This is a discussion on "Your Brain in a Shootout: Guns, Fear and Flawed Instincts" : VERY INTERESTING : within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I quote here a longish - but I think fascinating - excerpt from a longer article: "Your Brain in a Shootout: Guns, Fear and Flawed ...
I quote here a longish - but I think fascinating - excerpt from a longer article: "Your Brain in a Shootout: Guns, Fear and Flawed Instincts"
The reason for an excerpt? : Well, here's the whole article if you want to read it. But the science and report here is used to buttress an argument for Gun Control, which I don't think many would like and would miss my point in posting: how your brain works in a shootout using one real case as an example. The overall political purpose does not mean however that this actual minute description isn't interesting in and of itself. And for that reason I post it: (here's the whole article if you want:
Your Brain in a Shootout: Guns, Fear and Flawed Instincts | NewAmerica.net)
Now, the part I was interested in: ("Glennon" is the officer who is the source of this)
"The officers knocked on the door at the end of a long hallway and got no response. After a few minutes, Glennon started to suggest they come back with a warrant. That was when the man threw open the door and began firing a black snub-nosed revolver from three feet away.
Glennon was a police-academy trainer, unusually well schooled in survival skills. But from the moment he saw the revolver, his mind entered a state unlike anything he’d experienced before. “Oh s—! Gun!” he said, spinning his body hard to the left, missing a bullet by inches or less.
Without his conscious knowledge, the sight of the gun had sent a signal to his brain stem, passing a message to his amygdala—the primal, almond-shaped mass of nuclei that controls the fear response from deep within the brain’s temporal lobe. The amygdala, in turn, triggered a slew of changes throughout Glennon’s body. His blood vessels constricted so that he would bleed less if he got wounded. His heart rate shot up. A surge of hormones charged through his system, injecting power to his major muscle groups should he need to fight or flee.
His first actual thought was that the gun must have had only five or six rounds. He knew this because it reminded him of the revolver his grandfather gave his father years earlier. As he and a fellow officer turned and began racing down the hallway to take cover around the corner, he counted the number of shots he heard behind him, waiting for the suspect to run out of ammunition. Relying on his training, he pulled his .40-caliber Sig Sauer pistol out of his holster.
As happens for most people in life-or-death situations, his brain began to manipulate his perception of time, slowing down the motion as he fled down the corridor. “The hallway looked like one of those dreams where it is just really, really long,” he says. Later he would guess that it was 250 ft. long; it was really 79 ft.
But for each superpower his brain gave him, it took one away. In a flash, his brain reprioritized, shifting finite resources to the cause of survival. As he ran, rounds bursting behind him “like cannon shots,” he suddenly fell flat on his face in the carpeted hallway, tearing skin off his hands and knees.
“I was a 48-year-old guy wearing 20 lb. of equipment,” he remembers, “and I was running faster than I think my body was capable of handling.” In life-or-death situations, human beings often lose basic motor skills that we take for granted under normal conditions. (Attackers, not just those they’re shooting at, also experience such trade-offs, though they usually have the advantage of not being taken by surprise.)
Instantly, Glennon bounced back up and kept running to the corner, which seemed to get no closer with each step. Just then, his fellow officer fell down in front of him, screaming that he’d been shot. So Glennon’s brain reprioritized again. He grabbed the officer’s belt and heaved him the rest of the way around the corner. He remembers feeling pain in his back and thinking, Son of a ***** got me. It had taken seconds to get to the end of the hallway, but it felt like minutes.
Then, having finally taken cover, he turned and pointed back down the hallway toward the shooter. It was a chilling sensation to see his bare hand in front of him, pointing in the shape of a pistol like a boy on the playground. Where was his gun? “I looked at my hand. It wasn’t there. I looked in my holster. It wasn’t there.”
Without being aware of it, Glennon had dropped his gun in the hallway when he’d reached over to help the wounded officer. In moments of extreme stress, the brain does not allow for contemplation; it does not process new information the way it normally does. The more advanced parts of the brain that handle decisionmaking go off-line, unable to intervene until the immediate fear has diminished.
Luckily, Glennon did not dwell on this mistake. Nor did he freeze or shut down entirely, as many people do in life-or-death situations. Instead he reached over and grabbed the gun out of the holster of the injured officer. When he looked back down the hallway, he saw the arm of the shooter pointing toward him—and, behind it, the arm of a third police officer pointing out from another doorway.
More than anything else, Glennon wanted to shoot back. He started to squeeze the trigger. Then from somewhere in the recesses of his brain, he reminded himself: You can’t shoot. If he did, he would risk hitting the third officer standing behind the gunman. His training kicked in just in time, overriding his instincts.
The third officer took two shots at the gunman from an awkward angle, missing both times. But seconds later, the suspect threw his gun into the hallway, surrendering. The officers handcuffed him, and a battery of backup officers arrived. Glennon’s deputy chief ripped off Glennon’s bulletproof vest to make sure he hadn’t been shot too; he was fine. The pain in his back was the pain that came from one middle-aged man lifting another. Only later, in the ambulance, did Glennon begin to shake, just as he’d read people tend to do in the aftermath of an adrenaline surge."
Good lesson to me: this is what we can expect if that ONE TIME ever happens to one of us.. Good to know what that could well be ahead of time. My view anyway....
Last edited by detective; March 6th, 2013 at 05:20 AM.