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"Meditations on Violence"... Something I cannot even describe...

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by MacG22, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. MacG22

    MacG22 CLM

    Feb 28, 2008
    I apologize I don't remember the name of the GT member who recommended this. He mentioned it neck deep in some deteriorating thread a few weeks ago.

    I listened to what he said, found it to be thoughtful, and went on amazon and ordered this book:


    The book arrived today, and seeing as we're snowed in and I had some time off of work, I started reading it.

    I just finished. Didn't put it down from the time I picked it up. Almost every margin is littered with notes.

    I don't know how to describe it other than by saying the following things:

    1. Every person--and especially anyone who is interested in their own self defense-- needs to read this book. I've never said that about any other book, as good as some are (more often than not they're worthless, IMO).

    2. This book is not about "tactics" as much as it's about violence--how complex it is, what it does to us mentally and physiologically, what are the patterns behind it, and how impossible it is to prepare for it.

    3. It was absolutely the most interesting and useful "self-defense" read I've ever picked up. But it's not just interesting. It is necessary stuff to think through.

    I don't know how to say it much more clearly than that.

    When you read the description, it almost seems like it was written for "martial arts experts who need to learn that dojo training is nothing like real life violent encounters". And that's true. But that's just an audience for him to focus on for the sake of clarity. This book is absolutely written for anyone who carries or trains with firearms and intends to protect themselves should the need arise.

    A last comment from me... there was one part that I found particularly affecting. In one section he spends time talking about the "cocktail"... the chemicals that affect you when you get into a violent/intense situation and how it affects you. Amazing discussion and a lot to process. One of the examples he used was of Deputy Kyle Dinkheller. It's an old video and it's probably been jambog'd and debated here as much as the "Glock Fortay" video. But as much as I'd heard about it, I had never REALLY watched it. He mentioned that one tendency for people in high adrenaline situations to display is "behavioral looping". And in debriefings, many (even experienced guys) don't even realize they were doing it. So I watched the video again, carefully, and saw the concept he was talking about as Dinkheller just kept looping his warnings even until he was shot at (and after, actually). Chilling stuff. It's easy to just dismiss him as "stupid" or to think we wouldn't have done that. But the point was, even well trained guys can do that. It's a normal response with some. Because you cannot train for that sort of situation (with real threat and real surprise, and real speed, and real adrenaline dealing with THAT particular situation.) you can only know how you'll respond when you're there. It's not about training, per se, but about awareness (maybe more like active awareness). Hit me to the bone.

    Dinkheller video again, just for reference:

    Anyway, I cannot recommend this book enough. Even if you're not a reader, you won't be able to put this book down.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  2. USMCsilver

    USMCsilver Boat Life ©

    Oct 8, 2001
    Middle of SC
    Want to start a book club?

    You send it to someone (me) and I send it to someone else. All anyone's ever out is shipping charges.

    Sounds like it could be fun.

    Each GTer to receive it can sign the inside of the cover w/ name/member ID and a date.

    Again, could be fun. :)

  3. MacG22

    MacG22 CLM

    Feb 28, 2008

    Love the idea, actually. Only, my copy now has valuable notes in it that I don't want to lose.

    But I'd be happy to locate another copy (if someone doesn't have one they want to put into circulation) and help organize things.
  4. D3S3RT_P3NGU1N


    Feb 29, 2008
    Thanks for the recommendation, I'll order myself a copy tomorrow, look forward to reading it
  5. MacG22

    MacG22 CLM

    Feb 28, 2008
    You certainly won't regret it.
  6. DriBak

    DriBak GUNS UP Millennium Member

    Jul 4, 1999
    West Texas
    I'll add it to the list
  7. tarpleyg


    Aug 7, 2002
    North Carolina
    I have seen that video a couple of times now. I think you are right though...I was saying to myself that I would have put a bullet into that mother****er after the 3rd or so time saying "GET BACK!" but what would I have really done in that situation. What I really cannot understand is why didn't he start shooting as soon as the guy went back to his truck to get his rifle?

  8. Carrys

    Carrys Inquisitive

    Dec 28, 2006
    Green Country

    Unfortunately, leo folks aren't immune to the thought that violence, fast violence, is just a normal part of some folks lives. It takes them a second or two to realize just what's going on. Time that the "prep" puts to good use, from the preps stand point.

    Just not enough are able to keep that point of "ready for anything" working for very long. Sadly, they usually pay the price for such lack of readiness.
  9. Critias

    Critias Freelancer CLM

    Mar 31, 2005
    Cleburne, TX
    Everything I've heard about it has been good. Got it added to my Amazon wish list, thanks to one more recommendation. Thanks for the heads up, Mac!
  10. We watched this video in our CHL class. I am going to order this book!
  11. Currahee

    Currahee NRA Member

    Nov 21, 2006
    I've read it twice now - and it was the most thought provoking book I read last year. It is brilliant and if you are honest with yourself it can be a little off putting. I think it is a must read for anyone serious about self defense. I think there is something in this book for everyone, regardless of experience level.

    I lent it to my wife and she was also engrossed by it and got a lot out of it.

    To the OP, I started reading some of the books from his bibliography in the back and have enjoyed most of those as well, although they aren't strictly on the topic of self defense.
  12. holyjohnson


    Apr 8, 2006
    suburban MN
    added to the list,thanks.
  13. MacG22

    MacG22 CLM

    Feb 28, 2008

    My heart just breaks for that guy. I am one of those that really, really support our law enforcement officers. They don't always do things right, and some can be jerks, etc... but in general we are lucky as hell to have them.

    So when I saw this video again, it really hit me. This guy had probably been to the range a thousand times. He could probably shoot great groups by taking his time in practice. He'd probably sat through dozens of meetings or training sessions about how to calm, subdue, and apprehend BGs.

    But for whatever reason, when a situation escalated quickly he just got caught in some automatic behaviors that, I'm sure in his mind seamed reasonable, but for everyone else outside he got "frozen" in his looping responses. He also got a lot of shots off and didn't hit a target that was 10 yards from him. Shows how hard it is to use fine motor skills when that cocktail really gets ahold of you. Again, this situation was just one small example in the book, but it was an example of the really important things to think about. Programming "automatic responses" isn't something you can really do at a range session or a dojo--at least not reliably. But the more training you have, and you more you know what to expect, the better chance you can "unfreeze" yourself and be able to do something productive after (even if you fight off the "freeze" response, you still must do the right things afterward in order to survive and defend yourself. Doing the wrong things is just as dangerous as freezing).

    Here's another excerpt he offers a few paragraphs down from the Dinkheller example, quoted directly from the book, page 60-61:

    "As horrible as it sounds [regarding Dinkheller getting locked in the verbal loop as a response to the sutuatio]), as horrible as it is, all of the symptoms are survival responses for the worst case. You don't feel most pain (and neither does the threat [his term for BG].Pain-compliance locks and nerve points won't work). If you get cut or bitten, there is less bleeding. When animals evolved this reaction, it wasn't about being mugged; it was bout being mauled by a lion or bear. Situations where freezing, silence, and not bleeding much are better survival strategies than trying to apply a nifty fingerlock or spinning kick of Doom.

    In 2003, a handful of us were pulled aside to put together a class for corrections officers who were going to have new duties outside the jail such as court officers and high-risk transports. e had everything: sim guns (a real Glock that fires sub-caliber marking rounds), inert OC, foam batons, training Tasers, armor for the bad guys, and a modular training area.

    The deputies would go into a scenario with a minimal briefing, e.g. "You're walking across the park by the courthouse," and sent into a situation that could b anything from a medical emergency to a lost child to a baby held hostage.

    The class turned out to be a laboratory for adrenaline effects. most of the students were veteran jailers. Many had hundreds of brawls under their belts. Many had not really experienced an adrenaline rush in years. Most were not "gunfighters."

    We saw people adrenaline loop--some that had trouble drawing from level three holsters (that have two straps and in internal block) shot after the scenario was over because they had locked onto the idea. One turned and fired at a target that had been gone for several seconds but had just entered his conscious awareness. Many, when describing the scene after the scenario, added details that weren't there like descriptions of the reporter's microphone when the role player had and empty hand.

    An image: after a scenario that lasted probably two minutes and involved a lot of yelling and a single trigger pull, the officer was gasping for breath, hands on his knees, shaking and sweating. "Sarge, I feel like I'm going to cry and I want to puke. Is that normal?" That is perfectly normal. "

    --End quoted section.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2010
  14. Hummer

    Hummer Big Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    Western Colorado
    Thanks for the recommendation on the book, it's now on my TO READ list. :wavey:

    I'm currently reading "THE UNTHINKABLE, who survives when a disaster hits--and why", by Amanda Ripley. It probably treats much of the same subject matter as Meditations on Violence, but in a different, maybe wider perspective. It delves into how and why the mind and body reacts to stressful situations. Cops in shootings, civilians in hostage takeovers, the Twin Tower bombing of '93 and those caught on 911, all deal with denial, delay, risk, fear, paralysis and panic, and heroism. A fascinating read for anyone in emergency services and those who want to be better prepared for any eventuality.
  15. scwine

    scwine ^%(#@$^!!!!!!!

    Jul 16, 2007
    New Braunfels, TX
    Thanks for the review! I have been in need of a good book lately.
    Order placed on Amazon.:wavey:
  16. c5367

    c5367 Esq.

    Aug 1, 2003
    Great idea!
  17. Notrega


    Sep 8, 2005
    I have ordered it - willing to pass it along for the good of GT...
  18. BamaTrooper

    BamaTrooper Retired

    Sep 12, 2006
    From what we were told in inservice, the officer's academy/agency had drilled the "shoot someone, lose your job" thought into the officers' heads.
  19. MacG22

    MacG22 CLM

    Feb 28, 2008

    Just starting to work through that list. Will definitely pick some of them up... any that are better than others?...

    And that book "Unthinkable...." recommended above appears to be a good find as well.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010
  20. jhoagland

    jhoagland That's right! Lifetime Member

    May 4, 2007
    south carolina
    You tube removed the vidio due to terms violations.