The Myth Series: Survivability of Firearm and Knife Attacks

//The Myth Series: Survivability of Firearm and Knife Attacks

The Myth Series: Survivability of Firearm and Knife Attacks

We spend lots of time analyzing the science of violence and the outcomes of violence here at INPAX. There are two huge myths that are perpetuated by society, each of which could be a huge article unto itself. In summation, they are:

The Myth of Randomness: We hear people say it all the time, “in another act of random violence.” Violence is NEVER random. There are ALWAYS pre-incident indicators and behaviors that will raise giant red flags and point fingers in the direction of next behaviors. As a corollary, when reading body language, there is a truism that must be kept in mind at all time: Regardless of the words spoken, body language will betray true intentions. Similarly, if you know what to look for in reading behaviors, and are in a position to see them, violence and dangerous actions are as observable and predictable as watching water boil if you know what to look for. The “randomness” is the sensation that

  1. you didn’t know what to look for and missed the queues,
  2. you were not participatory or in a position to see the behaviors prior to the act, or
  3. you simply wish to defer any responsibility in having to take action. If it’s “random,” then that means that “no one could have done anything to stop it.”

That is an absolute lie and is absolute cowardice and victim-minded thinking.

The Myth of Helplessness: There are situations and dynamics in life in which we cannot perceive a viable outcome, such as a gun to the head, a knife to the throat, a home invasion, etc. The reality is that if we have EXPERIENCE and have the ability to stay cognitive, to be able to make a CHOICE, we are not helpless and we will not have the sensation of victimization. People say, “You never know what you’ll do until you’re in the situation.” This is not quite true. If you have no concept, no experience, one of 2 things will happen. Panic or paralysis, the latter being most common.

When you have experience, training, and a plan AHEAD OF TIME, you DO know how you’ll respond. As Archilochus said back in 650 B.C.E, “You don’t rise to the occasion, you fall to the level of your experience.” It was true then and it’s true now. The QUALITY of your training and experience will absolutely dictate how you will respond when the fecal matter hits the rotary blades.

Diving deeper into the myth of helplessness, is the myth that once you’re hurt or injured, that you are out of the fight. This is where I want to focus today.

So many people that we work with, especially when we are discussing Active Shootings, Mass Homicide Responses, and Critical Trauma Care, initially have this overwhelming fear that if they get hurt, they are out of the fight. I also saw this in my training in the military and law enforcement to a degree. This concept was also instilled in us as kids. When my or brother and I were playing cowboys and indians or cops and robbers, We were constantly saying, “No, I shot you first, you’re out! I won!” This concept of “I’m shot, I’m out” needs to stop. Instead, we need to have a true understanding of how resilient we are, have a true understanding of the power we bring to the table, and how mindset can perpetuate both survival and demise. The myth of helplessness once injured inhibits you and stymies you in the first place and gives a false perspective of your own true personal power. You don’t need to be a body builder or be physically impressive in any way; you just need to have the impressive mindset that say, “yes, I can keep going. I can keep fighting.”

As an example, I have a good friend that was shot in Iraq. He was shot through the throat and he has a huge exit wound over his shoulder. Not only did he survive, but he is in a very physically demanding occupation as a professional fire fighter. He had a warrior’s mindset. In contrast, there are medical cases of people being shot in non-critical locations (hand, non-arterial leg impacts, etc), that died truly because they gave up mentally. Keep in mind that the mind controls the body in every way.

In support of this concept, check out these facts that I came across today during my research:

The study, published online ahead of print in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, examined 4,122 patients taken to eight Level I and Level II adult trauma centers in Philadelphia between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2007.

  • Just over three quarters (77.9 percent) of the victims suffered gunshot wounds, and just under a quarter (22.1 percent) suffered stab wounds.
  • The overall mortality rate was 27.4 percent. The majority of patients in both groups (84.1 percent) had signs of life on delivery to the hospital.
  • A third of patients with gunshot wounds (33.0 percent) died compared with 7.7 percent of patients with stab wounds.

So, of the gunshot wounds analyzed in the study, 2 of 3 survived. How many of them do you think had this Warrior’s Mentality ahead of time and were determined to live, no matter what? That is obviously not an answer that can be provided with any certainty, but I know it is a factor. Penetrating traumas, such as stabbings, only resulted in a mortality of about 8%!!! All of this leads to a very important conclusion: If you are determined to survive and win the battle, you can. You MUST have the warrior’s mentality, but it cannot be cultivated in the midst of the fight; you MUST develop that mindset now. It is a decision that you can make for yourself RIGHT NOW. If you have no plan, if you have the victim’s mentality, if you are determined that “if I’m hit, I’m out,”… You are right.

In Summary
The human body is amazingly resilient. From a Personal Protection standpoint, this is important. The human body is VERY HARD to stop if you don’t know what you’re doing, if you don’t have an understanding of HOW to stop a human, and rest assured, not many have this ability. But… with training and practice IN THE CORRECT methodologies, being able to stop another human is relatively simple. We are INCREDIBLY vulnerable to specific stimuli, vulnerable in specific ways, and can be stopped with very little force if applied the right ways. These concepts are not natural human movements nor are they whatyou see in MMA, organized sport fighting, or on TV. If you want to stop someone NOW, you have to reach outside of those spaces and get QUALITY training. I have no doubt that my 12-year-old son could put down and dispatch a fully grown man if he needed to. Bringing a simplified response to the extremely complex dynamics of violence is the only way to ensure that you will be able to act decisively and with excellence.

That is precisely what Sam has done for the last 20 years, what we have been doing at INPAX here for the last 13 years, and what I have been doing since 2004. I am proud and excited to be a part of this great team. We take the guess work out of it, we have learned the very hard lessons of conflict, warfare, rape, domestic abuse, and many other situations of interpersonal aggression very personally and frankly, that is exactly why I do what I do…. so you can learn the easy way and not have to endure those hardships personally. If you’re interested in training… I know a guy.

Here is the link to the research noted above: