Getting "Intimate" with Violence

Getting "Intimate" with Violence

This is a discussion on Getting "Intimate" with Violence within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Defensive Intelligence: Connecting the Dots - James Barnhart I had just come to a stop when they pulled into my driveway directly behind me. Their ...

View Poll Results: What do you believe is the root of violence?

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  • An abusive childhood experience.

    10 7.30%
  • A neurological defect

    8 5.84%
  • An expression of spiritual evil

    37 27.01%
  • Violence is a natural occurrance.

    82 59.85%
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Thread: Getting "Intimate" with Violence

  1. #1
    New Member Array J Barney's Avatar
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    Getting "Intimate" with Violence

    Defensive Intelligence: Connecting the Dots - James Barnhart

    I had just come to a stop when they pulled into my driveway directly behind me. Their headlights were set to high beams and I couldn’t see them for the glare in the rearview mirror. Chris was always showing up in a hurry, vehemently telling me to “get ready, we’re going out”. By the time I set the parking brake and turned off the stereo, Chris was not at my side window as I expected, maybe it wasn’t him. As I turned the key off, the headlights from behind dimmed and the glare reduction allowed me to see the passenger pulling a ski mask over his face in my rearview mirror. The driver was already stepping out of the car.

    This was my point, my “switch”. The fear came over me and said “listen to me, do as I say”, and I did. He got off three rounds as I slid out of my truck, drawing my gun as the unburned powder peppered my face. But, I reverted to my training, returned fire and got ready for the aftermath. Most everyone has said that my training saved me when presented with the extreme reality of being instantly engaged by gunfire at short range. But what made me revert? Whatever triggered the application of my training actually saved my life.

    It was the fear? OK, the fear is responsible for applying my training and saving my life, but what was it that recognized that I should fear something, or deeper yet, what caused me to look up at my mirror when I sensed the headlights dimming behind me? I hadn’t seen or heard anything overtly dangerous at that point, but I stopped what I was doing and looked up at that moment, instead of getting out first to greet whoever it may have been. So there was something there, albeit minute, before the fear, which made me want to reevaluate the situation. That’s what I was after when I started dissecting the whole incident, looking to make sense of why those little morsels of passive information triggered a nearly unconscious reaction.

    It wasn’t the first time I had noticed that there was something happening to prepare me for somewhat unexpected occurrences from time to time. There is no argument that the more time you have to prepare for a violent encounter, the better your chances of survival. So what is it that makes us just “know” something, and how do we use it to predict violence? The answers lay hidden in plain view.

    My shooting incident coincidently occurred during a period of great strides in neurological research and technology. While I was working my way through the veritable mountain of self defense type literature exclusive of the professional training genre I had been immersed in up to that point, I realized that everything I was reading was based on the reactionary mindset. What tactics to use, what caliber and type of gun, best concealed clothing and holster for easy draw, how to reload and drills for clearing stoppages, target transitioning, etc.. Everything you need to know for after the violence commences. All of this is absolute in its necessity, but while expanding my research I found there were recent neurological discoveries that were exposing answers about violent behavior that applied directly to the subject of not just reacting to, but also understanding and avoiding ( possibly even predicting) lethal violence.

    The jump to the scientific and medical literature was nearly accidental in nature as there exists a dichotomous relationship between the two worlds of the neurological and psychological scientists and the legally armed citizens who seek to counter criminal violence. Nearly all of the authors of the books and research journals I encountered, at some point, made anti-gun declarations and there doesn’t appear to be any overt effort to get this information out to the armed citizen for use now. Instead, the majority of the effort is to implement programs born of these discoveries into educational programs in an attempt to identify and correct the violent inclinations during childhood, before they become murderers and rapists.

    I applaud the application of these wonderful discoveries and programs to help children and hopefully stem the tide of criminal violence. However, neglecting to acknowledge the benefits this would give the armed citizen, because of an anti-gun agenda, to me, would be ridiculously ironic given the fact that the very literature they are producing professes, with steadfast momentum, that violence is a common and natural occurrence among primates and humans, regardless of the presence of a gun or any other weapon for that matter. The only differences being that, with a gun, the attacker isn’t forced to be in close proximity to the victim, and the armed victim isn’t bound by the law of natural selection to lose if the attacker has an advantage leveraged by physical prowess or a weapon of their own. Anti-gun rhetoric aside, the science of what they present is solid.

    The first dot from which all other dots in the self defense picture get their structure is the amygdala. No, it’s not a mythical deity that warns warrior spirits of imminent peril. It’s the area of the brain that has its finger on the emotional trigger of our brain. The amygdala and another part of the brain called the hippocampus are responsible for almost all memory retention.

    The hippocampus takes the role of remembering the specifics of the memory such as context, but it is the amygdala that causes values and resultant emotion and action to be applied to those memories. For example, have you ever opened a drawer and jumped at the sight of a rubber snake or spider, only to exhale and smile a second later? How many times have you heard something that made you instantly burst out in laughter, maybe spraying your drink you had just taken a sip of only to be totally embarrassed a second later? Or how about when you smell something that immediately takes you back and not just remember, but feel the emotion of a fond moment in your past?

    The emotion and initial reaction is the amygdala in action. The recognition that the snake in the aforementioned drawer was not in an enclosure protecting you from it was the hippocampus. The amygdala assigned an emotion (fear) which triggered an immediate reaction (a jump back and a possible yelp), and then the prefrontal lobes (the rational, “thinking” area of the brain) reasoned that because of the coloring, visible seams from the rubber mold, and lack of realism (from close scrutiny) that it was ok and you did not need to flee.

    What is important to understand here is the order in which the signal is sent and what relationship each part of the brain shares with the collective response you display. When you open the drawer, your eyes send the signal of the snake to the thalamus, which in turn sends the signal to the visual cortex which links up with the prefrontal lobes to rationalize the situation. But, the thalamus first sends a signal, in as little as 12 milliseconds, directly to the amygdala for an immediate survival reaction if necessary. The other signal, after being tempered with reason is still shot back to the amygdala for an assignment of “feeling” about what you are seeing, but its the initial signal to the amygdala that causes the fight or flight response.

    How does the amygdala know to cause a hyper reaction to a realistic snake and the simple act of observation to a picture of a snake? Its close working relationship with the hippocampus in creation of memories allows this differentiation. It is the hippocampus that applies the context of what you are seeing. This, in turn, controls the degree to which the amygdala is stimulated by this initial vigilance signal. But, the threatening nature of the snake, aside from context, that results in a trigger reaction is the specialty of the amygdala’s memory function.

    The creation of a memory is actually a secretion of chemicals and firing of neural synapses prompted by the amygdala/hippocampus team. A minor incident like watching traffic pass at a stop light solicits a very minor chemical/synapse imprint that is not an easily retrievable memory after the passage of minimal time. However, the major occurrence of a violent encounter leaves a neural imprint that can easily be retrieved years or decades after the event when triggered by the correct stimuli. This is the first dot in the connect-the-dots picture of defensive reaction. Before the emotional aspects of the incident (fear, loathing or panic) set in, there is also an immediate physical reaction commanded by the amygdala. This physical reaction (flinching, jumping back, yelling, screaming, etc.) is also a type of memory. It is a preprogrammed response from previous encounters or gained knowledge, stored in the same chemical/synapse method, and it can be reprogrammed.

    While working with Blackwater USA, I attended a specialized training course that specifically dealt with this reprogramming. The method was to cover the “victim” with a black hood that was quickly jerked to the ceiling via a rope and pulley. While under the hood and being subjected to an auditory distraction that sounded like bricks in a clothes dryer, aggressors would randomly position themselves around the victim and play their part when the hood was yanked up. You may be attacked from behind, swung at with a closed fist, slashed at with a knife, shot at with a .357 loaded with blanks, simply asked for directions to the airport, etc. The pattern was random to evaluate the appropriateness of your response. The key was the violence of action. If you weren’t going to be queried for directions, it would always be an instantaneous, full contact, act of aggression that would result in quick defeat if your amygdala caused a flinching or out of control physical withdraw. After repeated exposure to immediate violence over several days, the amygdala began to be reprogrammed to react in an instantly aggressive nature, countering the violent attack as opposed to a flinching reaction. How significant is this? This physical reaction can be initiated in as little as twelve thousandths of a second. That's Defensive Intelligence and that can save your life…if you’re training for it. More to come.....
    J BARNEY: Gunfight survivor / Instructor

  2. #2
    VIP Member Array miklcolt45's Avatar
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    @ Wits' End
    Didn't vote.

    All of the above.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliott

    The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
    Albert Einstein

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array InspectorGadget's Avatar
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    I am of two minds that appear contradictory yet yield the same result.

    Creation - Man is inherently evil and must seek redemption, and there are some that just do not want to be saved.

    Evolution - Man is a predatory pack animal that instinctively joins a pack and will follow/challenge to be the Alpha male. All things being equal man will try to gain the most territory/safety for those of his pack; outsiders are not welcome and violently repelled after their possessions are taken for the pack. It is actually irrelevant whether the pack is in a board room, ghetto street corner, or government offices this theory solidly holds to most interaction between both groups of people and between governments.

    This is the reason why socialism and communism will always fail when man is in the mix. The “Goodness of Man” is a myth that feeds into liberal pipe dreams, but has no support from either Intelligent Design or Darwin’s theories.

    I do not blame society for an individual’s evils, I blame the individual and am happy to punish accordingly. I also believe that punishment is for both the individual criminal and to discourage others from committing the same acts.
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  5. #4
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Violence is a natural occurrence. Since the dawn of man, or creation, violence exists. Most keep the tendency suppressed in a variety of methods, or due to morals and values that dictate violence is evil and unwarranted. Violence is a part of humanity that will never go away. You'll likely not be able to save your own life without it. You can't send it to an institution, you cannot blame your childhood, and evil is evil and stands alone.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    What do you believe is the root of violence?
    That's an impossible question. One, single root cause of all violence in humans?

    Violence exists in nature. Competition for scarce resources is probably the primary contributing factor, but there are probably as many factors as one can think of.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: Why the Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).

  7. #6
    Senior Member Array cuban11182's Avatar
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    You forgot to add, bad parenting/neglect.

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    All of the above and then some.

  9. #8
    Member Array Glock30SF's Avatar
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    What do you believe is the root of violence?

    Money and power!
    “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”.... Albert Einstein


  10. #9
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    A capability for violence is present in pretty much all animals. For most animals, that violence is applied in order to provide for or defend itself or its immediate family unit (pack, herd, whathaveyou).

    For homo sapiens, the human who applies violence only for selfish purposes is feral, the one who applies it only on behalf of his immediate 'pack' is tribal.

    Civilization above the tribal level is a system of harnessing natural behavior for the betterment of those outside one's immediate tribe/clan. Most people brought up in a civilized society more or less get that idea, even if they are capable of occasional feral lapses.

    The violent individual is one who does not subscribe to civilization; he may even be inimical to society beyond his immediate self or tribe. He is a sociopath. This may be for physiological/neurological reasons; some people just aren't wired right. It may be because he wasn't raised to understand or appreciate civilization---bad (or no) parenting, lousy childhood environment, abusive upbringing...whatever. It may be because he chose to reject the benefits of civilization, consciously or subconsciously.

    There is no one explanation.

    My personal theory is that, outside of those who are just nuts (gross deviation from the neurological norm), there are those who are somehow, probably genetically, more inclined to barbarism. These are the people who are more inclined to throw off the shackles of civilization and go tribal/feral, but they nonetheless do so by choice. They may be inclined to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of civilization differently from most people, but it still comes down to choice.

    The bad parenting of their childhood may be more likely to result in them going tribal/feral than it is for others, but that does not make the upbringing an excuse. In fact, it is highly likely, IMO, that the observed phenomenon of abusive parenting being an inherited behavior is a result of passing on the barbarian genes.
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

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  11. #10
    Member Array dhelmuth's Avatar
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    the cause of all evil is satan
    proud to be an infidel

  12. #11
    Member Array SwampRat's Avatar
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    Maybe its just me but I dont see where the Poll has anything to do with the article..After you get past all the medical terminology the meat and intent of the article comes down to the last paragraph or last few sentences....Fear response, hesitation, flinching etc..can get you dead if you are not trained for an immediate violent reaction

    After repeated exposure to immediate violence over several days, the amygdala began to be reprogrammed to react in an instantly aggressive nature, countering the violent attack as opposed to a flinching reaction. How significant is this? This physical reaction can be initiated in as little as twelve thousandths of a second. That's Defensive Intelligence and that can save your life…if you’re training for it. More to come.....

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array tns0038's Avatar
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    The greatest gift God gave mankind is freedom of will. Reason God wanted to have a friend in mankind and in order for that to succeed mankind had to have capacity of choice.

    What the true reason someone chooses to go down the wrong path, will depend on many factors for an individual.

    A prime example is my cousins:

    Two males raised by loving parents, in an upper class neighborhood. Their father an MD and their mother a medical professional. Their father while having a busy workload, always took the time, to take them on wonderful vacations, play ball in the yard, go fishing, and help them with their home work.

    And their mother was very loving, and compassionate, always cooked for them, and they had a maid to make sure they always had clean clothing, and the house was always keep clean. Both parents made sure they had everything they needed, and pretty much wanted and always took them to church on Sundays.

    As your adults, one got into drugs, and robed a store, so he could buy more drugs. Arrested, convicted and sent away for 10 years. Your tax dollars sent him to trade school after prison, but instead today he works in the “porn” field.

    The other collage graduate, married for 20 plus years to a loving wife, and father to a wonderful son, and is a VP of a fortune 500 company.

    So my point is while there may be many factors it all boils down to choice.

  14. #13
    wpk is offline
    Member Array wpk's Avatar
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    Violence will always exist as long as one person owns something that another person wants.
    "America is a nation of laws; poorly written and randomly enforced." -Frank Zappa

    “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.” -Denis Diderot

  15. #14
    Member Array M203Sniper's Avatar
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    Good Question.

    Scientists disagree on whether violence is inherent in humans. Among prehistoric humans, there is archaeological evidence for both contentions of violence and peacefulness as primary characteristics.
    The “violent male ape” image is often brought up in discussions of human violence.

    “we also have lots of natural mechanisms for cooperation, to keep conflict in check, to channel aggression, and to overcome conflict. These are just as natural to us as the aggressive tendencies."

    James Gilligan writes violence is often pursued as an antidote to shame or humiliation.

    Stephen Pinker in a New Republic article “The History of Violence” offers evidence that on the average the amount and cruelty of violence to humans and animals has decreased
    Violence - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Good luck getting an answer.
    "Words can be as lethal as bullets; Choose them carefully, Aim them well & Use them sparingly."

  16. #15
    New Member Array J Barney's Avatar
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    Great Input from everyone!!!


    At the end of the thread I wrote "More to come". I'm taking you down a road here. There's a few more stops along the way....stay with me.
    J BARNEY: Gunfight survivor / Instructor

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