How does a bullet or knife kill somebody?

And when a distinction is made between “exponential” and “geometric”, it’s usually that “geometric” is applied to discrete cases, and “exponential” to continuous ones. So Cecil’s copy boy[sup]*[/sup] would be doubly wrong with that one, since energy is continuous.

  • Cecil is known to be infallible; therefore it may safely be assumed that any apparent mistake in one of his columns did not actually originate with him, but one of his flunkies. Undoubtedly, the original column had the correct term “quadratically”, or a vaguer (and therefore not incorrect) word like “dramatically”, but before it hit press, some non-Cecil person who didn’t know the meaning of “geometrically” had the hubris to try to improve on the Master.

It should be noted that the aforementioned .45ACP round is designed to knock someone down, not to kill them. There’s a point where a bullet is so fast/powerful it merely pokes a hole in someone, this is generally not desirable. The point of shooting someone is to remove them as a threat to you, not, generally, to poke a hole in them that will (hopefully, eventually) cause them to bleed out. Ideally you want a bullet that will punch through whatever armor the person is wearing (as opposed to flattening onto the surface of the armor) but not punch entirely through the person (lodge in their flesh) thus, in addition to causing the injury of hole-poking, you’ve also transferred all the energy of the travelling bullet into the body of the target (tossed them around like a rag doll, and generally reduced their ability to harm you in return)

This is assuming, of course, that you aren’t an assassin, but rather a normal person whose purpose in shooting people is self-defense. Also, this is why so many of us NRA-types recommend shotguns for home/personal defense. Will a shotgun punch through armor? Probably not, but the energy released by a 3" 12-gauge shell will put your target down, armor or not. A much more desirable outcome than merely punching a hole in someone, which won’t necessarily have any immediate effect unless you hit a vital organ.

“But isn’t the recoil of a heavy shotgun like that hard to manage?” Overall, from my experience, not compared to most handguns, really. Furthermore, the recoil doesn’t really matter for the first shot unless you’re flinching as you fire, and with a shotgun, you should be able to hit with the first shot and that first shot should be decisive.