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    Senior Member Array wjh2657's Avatar
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    Having been a drunk myself (in service), I will tell you that those who answer this post with "I can have several beers/drinks and it doesn't effect me at all" are the worst people to have around in a precarious situation. They are the folks that run their mouths, grope the women, and bump into furniture all night at parties, Like I said, I used to do it. I don't care how "experienced" you are at drinking, a couple of drinks and you have no SA at all. The more often you drink, the better you get at lying about it, especially to yourself. You still get drunk though! The last two or three "designated drivers" that I have seen at the local "watering hole" were blotto btw. I'm afraid it is human nature.

    I do occasionally have a social libation with the boys, but I don't carry or handle firearms until the next morning. I also have wife pick me up and drive me home (she doesn't drink).

    IMHO, if you are drinking, guns and vehicles should be secured from your/my grasp.
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    Distinguished Member Array RevolvingMag's Avatar
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    I see no harm in one or two beers (not talking hard liquor/mixed drinks, just beer/ale/etc). Of course, I don't have anything do drink unless I've had a meal recently. But, I'm also 6'+ and around 300lbs, so a couple 'light beers' don't do much of anything to me spread over a couple hours. But, no, I don't drive after I drink, and immediately upon getting home I put my gun away.

    On the occasions when I do drink more than one or two, I unload my weapon BEFORE I start.
    "Rock and load, lock and roll... what's it matter? FIRE!!"

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    Member Array red13's Avatar
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    No more than you should be operating a vehicle, table saw, or lathe, should you be carrying. All of the above happen, none are smart.

    Also, I used to drink a lot. The more you drink, the more you learn to compensate for the physical effects. Those are motor skills, basically.

    There are also perceptual effects, and you can at least be aware that they are happening.

    The one thing that you CANNOT compensate for, or even really be fully aware of, is the changes in thought and judgement. Those effects are really subtle.
    Anybody can get scared, but you must absolutely not let that affect your behavior. Cowardice kills. -Jeff Cooper

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    Somebody's got to be the designated shooter.
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    It would depend upon the tolerace or lack thereof with the individual consuming alcoholic drink. I know people who have a very high tolerance and you would not even know they have had drink. I do occasionally have a glass of wine or a beer or maybe a stronger mixed drink but do not take or carry a firearm with me if I do. Why take chances you don't need.

    Being dead drunk is vastly different. It reduces the ability to think rationally and make sound decisions with anything, firearms, situational awareness, operating a motor vehicle etc.

    It is a personal choice to consume alcohol while doing anything that may result in deadly consequences.
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