Fearful Mind

If you had to kill, what’s stopping you?
There is a whole load of emotions are involved when killing.
Any of them can make that trigger feel REALLY HEAVY.

  • Cultural conditioning, moral and religious upbringing may make killing hard.
  • As will thinking of your target as a human being, a person like you with feelings.
  • Evolution ingrained a “flight or fight” response into you BUT modern man, especially when untrained, the flight response far outweighs the fight bit.
  • Outside of military or “authorised” combat there is the fear of prosecution, wrongful interpretation of your actions, or simply revenge from others.
    (Although both ex and serving military have been thrown to the legal wolves by following B.S. legal claims or to suit some B.S. political agenda).

Only there are counters to most of them.

  • Reducing a person to the status of a target or lower form of life.
  • BELIEVING that target is evil or morally wrong.
  • VENGEANCE and ANGER are always good motivations.
  • PEER PRESSURE is good which includes a CHAIN OF COMMAND.
  • REALISTIC REPETITIVE TRAINING (especially the use of reactive targets) desensitizes the impact and makes target selection automatic.

The last one hits on two major points in combat.

My usual mantra of “Distance is king in combat”applies here.
Distance reduces the feeling of vulnerability.
Distance removes facial features, sound, and details that personalize.
Even when using a scope, you may see personal features BUT through glass, and subject to effective training, the person can be reduced to a target, inhuman, aka just something to shoot at.

The closer you let an aggressor get to you, the more the untrained body AND MIND wants to shift into the genetically programmed flight bit.

The ultimate mind fk. being a person running at you screaming, shooting or welding cutting weapons, wearing or carrying a bomb, with no apparent fear, or one that sustains multiple strikes but doesn’t fall down.


Distance and the handgun.
Most shoot-outs occur at or within a persons social space which experts say is about 3 meters, 10-12 feet. Only have you thought about that one?

Good practical pistol training often talks about a 21 foot (6.5 metres) circle of threat (aka the Tueller Doctrine). In practical terms that’s the range where it is just possible to positively identify and assess a rapidly approaching threat, draw, and fire.

Or to put it another way, about a second and a half.

Does (or did) your gun slinging classes included this little gem of wisdom and training?
You identifying, assessing the threat, and reacting in a second and a half. If it didn’t I’d be thinking refund time.

I usually passed the Tueller drill (on the second attempt).
Identifying the closest threat and shooting at it (in the safe well-lit world of the range).
A bit weird really as I’m what was politely put by some as being a slow thinker.
I’ll get there, usually with the right decision, only it takes time.
Too fast to me is an axe welding sloth.


BUT in combat (simulated or not) you haven’t got time!
In low or strobing light, and/or being subjected to loud noise like weapons going off or someone screaming and yelling. Someone running at you and/or you under stress from the overall situation, I always shot first and thought about assessing the threat afterwards. Bit naughty eh?

It can lead to mistakes shooting that fast and reactively.
Thus when I read articles condemning people or LEO’s for doing just that, I have sympathy for them.

What, you think I’m wrong to think that?
There are bound to be a few idiots who say they received special training to combat that.
Training and real life is as different as chalk and cheese.

Back to fear.
If things happen FAST and you act instinctively, according to your muscle memory type training, that does help your survival chances greatly and increases the chance that you’ll actually fire your weapon.

Thus some just do that but can’t actually remember the decision-making process afterwards. Good for the moment, bad long-term as doubt can creep in afterwards.
Speed of event, assuming you don’t just shut down, is a MAJOR canceller of fear BUT it can still affect your senses and speed of reaction.

Under stress, the brain releases all sorts of chemicals into the blood as part of the flight and fight response. These can have devastating effects on reasoning and response times.

First your heart rate and blood pressure soars.
Ever tried a 600 yard shot with a racing heart, shaking hands, or an ever tighting chest?

Your brain starts thinking all primeval too so logical thought gets impaired.
Thank God for those “automatic” immediate action drills I say.
Your hearing shuts down a tad BUT don’t be fooled, excessive noise can still ‘hurt’ you.
Get really freaked out and your vision may tunnel i.e. you’ll lose your peripheral vision, AND colour perception,  i.e. “Not that one, cut the red wire stupid!”

Night vision is impaired (remember the comment about low light being BAD)?
Finally fine motor skills suffer (i.e. BRASS may be impossible) let alone processing sight pictures and alignment.

And all because of fear.

Back to targeting.
Earlier I said I was a slow thinker. So does that mean I’m less effective in combat?
CQB, close quarter, Mano a mano? Yep definitely!
Most anyone can whop my butt if they can get close enough and move fast enough.
Which is why I prefer to lay off using my skills on the long gun.

Only does a thinker have a harder time dealing with the “Oh no, it’s a person” problem when loosing off a shot? Some might have a problem but for me? No.
To me anything is just a reactive target to knock down.
Dissociation (I think that’s what the shrinks call it) is therefore complete. (Sort of).

Other experts talk about viewing something through a scope or even a basic sight as a method of de-personalizing the target. Only I’m not quite sure about that one for everyone. Guys (and girls) who I’ve shot with varied. Some will identify with the target, some won’t. Most however, after a while, seem to get the job done. What do you call that, desensitizing through repetition or combat hardening?

It’s complex isn’t it?
Is there a perfect recipe for making a killer? No, not really.
Good training helps as does PRACTICE and lots and lots of reactive training.
The armed forces sort of get it right but ultimately:-

It’s what an individual believes in
that is the key in ‘unhurried’ scenario’s.
Which is how PsyOps works.

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