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Old 12-14-2018, 07:40 AM
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Movie deaths vs. reality

Having never witnessed a murder, I have no way of knowing how accurate movie and TV portrayals are. Are there any that seem to be close to reality?

For example - in sword-and-shield battles, it seems as soon as someone is run thru, they drop dead. Unless it's the star, in which case, death may be slow enough for some pithy last words... But in the real world, can being stabbed result in instant death?

Same with shootings - apparently in the Old West, a single bullet in the gut caused one to fall off the horse and instantly die, altho the hero would likely struggle on despite being riddled with lead.

Maybe this isn't exactly a movie question anyway, but short of beheadings or being blown up, are there wounds that are immediately fatal?
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:49 AM
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Dying is rarely as quick and clean as in the movies. I haven't witnessed murders, either, but hunting with both gun and bow gives some insight into how bullets and knife-like objects do their job.

After a perfectly lethal penetrating wound in the chest area, game animals often show little immediate effect, fleeing or fighting effectively for a number of seconds before losing conciousness. Translating that into hand-to-hand combat, an enemy can surely kill you even after you land a perfect hit.

Solid hits in the head and the spine are the only insta-droppers, but even then actual dying can take a while, with much writhing, bleating etc.

A poor hit, as in the stomach area, often results in a pursued animal traveling up to miles, and for hours. Death will result, short of medical intervention, but it can take a very long time. Battlefield reports concur.
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:12 AM
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In theory, sure, there are wounds that are immediately if not instantly disabling. Hit somebody on the head with an ax or heavy sword, and you will get concussion to knock him out and brain damage such that he will die. Likewise for gunshot wounds to the head. Severing or damaging the spinal cord high enough on the neck will interfere with breathing, heart beat, and circulation, which is close to beheading, even if the neck isn't severed (which is very difficult to do). It you hit someone hard enough on the back of the neck you might bring it off via whiplash and impact.

So a severe enough wound to the brain or spine might bring about a quick kill.

Elsewhere it is more problematic. A significant enough stab wound to the heart will cause it to stop functioning, and then they will probably collapse and die as they do when they have a heart attack. Not always - there are cases where people suffered significant trauma to the heart and carried on for minutes, although they die eventually. And it is hard to get to the heart - it is sheathed in ribs, and it is difficult to generate enough force behind a thrust to punch thru and still damage the heart. Hence the traditional advice to knife fighters -
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudyard Kipling, of a bandit leader on his deathbed to a follower
Silver and gold I have none to give, but I leave you advice to last you a lifetime.

Your thumb on the blade - and strike upwards.
An upward thrust tends more to slide thru the rib cage to the vital organs, and the thumb is the guide. The point beats the edge in most un-armored combat, for several reasons, including that the point penetrates farther to reach the heart or arteries and so forth.

A stab to the abdomen can cut the abdominal aorta, and then you bleed to death, but that can take a minute or more. It is possible that the shock and pain of a stab to the abdomen will disable the victim so he falls down while bleeding to death. Same if you sever or significantly damage a limb with a cut or gunshot - eventually he might bleed out.

Most of the deaths in pre-gunpowder days that weren't immediate were from blood loss, shock, or peritonitis or other infections.

Instant death in movies is like how they can always find a parking spot. It speeds up the action by eliminating extraneous delay rather than because it reflects reality.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:24 AM
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I saw video of an actual head shot once, and was struck by how immediately the body fell. In Hollywood, on the other hand, someone who is shot slowly crumples to the ground.


The only realistic movie death I've seen was Keith Carradine in the Lonesome Dove prequel. He is executed by a firing squad, and just drops like a marionette with its strings cut.
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:22 AM
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It was once a rarity to catch an actual violent death on camera. Now it's practically commonplace between ubiquitous cellphone cameras and surveillance videos. ISIS loves filming themselves getting shot for some reason. If you don't want to seek it out take my word for it that it is very rare that Hollywood gets close to being right. Your primate brain automatically understands the difference once you see the real thing.

Spielberg was close in Schindlers List and Private Ryan.
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:26 AM
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I am reminded of a Cold Case Files I saw once. Mom and Dad were chopped up in bed (by their son we learn eventually). Both had mortal ax wounds to the head but dad didn't know it. He got up, walked downstairs to the kitchen and was preparing to have his morning coffee when it finally hit him that he had a gaping head wound that was gushing blood all over the place and that he was actually deceased.
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:41 AM
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I am reminded of a Cold Case Files I saw once. Mom and Dad were chopped up in bed (by their son we learn eventually). Both had mortal ax wounds to the head but dad didn't know it. He got up, walked downstairs to the kitchen and was preparing to have his morning coffee when it finally hit him that he had a gaping head wound that was gushing blood all over the place and that he was actually deceased.
I saw that one! It took the investigators a while to figure out the crime scene.
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Old 12-14-2018, 12:55 PM
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There's an extra on the Lord of the Rings movie discs where Christopher Lee comments on the scene where Saruman is stabbed in the back. He said to Peter Jackson, "Have you any idea what sort of sound someone makes when they're stabbed in the back? Because I do."

Christopher Lee was a member of the OSS during World War II and participated in some classified missions behind enemy lines, so he really had seen this happen and helpfully described it.
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Old 12-14-2018, 01:26 PM
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What prompted this question more than anything - we were watching the BBC/HBO production of Rome which featured swords on the battlefield, nasty weapons in the arena, and Caesar being stabbed to death. The soldiers on the battlefield appeared to die instantly, but good ol' Julius, having been perforated multiple times, still lingered for several meaningful, dramatic closeups of him and the murderers. I'm guessing the battlefield deaths were for plot expediency and Caesar's death was probably closer to truth.

I have a friend who was shot multiple times in a workplace incident, and he survived by playing dead, so the killer kept going thru the office before killing himself. Fortunately, my friend was young and healthy and was hospitalized almost immediately - he's doing fine in retirement.
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Old 12-14-2018, 01:52 PM
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Both had mortal ax wounds to the head but dad didn't know it. He got up, walked downstairs to the kitchen and was preparing to have his morning coffee when it finally hit him that he had a gaping head wound that was gushing blood all over the place and that he was actually deceased.
I remember that! One of the people interviewed remarked that it appeared the part of the guy's brain responsible for carrying out a routine was fine, but that the motor coordination part was gone (for example, a bowl was on the table, but the cereal had been scattered). Didn't the poor guy also manage to make it outside to a mailbox and back in again, creating a blood trail that was very confusing for investigators? The reenactment was very chilling, considering the quality of the acting typically found in shows like that.
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Old 12-14-2018, 02:04 PM
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There's an extra on the Lord of the Rings movie discs where Christopher Lee comments on the scene where Saruman is stabbed in the back. He said to Peter Jackson, "Have you any idea what sort of sound someone makes when they're stabbed in the back? Because I do."

Christopher Lee was a member of the OSS during World War II and participated in some classified missions behind enemy lines, so he really had seen this happen and helpfully described it.
Prior to seeing that interview it was really easy to think of Lee as not much more than an overly dramatic film clown. Afterward all I could imagine was him breezing up behind some Nazi and enquiring, "Whom do you serve?" just before sliding 18cm of Fairbairn–Sykes into the hapless fellow's left lung.
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Old 12-14-2018, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by FairyChatMom View Post
What prompted this question more than anything - we were watching the BBC/HBO production of Rome which featured swords on the battlefield, nasty weapons in the arena, and Caesar being stabbed to death. The soldiers on the battlefield appeared to die instantly, but good ol' Julius, having been perforated multiple times, still lingered for several meaningful, dramatic closeups of him and the murderers. I'm guessing the battlefield deaths were for plot expediency and Caesar's death was probably closer to truth.
Keep in mind that Julius was killed by a bunch of politicians wielding daggers, not by professional soldiers armed with gladii and pila. Regardless of how many times he was stabbed, they most likely missed his heart and he slowly bled to death.

During the 1993 putsch in Moscow, I saw a guy sniped in front of the Russian White House. He fell literally like a marionette whose strings had been cut. There was an attempt to evacuate him, but knowing the damage a high-powered rifle bullet can do, I have to assume he was killed instantly.

When you're hit by a high-powered bullet, it's usually hydrostatic shock that kills you. In other words, your body, being mostly water, is not exactly compressible. When I was in fifth or sixth grade, I was target shooting with my dad in the hills of West Virginia. I fired an Enfield .303 at the lid to an oil drum, sticking out of a mud pit. Not only did the recoil knock me back a few feet (and I was a pretty big kid), the shock wave from the bullet blew a hole in the mud big enough to lose a watermelon in.

There was a documentary on H2 where they tested some of the effects modern arms can have on the human body using scenes from Saving Private Ryan. If bullets and shrapnel don't get you, shock waves will. They completely disrupt the tissues in your body and how they function.
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Old 12-14-2018, 03:31 PM
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A friend of mine was once shot 8 times, including two bullets in the abdomen and one in a place I will not mention.

Obviously, he survived the attack. IIRC, he did say he lost consciousness pretty quickly.
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Old 12-14-2018, 04:00 PM
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And there really is such a thing as some people being inherently tougher than others, and Caesar was a successful general. It's quite plausible that he might be tougher to kill than some young recruit on his first assignment.
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Old 12-14-2018, 04:41 PM
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Keep in mind that Julius was killed by a bunch of politicians wielding daggers, <snip>
Something I hadn't considered, but, duh! That makes sense. On the other hand, I don't know if history books address how long it took him to die. But it certainly was dramatic having him look and his former friend, Brutus, as he bled out...
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Old 12-14-2018, 04:44 PM
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For example - in sword-and-shield battles, it seems as soon as someone is run thru, they drop dead. Unless it's the star, in which case, death may be slow enough for some pithy last words... But in the real world, can being stabbed result in instant death?
Unless it's through the brain, just about no stabbing injury to a part of the body can cause instant death. But the person being stabbed/impaled may very well double and curl over and be immobile due to the severe pain. When you're in pain, you naturally want to become immobile and curl up. And you'd be out of action.
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Old 12-14-2018, 05:56 PM
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Christopher Lee was a member of the OSS during World War II and participated in some classified missions behind enemy lines, so he really had seen this happen and helpfully described it.
Almost certainly not the OSS (which was a US outfit) and a little scepticism is perhaps in order generally. Lee's documented wartime career was colourful and honourable enough, but he wasn't that obvious a candidate for covert operations. Much after the fact he did hint that he'd done stuff with SOE, the LRDG and the SAS, but he refused to elaborate and we've thus only his word for it.
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Old 12-14-2018, 06:29 PM
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Several posters mentioned correctly that a dead person drops instantly like a puppet whose strings have been cut. Remember that the next thousand times you see someone blown through a convenient window by the force of a bullet.
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Old 12-14-2018, 06:57 PM
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Unless it's through the brain, just about no stabbing injury to a part of the body can cause instant death. But the person being stabbed/impaled may very well double and curl over and be immobile due to the severe pain. When you're in pain, you naturally want to become immobile and curl up. And you'd be out of action.
A direct hit in the heart or through the aorta would mean death quickly, if not instantly. But getting through the ribcage can be tricky. You can go up under it through the belly, but yeah, most stabbing deaths are from multiple wounds.

That's why I tend to look askance at police who shoot and kill people because they were armed with a knife.
Yeah, it could be life threatening, but really what are the chances against your revolver?
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:02 PM
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Almost certainly not the OSS (which was a US outfit) and a little scepticism is perhaps in order generally. Lee's documented wartime career was colourful and honourable enough, but he wasn't that obvious a candidate for covert operations. Much after the fact he did hint that he'd done stuff with SOE, the LRDG and the SAS, but he refused to elaborate and we've thus only his word for it.
Thanks. That's what I was going to say. He might have worked for one of MI-whatevers, but not the OSS (precursor to the CIA).
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:57 PM
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I am reminded of a Cold Case Files I saw once. Mom and Dad were chopped up in bed (by their son we learn eventually). Both had mortal ax wounds to the head but dad didn't know it. He got up, walked downstairs to the kitchen and was preparing to have his morning coffee when it finally hit him that he had a gaping head wound that was gushing blood all over the place and that he was actually deceased.
The dad realized he was actually deceased? How could that happen? Did you mean "he realized he had a nasty head wound"?

I've probably seen every episode of CCF and don't remember anything even vaguely resembling a story like that.
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Old 12-15-2018, 12:06 AM
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A direct hit in the heart or through the aorta would mean death quickly, if not instantly. But getting through the ribcage can be tricky. You can go up under it through the belly, but yeah, most stabbing deaths are from multiple wounds.

That's why I tend to look askance at police who shoot and kill people because they were armed with a knife.
Yeah, it could be life threatening, but really what are the chances against your revolver?
So they are supposed to get stabbed because you don’t think it would be fatal all the time? Just part of the job right? A little light stabbing and home before dinner gets cold.
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:07 AM
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And it is hard to get to the heart - it is sheathed in ribs, and it is difficult to generate enough force behind a thrust to punch thru and still damage the heart. Hence the traditional advice to knife fighters -
"The way to a man's heart is through his stomach."
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:27 AM
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getting shot in the gut is a long painful death

rumor has it that battlefield medics would OD their patients rather that let them suffer in certain 20th 21st century wars if they received that injury
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:39 AM
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That's why I tend to look askance at police who shoot and kill people because they were armed with a knife.
Yeah, it could be life threatening, but really what are the chances against your revolver?
Ah, what...? I'd wager every dollar I own that if you had a revolver, and some dude with a knife began charging at you with murderous intent, you wouldn't hold your fire.
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Old 12-15-2018, 03:24 AM
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getting shot in the gut is a long painful death

rumor has it that battlefield medics would OD their patients rather that let them sffer in certain 20th 21st century wars if they received that injury
Getting shot in the gut was a long painful death. In the past. Not anymore. I doubt anyone is purposely ODing a soldier with abdominal wounds. That's the whole point of trauma medicine, if you don't die right away, you probably aren't going to.
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Old 12-15-2018, 07:21 AM
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The dad realized he was actually deceased? How could that happen? Did you mean "he realized he had a nasty head wound"?

I've probably seen every episode of CCF and don't remember anything even vaguely resembling a story like that.
You get jokes, right? Also, I am not the only one who remembers the episode as it was quite memorable.
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Old 12-15-2018, 07:54 AM
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You get jokes, right? Also, I am not the only one who remembers the episode as it was quite memorable.
I remember it. It truly was bizarre. Especially the part where he was making breakfast for himself. IIRC, he also went outside to fetch the mail.
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Old 12-15-2018, 08:03 AM
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Getting shot in the gut was a long painful death. In the past. Not anymore.
There was an X-ray machine on display at the 1901 Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, NY. If the doctors treating his wounds had used it, President McKinley might not have died of gangrene a week later.
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Old 12-15-2018, 08:11 AM
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Westerns usually get this wrong. We see the guy getting shot in the chest, and then he instantly falls.

As others have mentioned, there's no reason he should fall right away. But here's what's interesting: in real life, people often do fall right away after they're shot, even if it's "just" a chest or gut shot. Why? Because movies taught them they should drop after getting shot. At least (IIRC) that's what some researchers have found (and I am too lazy to dig up the cite).
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Old 12-15-2018, 11:39 AM
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Ah, what...? I'd wager every dollar I own that if you had a revolver, and some dude with a knife began charging at you with murderous intent, you wouldn't hold your fire.
Yeah, but after Laquon McDonald, I'm a lot less convinced about knife vs gun stories the cops tell.

I said l look askance. I didn't say I automatically disbelieve.
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Old 12-15-2018, 01:46 PM
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All this talk about whether one would remain standing after being shot in the stomach reminded me of this famous movie death scene:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAdniWncWu4
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Old 12-15-2018, 01:47 PM
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Watch videos of wartime footage and you'll see people both dropping on the spot and keep going despite being injured. Same with animals being being hunted. It depends on how the body reacts to fight or flight. But instead of fight, the body signals, you're injured (not necessarily dead on the spot), and drop on the spot, largely because of shock.

As for knife attacks, you never know where/what the attacker might hit. Hit a major artery anywhere in the body neck down and you'll bled out pretty quick, maybe not instantly but quick enough that nothing/no one can prevent your death.
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:12 PM
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Westerns usually get this wrong. We see the guy getting shot in the chest, and then he instantly falls.

As others have mentioned, there's no reason he should fall right away. But here's what's interesting: in real life, people often do fall right away after they're shot, even if it's "just" a chest or gut shot. Why? Because movies taught them they should drop after getting shot. At least (IIRC) that's what some researchers have found (and I am too lazy to dig up the cite).
Tell that to all soldiers on both sides who were filmed falling down on the spot in real combat footage.

On the other hand, there's amazing heroes like Senator Daniel Inouye, who's rarely listed in those "Amazing Real Life Badasses" lists.

During WWII, Inouye was shot once in the stomach, but still carried on a one man charge against a German machine gun nest. He was ready to toss a grenade towards the nest, when a gunner blew off his arm with a launched grenade. Inouye then pried his grenade out of his blown off arm and hand, and threw it in the machine gun nest. He then proceeded to lead his men towards the Germans until his five bullet wounds finally stopped him. He rallied the men to continue the battle by telling them as he was carried away: "Nobody called off the war!"

He not only lived, but went on to become one of the greatest U.S. Senators in history.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Inouye

BTW, Inouye was part of the 442nd Regiment, comprised of Nisei (2nd generation Japanese born in Hawaii) volunteers from Hawaii.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/442nd_...United_States)

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Old 12-15-2018, 02:24 PM
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All this talk about whether one would remain standing after being shot in the stomach reminded me of this famous movie death scene:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAdniWncWu4
Wow! At first, I thought that was Rowan Atkinson and we were going to see a comedy sketch!

Watch any documentary about Stalingrad, and you're bound to see a shot of a German taking a round in the chest and collapsing to the ground. He's only a silhouette in a doorway, but you can see the life going out of him.
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:50 PM
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I also have to ask if this death scene is plausible:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-leC2weJSU
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Old 12-15-2018, 02:58 PM
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Watch videos of wartime footage and you'll see people both dropping on the spot and keep going despite being injured. Same with animals being being hunted. It depends on how the body reacts to fight or flight. But instead of fight, the body signals, you're injured (not necessarily dead on the spot), and drop on the spot, largely because of shock.

As for knife attacks, you never know where/what the attacker might hit. Hit a major artery anywhere in the body neck down and you'll bled out pretty quick, maybe not instantly but quick enough that nothing/no one can prevent your death.
One thing that is often true with stabbing is that the victim does not know they were stabbed. They think they were punched. They won’t react to the wound until the adrenaline wears off or blood loss catches up to them, whichever comes first.
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Old 12-15-2018, 04:33 PM
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There was an X-ray machine on display at the 1901 Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, NY. If the doctors treating his wounds had used it, President McKinley might not have died of gangrene a week later.
He would probably have died anyway, from induced type 1 diabetes, as his pancreas was pretty much obliterated, and the discovery of insulin was 20 years in the future.
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Old 12-15-2018, 05:13 PM
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I also have to ask if this death scene is plausible:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-leC2weJSU
Of course it is. Jackie Chan don't lie!

Speaking of movie deaths, what about dim mak? Hit a guy in the right spot and it takes minutes/hours/days/weeks to take effect. I had a friend (who didn't study martial arts) claim that a guy he hit in a fight died days later from the blow. Ummm...okay.*

*Yes, I know people die from internal injuries they may not even be aware they've received, but dim mak sounds like confirmation bias to me.

Last edited by lingyi; 12-15-2018 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 12-15-2018, 05:23 PM
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One thing that is often true with stabbing is that the victim does not know they were stabbed. They think they were punched. They won’t react to the wound until the adrenaline wears off or blood loss catches up to them, whichever comes first.
Then there are people who freak out about a wound that doesn't even require a stitch.

OMG, a paper cut! *faint*
  #41  
Old 12-15-2018, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Two Many Cats View Post
Yeah, but after Laquon McDonald, I'm a lot less convinced about knife vs gun stories the cops tell.

Yeah, but the police were scared that it might have been a knifegun. Possibly he could have even been carrying a blowgun pen or a chewing gum shark launcher.


Thinking of the footage of that shooting brings to mind Tarpman, who did drop like a rock when he was shot. (Link contains footage of Tarpman getting shot.)
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Old 12-16-2018, 02:45 AM
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He would probably have died anyway, from induced type 1 diabetes, as his pancreas was pretty much obliterated, and the discovery of insulin was 20 years in the future.
Yes, but he might not have died from the bullet, even though the damage done to his internal organs pretty much ensured sepsis.
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Last edited by terentii; 12-16-2018 at 02:49 AM.
  #43  
Old 12-16-2018, 11:38 AM
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Found the ax head wound episode of "Forensic Files"...the head wound discussion is around 2:45. (Warning: reenacted violence and gore.) I forgot that the guy's wife survived the attack.

Following its initial run on CourTV, I thought "Forensic Files" ran on HLN at one point as "Cold Cases" or something similar, but I can't find anything to back this up right now.

Last edited by Jeep's Phoenix; 12-16-2018 at 11:39 AM.
  #44  
Old 12-16-2018, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeep's Phoenix View Post
Found the ax head wound episode of "Forensic Files"...the head wound discussion is around 2:45. (Warning: reenacted violence and gore.) I forgot that the guy's wife survived the attack.

Following its initial run on CourTV, I thought "Forensic Files" ran on HLN at one point as "Cold Cases" or something similar, but I can't find anything to back this up right now.
Cold Case Files was A&E. CourtTV is now ID, isn't it? I know I've watched Forensic Files on Headline. Also, CCF last season was 2006. Last year they made a 6 episode season with Danny Glover as the narrator for the first 6 episodes.

Oh my, I've strayed a bit from the topic, haven't I? Sorry for the 'jack!
  #45  
Old 12-16-2018, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Biggirl View Post
Cold Case Files was A&E. CourtTV is now ID, isn't it? I know I've watched Forensic Files on Headline. Also, CCF last season was 2006. Last year they made a 6 episode season with Danny Glover as the narrator for the first 6 episodes.
Forensic Files was originally on TLC and called Medical Detectives. At some point, the show moved to Court TV (now truTV) and was renamed Forensic Files.Reruns on HLN were called Mystery Detectives for a period of time and then used the Forensic Files title.
  #46  
Old 12-18-2018, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by dropzone View Post
"The way to a man's heart is through his stomach."
Hence Inigo's specification of an eighteen-inch Fairburn-Sykes. Most have a blade length of about seven inches.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiki
The F-S knife is strongly associated with the British commandos and the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and Marine Raiders (who based their issued knife on the Fairbairn-Sykes), among other special forces/clandestine/raiding units. It features in the insignia of the British Royal Marines, the Belgian Commandos, the Dutch Commando Corps, founded in the UK during World War II, and the Australian 1st Commando and 2nd Commando Regiments, and the United States Army Rangers, both founded with the help of the British Commandos.
Kind of a who's who list of WWII Allied badasses.
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Old 12-18-2018, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by terentii View Post
There was an X-ray machine on display at the 1901 Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, NY. If the doctors treating his wounds had used it, President McKinley might not have died of gangrene a week later.
It really wasn't set up to be used, and wasn't portable. It was tantalizing to have such a device close by, but apparently it wasn't practical to use it.
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Old 12-18-2018, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by dorvann View Post
All this talk about whether one would remain standing after being shot in the stomach reminded me of this famous movie death scene:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAdniWncWu4
Dear God, I can't unsee that!
  #49  
Old 12-18-2018, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by terentii View Post
Not only did the recoil knock me back a few feet (and I was a pretty big kid), the shock wave from the bullet blew a hole in the mud big enough to lose a watermelon in.
It's hard not to over-emphasize this. Some bullets just pierce you, as if you were stabbed with an ice-pick. Some create an expanding cavity which explodes a crater of meat as it exits. It depends largely on the speed, mass, size, shape, etc etc of the bullet and the impact. I've seen war photos where people got shot with a (suspected)7.62x54R and it basically amputed the whole limb. The damage was completely disproportionate to the size of the bullet.

Anyway, many people have already mentioned how Hollywood falls look fake, and I can't over-emphasize this. SF guys who practice headshots (eg SAS) would remark that a person dropped 'like water.' The biggest problem with TV is that the actor is still in control of their body. It's impossible to fake. Their muscles remain tense and they lower themselves to the ground, whereas in real life someone who loses consciousness or gets shot in a critical place just crumples. It's bad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FairyChatMom
But in the real world, can being stabbed result in instant death?
To address the OP, generally not. A stabby bit can surely incapacitate someone, but they don't just fall down dead. More often, they will lay there and scream and thrash about as they go into shock. More like Mister Orange in 'Reservoir Dogs.' FWIW, warriors in ages past well understood that slashing attacks left gruesome wounds that might incapacitate but were unlikely to kill, whereas piercing attacks that penetrated the chest were almost invariably fatal.

The survival rate for stabbings is quite a bit better now, what with our antibiotics and stuff. As others have mentioned, stab wounds from knives are rarely fatal. Research on knife attacks indicates that lethal attacks usually involve repeated stabbings. One or two pokes usually won't do it. Mostly this is because the knives used in crimes just aren't large enough to inflict serious damage. They are often pocket knives or eating utensils. If someone got stabbed with a Crocodile Dundee knife, it would most likely incapacitate them quickly.
  #50  
Old 12-18-2018, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DesertDog View Post
Hence Inigo's specification of an eighteen-inch Fairburn-Sykes. Most have a blade length of about seven inches. Kind of a who's who list of WWII Allied badasses.
I need one. As I have tried to explain to psychologists and court personnel, I carry the pen knife on my keychain as a symbol: It has been our birthright as hominids for millions of years to carry edged tools. I am not going to hurt anybody or myself with a crappy $2 pen knife; I'm not sure I even can since I have never managed to get a decent edge on stainless steel and it is made of stainless so bad that we'd have stuck with bronze if it were our first try at iron. A Fairbairn-Sykes is a different story.

My bete noir is throwing stars, beloved of kung fu movies. I assume their RL use (are they actually used IRL?) is as a distraction while our hero reaches for his gun, but movies show them as deadly when thrown at a thug's chest or forehead. In reality the blades are too short to do much damage: a star to the chest would lodge in the thug's clothes, pecs, or bones, and a star to the forehead might open the guy's third eye but not much else. A theatrical but impractical weapon.

Last edited by dropzone; 12-18-2018 at 01:18 PM.
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