Rationalizing Brutality: The Cultural Legacy of the Headshot


[Music] [Music] We didn’t always talk about shooting people in the head. That’s a weird opening sentence I know, but it’s true! Obviously there’s a large part of human history without guns, but even with them, headshots weren’t the near ubiquitous term they are now. If someone was gonna be shot in pre- sixties pulp, they’d typically be shot in the chest [Music] “Shot in the heart!” It sounds almost cute “oh you shot me in the heart why don’t you just marry me?” There were exceptions of course. The Manchurian Candidate features three head shots in a row, two assassinations and one suicide. But for the most part, no matter how hard boiled the detective or ruthless the villain, people died with their heads intact. We as a culture also weren’t that familiar with the kind of intimate filmed violence we have today. Two world wars were recent in memory of course, but embedded journalists and 24-hour news cycles were still pretty far off. Our depictions of war were through grainy photographs and patriotic movies, and strict content laws meant that entertainment media was still bound to being not particularly graphic. And according to Sean Quinlan, we can actually pinpoint the historical events that brought the headshot into popular consciousness. Perhaps the least intuitive of these events actually has nothing to do with violence and everything to do with medical science. Earlier I mentioned gangsters talking about shooting people in the heart, and while this sounds like a cute pick-up line now, it totally makes sense as a clear and concise way of killing someone. Because, for most of history, the heart has been the self. Of course if you stop the heart you kill the person, but there was more to it than that. Countless writers have waxed poetic about the heart, longing for the person they love or questioning someone they loathe. It was the soul too! To destroy someone’s heart, that was destroying that person in a way that simply bleeding out or succumbing to pneumonia wasn’t really. “Shoot him in the heart,” that’s basically a way of saying make him not exist anymore. And then a weird thing happened. We got really good at stopping people from dying. Kinda like headshots, vegetative states haven’t existed in popular consciousness forever- they’re a product of modern medicine. And so all of a sudden we had these machines that could keep someone’s heart beating after they sustained traumatic head injuries, injuries that previously would have outright killed them. We had people who were by all previous measures alive and yet, boy this didn’t feel like living. Another thing that was happening in modern medicine at the time was the widespread adoption of organ transplants. And to many people, the idea of taking the heart- the self- out of one person and putting it into another was discomforting if not outright monstrous. So to confront this, a bunch of medical pros got together for a summit on death. And they emerged with a hugely influential decision that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1968. Brain activity was the essence of human life. They said to determine death, doctors should use an EEG and measure brainwaves. Get it? The heart wasn’t the self anymore. It shifted about a foot and a half straight up. Now you were your brain, which makes it a real shame for anything bad to happen to it. This focus on the brain cast a dark shadow over other medical practices of the past. About 40,000 people in the United States received lobotomies a medical procedure that removed large portions of the brain in an attempt to regulate behavior. One of the most famous people lobotomized was the third child of Rose and Joseph Kennedy. Her name was Rosemary. At 23 years old, Rosemary got a lobotomy intended to stop her mood swings and occasional violent outbursts. The procedure left her with the mental capabilities of a two-year-old, and the family hid her away in a cottage for much of the rest of her life. Of course Rosemary isn’t the first Kennedy people think of when traumatic brain injuries are brought up. JFK’s assassination was internationally viral in a way that maybe no other event had been before. People around the world knew within a day. Pictures like LBJ being sworn in with a blood splattered Jackie by his side were burned into the nation’s memory. And then there’s the Zapruder tape, the shaky capture that perhaps cements the assassination as the most viewed death of all time. Unlike famous assassinations before it, people were given the opportunity to truly obsess over JFK’s death with the visual evidence to back it up. Most famously in Oliver Stone’s movie JFK, the Zapruder tape was stretched to its breaking point in an attempt to prove or disprove some form of conspiracy. The tape and the ensuing cultural conversation were so ubiquitous that the seemingly inconsequential phrase “frame 313” is immediately recognized, at least in some circles, as a reference to the frame where- well where JFK’s self was destroyed. The frame where he went from the President to an annihilated object, an object of conspiracy, tragedy, an icon of a generation’s dreams destroyed, but not a person anymore. That was left at frame 312. The third event, says Quinlan, was captured by Eddie Adams in a 1968 pulitzer prize-winning photo called “Saigon Execution.” And I put a warning before, but just a second one here- I’m gonna show this photo and it’s not particularly gory, but it is of a man being shot in the head. The man holding the gun is lieutenant colonel Nguyen Ngoc Loan, the man who’s just been shot is Vietcong suspect Nguyen Van Lem. In other words we, as Americans, were supposed to be on the side of the colonel. Our fight was represented by the executor, The Vietnam War still had nearly a decade to go, but Saigon Execution marked a shift in the nation’s feelings. We remembered Kennedy, we remembered what it was like for someone’s self to be violently stripped from them, and now documented, incontrovertible, was our side doing the same. In The Deer Hunter, one of the seminal works on Vietnam PTSD, a game of Russian Roulette forces the entire audience to expect the head shot again and again. And as Sylvia Shin Huey Chong points out, the scene is staged almost identically to “Saigon Execution.” It places the american even more directly in the place of Van Lem, his temple at the end of a gun. America, the dreams of the 60s, the trauma of the war, all of it. Frames away from annihilation. [Music] These events, JFK and Van Lem, helped modern writers bring another phrase into the cultural lexicon. Pink Mist. In The Godfather, the 1969 novel, Mario Puzo vividly describes the scene when Michael Corleone shoots two men in a diner. “The bullet caught Solozzo squarely between his eyes. And when it exited on the other side, it blasted out a huge gout of blood and skull fragments onto the petrified waiter’s jacket. Instinctively, Michael knew that one bullet was enough. Only one second had gone by as Michael pivoted to bring the gun to bear on McCluskey. Very cooly, very deliberately, Michael fired the next shot through the top of his white-haired skull. The air seemed to be full of pink mist. When Michael’s driver asks him if he’s sure they’re dead Michael responds simply: “I saw their brains.”Exponentially more famous than the book is the same scene in Coppola’s film. [Music] It’s less gory, actually than the scene is described in the book. But the pink mist? That was there. Really, from the 70s on, the headshot was fair game for everything. From Dirty Harry, the encapsulation of a lone wolf fighting for racially coded law and order- “This is a 44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off.” To the water balloon-esque scanners, the headshot was there to stay. And audiences kind of ate it up! Sam Peckinpah, an American director, thought that the new language of the headshot and the advent of squibs and other new VFX techniques could shock audiences into the horrors of real violence. The kind that happens in war, the kind they couldn’t write off as movie magic. But Peckinpah succeeded despite himself, because he was wrong! Audiences loved it. And maybe this is actually a positive outlook on our ability to separate media from real-life. Actual tragedy had undeniably influenced how movies depicted violence, but that on-screen violence didn’t elicit the same trauma from the audience. Maybe we’re really good at separating fact and fiction. Or maybe it’s just a lot more complicated than that. BOOM headshot, BOOM headshot, try and hit me, come on. Pure Pwnage is not a household name these days, but the webseries that started in 2004 (and still writes like it apparently) made one major contribution to gamers online rhetoric. In episode five, this fellow’s enthusiastic screams became a true meme that continues to this day. FPSDoug, this loud man, is playing counter-strike. And his exclamations tell us all we need to know about his play style. He’s brash, he’s dominating, but despite the goofiness, we know he’s skilled. The first gaming headshot as we think of them today was added to the original team fortress in 1996, but most of the gaming community’s first experiences with them came a year later in 1997 with, shall we say, a higher class of violence. In several of Goldeneye’s levels, you’re presented with a sniper rifle and given a bunch of oblivious goons to practice on. A more obvious invitation to headshot there never was. There’s a weird dichotomy in goldeneye’s headshots, and the games lead, Martin Hollis, said as much explicitly. “The headshot isn’t very bondian, because it is needlessly brutal. You imagine it is a very messy and hideous way to kill someone. He even says that they tried out a bloody version of the headshot but ultimately landed on an animation that he called clinical. It’s a term that defies reality, a clinical take on a distinctly un-clinical action. And in multiplayer, the person who scored the most headshots even got an accolade reflecting this dissonance. Most Professional. If you wanted to make it easier on yourself, you can even turn on the cheat code DK mode. Headshots, made more accessible than ever. What does a gaming headshot mean? Most professional isn’t that far off. And in most shooting games, headshots are the most efficient way to play. It kills the enemy in the least time, it preserves the most ammo, putting a bullet between a bad guy’s eyes means that they have less time to shoot back at you. But even that is a pretty clinical way to talk about it. Let’s be honest here- hitting a headshot feels good. Shooters have essentially turned the human body into a skee-ball scoring range. Anyone can get ten points, and if you’re consistent with those tens, you’ll probably end up with a score that’s fine. It’ll get you a couple tickets. But up there, that small little target, that’s the big bucks. That’s a hundred points. And goddamn, that’s what we want to hit. One of the most basic expressions of agency in shooting games is “where do you want to shoot?” It’s one of the reasons why Resident Evil 4 feels so creative and dynamic. Want a guy to drop his pitchfork? Shoot him in the arm. Slow them down? Shoot him in the leg. But like skee-ball, there’s a best option. It’s the head- pop him in the brain. I’m not great at skee-ball, but I am pretty dang good at Resident Evil 4. True story, Resident Evil 4 was the first M rated game I was allowed to own. The year was 2000 and something, I had just had my bar- mitzvah. And as I so eloquently argued to my parents, in the eyes of the Torah I was a man. Who’s the ESRB to stand up to the Word of God? So I got Resident Evil 4 and a decade plus later, I’m still playing it. It feels good to exercise this much power over the game. Those ganados that once tore 13-year old me to shreds don’t stand a chance. I can dominate this game now. And Resident Evil 4 upon first glance is shockingly violent. It’s not clinical at all, it’s a veritable firework of gray matter and viscera. But I never think about that aspect of it anymore. While games certainly sell themselves with violence, most players will tell you that it fades into the background pretty quickly. Games frequently simulate that pink mist we talked about earlier, but there’s little sense that a person is gone- because, of course, there was never a person to begin with. In their articles on violence as a motivator in games, scientists Pryzbylski Ryan and Rigby reference the grunt birthday party modification in Halo. Replacing gore with a gleeful yell and shower of confetti doesn’t actually rob the game of any of its pleasure. The enjoyment of a headshot comes from an expression of the mastery of the game- or frequently a mastery over others. My single-player celebration of headshots is nothing compared to actual human versus human multiplayer lobbies. Games are faster harder with actual thinking opponents and those split-second reflexes letting you pop heads are proving again and again that you are better than the people you’re playing against. 100 skee-ball points doesn’t cut it anymore, you’ve got to get 3,000. (look this metaphor is getting pretty weak but just stick with me) In the blur of multiplayer, headshots are often the difference between life and death. This kind of logic is leaking out into wider media as well. In the hyper violent and hyper video game-y John Wick series, head shots are really the only kind of gun interaction that matters. Keanu routinely shoots people in the torso once, twice, more only to set them up for a headshot. Nothing else really matters. If their head is intact they’re fully functional. Once it’s gone so are they. [Music] As my dad said upon his first viewing “it’s like his gun is a stapler.” But despite the spectacle, there’s an implicit message in the gore of John Wick. He’s better than these other goons, he’s got the twitch reflexes he needs to survive, and anyone’s a professional, it’s god damn Keanu Reeves. Here’s a question- when would you shoot a person in the head in real life? okay good answer. Better question, when are people whose job includes shooting people supposed to shoot people in the head? There is an answer to this, actually. In hostage situations, police sharpshooters sometimes aim for headshots. Disable the nervous system completely, avoid retaliation. What else? Here’s the thing- almost never. General military and police training aim for body shots. Hunting animals? oh you don’t want to mess up that trophy do you? Snipers? That group whose literal profession is to murder people? They don’t go for the head either. Marksmen train to hit a triangle on the upper chest, an area basically from the neck to the nipples. And shooting a gun is very different in the real-life (shocker). It’s heavy, it kicks. Bullets can be affected by the elements, and a stray bullet isn’t just a wasted round. It could ricochet, it could hit someone else. Although guns are kind of unavoidable in the U.S. most people will never have a direct interaction with gun violence, and only a tiny fraction of them will actually be in a situation where they are also armed and could potentially shoot back. So where do we form our ideas about guns? Well. Can you think of a game where you shoot someone without the intention to kill them? They do exist. Bringing in live bounties in Red Dead, or LA Noire foot chases come to mind, but it ain’t the norm is it? And this actually is realistic. Guns are pretty bad at doing anything non-lethal. But it serves to drive home what guns mean in games. The best shooter is the one that kills the quickest. There are other notable exceptions to the trends of gaming depictions of gun violence. I’ve been showing footage from JFK Reloaded, a free game from 2004 that puts you in the position of Lee Harvey Oswald. It was controversial upon release, of course. The name is intentionally, hilariously crass. The idea of recreating a real-life presidential assassination in the context of what most shooting games are like seems sacrilege. But JFK Reloaded is actually an immensely interesting game, due largely to how little “game” there is. There’s no progression system, no incentives. Your reward for shooting the president in the head is, well, knowing you shot the president in the head. What JFK reloaded does instead is present you with overwhelming detail. How did your bullets ricochet? Did they strike the other people in the car? What was the wind speed, how long did you take between your shots? JFK Reloaded gives us what the Zapruder tape couldn’t. A chance to pour over every angle of the scene in exhaustive detail, see how messy the shots could be, freeze and zoom around frame 313 leaving nothing left unanswered. And at the end, the president is still dead. What do we gain? Receiver is a 2012 game that similarly ignores traditional game gun logic. Although there are turrets and drones to shoot, neither are as dangerous as the paralyzing amount of control you have over your own gun. How many buttons do you use to control a gun in most games? Three? One to aim, one to fire, one to reload? Maybe four if there’s a secondary fire. In Receiver you have more than a dozen. here’s the sequence for firing Max Payne’s revolver: press R to reload, click to shoot. Two actions. Here’s how it works in Receiver: press e to open the cylinder press V to shake out the old rounds, press Z Z Z Z Z to load each bullet in, press R to close the cylinder, press F to pull back the hammer, click to aim click to shoot. That’s 14 separate inputs. Firing the colt 1911 is very different, of course. It’s a different gun. Why would it feel the same? Receiver is not a twitchy game. Everything is absolutely deliberate. It has to be, or else guns don’t fire, cylinders jam, clips empty. Most games aren’t Receiver or JFK Reloaded. Most games take the utmost care to make a gun feel like a natural extension of your body. And for many of us, this is our most direct experience with guns: click on the bad guys heads. Does this make us want to shoot real people? No not according to any existing research. But that’s not the only context that matters. “Simulations, like video games, are important locations for individuals to form an idea about what the act of shooting someone at the head might feel like. Not because it helps them understand the sensations of murder or of death per se, but because it helps them access the mechanics of aiming and shooting in a particular fictionalized context.” We learn from games that using a gun is entirely reflex based. Twitchy. Used in split-second decisions. And that coincides pretty well with our love of a deadly shot. From Call of Duty to Battlefield to American Sniper, we’ve mythologized the stories of how deadly our trained killers can be overseas. It’s that lone killer aesthetic, one made popular by SEAL Teams, snipers, and superheroes. As Nate Powell points out in his comic “About Face,” these aesthetics and attitudes quickly leak into domestic police forces. Operator- style facial hair, blacked out vehicles, ballooning budgets and increasing militarization. And in a culture that valorizes the perceived professionalism of our deadly forces above virtually all else, who are we to argue? Five years ago, an 18 year old boy named Michael Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson. He was shot six times, twice in the head. Once from a downward angle. You’ve heard the arguments I’m not going to explain to you how abhorrent it is that the cops shot an 18 year old boy, a 12 year old kid, a seven-year-old girl. If you’re not convinced of that, I’m not gonna be the one to do it. But I do want you to think about those shots. Six times, twice in the head. That’s not even a high number for these events. Nguyen Van Lem was shot once in the head by a man standing next to him, Michael Brown, not an enemy combatant, not a foreign threat, was shot in the head by a cop standing over his fallen body. The effects of being shot in the head are the same as 60 years ago. An annihilation of the self. It’s actually kind of fitting in the context of police violence; The effort for centuries has been to dehumanize black men and women, make them less than a person so the oppression done to them doesn’t trigger white empathy. If the brain is the self, what’s left of a boy shot twice in the head? We as a culture have grown increasingly aware of police shootings, largely through the organizing efforts of black and brown women. Things have come from the horrors of Michael Brown and others’ deaths, even if those things are seemingly never jail time for their murderers. But in a world increasingly immersed in the virtual mechanics, physics, and goals of gun combat, how has this affected how we view the mechanics physics and goals of real-life violence? “While there has been no conclusive evidence linking video game violence with aggression in the physical world, we face a future in which a growing civilian body considers shooting for the skull our norm, even a joy, of firearms. This is also a future in which twitch responses are valorized for a growing segment of the populace. Implicit biases govern the realm of twitch responses, and they have already been found to effect rapid decision making along the lines of race and lethal force. Does a jury, consciously or not, reward an officer with a “most professional” accolade for their lethality in the field? Are we so in awe of their twitchy combat proficiency that we assume their decision to use force was the result of the same training that taught them to efficiently destroy a person? Historically, our idea of a headshot was built and shaped through our interactions with it in media. And while history might be fixed, those ideas surrounding violence are ever-changing, in a constant conversation with our gun obsessed culture. Video games, as far as we know, don’t cause violence. But I increasingly think that’s asking the wrong question. This video exists because of two papers. Sean Quinlan’s work I mentioned earlier his is “Shots to the mind: violence the brain and biomedicine in popular novels and film in post 1960s America” and it’s a fantastic overview of the cultural history of the headshot up until probably the turn of the century. Who I really owe everything to though is Amanda Phillips, who wrote “Shooting to kill: headshots, twitch reflexes and the mechropolitics of video games.” A huge amount of what I said in this was either quoting or directly influenced by her work so go read both of them. If you can’t access themc just message me on Twitter and I will send you them. Full stop. The lovely voices you heard in this video also belong to talented people. That godfather reading was Jackson or @jSchlessinger on Twitter, and the Phillips quotes who were read by Eurothug4000. She has her own channel which is excellent, go check both of them out please. And if you’re still here after everything, you’re the true fan so here’s another picture from my bar mitzvah, thanks love you bye!! [Music] [Applause] [Music]




Comments
  1. Am I the only one that feels disgusted at all the headshots and blood spatter? I usually love it.. but not now. Its disturbing

  2. (in my opinion) The reason old movies people were shot in the chest because it was probably easier logistically/cost/special effects wise.

  3. (in my opinion) The reason old movies people were shot in the chest because it was probably easier logistically/cost/special effects wise. Its not like humans haven't grasped the idea that traumatic head injury is lethal… I mean I am sure a caveman or 2 bashed another caveman in the head with a rock.
    Nobody wants anybody shot unnecessarily so… there are unarmed people of all sorts of races shot by police.
    Humans don't have to be armed to be lethal. The ones that shoot people unnecessarily should be put under the jail.

  4. Explains how police officers are trained not to shoot in the head and shoot multiple times.
    Now complains that police officers shoot multiple times.

  5. I rarely ever comment on youtube videos, but I just had to. After three videos you've quickly become one of my favorite channels. Your videos are always so thoughtful and analytical and I really feel like I come away with a deeper understanding of these things, and more questions to think about as well

  6. These kids love laughing at videos of shootings. Hopefully they dont experience seeing this in real life, they won’t be laughing.

  7. I'm Jewish too, and I can't believe I didn't use this argument on my parents. I wasn't allowed to play my first rated M game until I was 16. Goddamnit.

  8. Really interesting to see you using gameplay footage from Spec Ops: The Line for this video – that should mean something to those who have played it

  9. The end of the video just kind of felt tacked on. Like "oh and also police brutality" the entire video seems to give the idea of "videogames don't cause violence but also police brutality kinda might be because of videogames" correct me if I'm wrong but this video is still poorly structured.

  10. I really love how Cabela's Big Game Hunter: Pro Hunts rather quickly trained me to aim for the lungs, as pulling off a headshot required you to hit a rather tiny brain hidden behind a hard skull – shooting a shotgun at a moose, it's more than possible that body fat and the aforementioned skeleton will just stop your shell outright, even if it was aiming dead-on. OTOH, lungs were large, gave a lot of points, downed the animal quickly, apparently with little suffering, and also gave a small chance to pierce the heart.

    "Double lung shot! Excellent shot placement, won't go far."

  11. I think it's important to recognize the difference between the context of violence. If I'm playing a video game, I'm very much going for the ski-ball style points thing, and the quick kill-shots, because it's a game. But that doesn't change my attitude toward police brutality or police homicide. It's not even so much differentiation between fiction and reality, as it is the two being entirely different things.

    Shooting enemies in a game is like shooting clay pigeons at shooting range. It's purely a display of skill and competency. A police officer gunning down a person is judged by moral culpability, inability to de-escalate potentially violent situations, excessive use of force, and (by some, myself included) the use of police as a tool of the bourgeoisie to oppress and divide the working class. Their skill or lack thereof with a gun doesn't factor into that equation, nor does it make the killing more palatable.

  12. lol the game mentioned in the description tho, anyways you should also have mentioned the popularity of zombies and the fact that they can only be killed through headshots

  13. Dude how are you going to go 23 minutes, then jump into Michael Brown without discussing the fact that it was a justified police action and bring up other headlines with zero details?

  14. Huh, that's neat. I'mma check out that "Shooting to Kill" article–

    >$36

    Aaaaaand this is the part where I shake my head and go "this is why people don't educate themselves anymore."

  15. You got a bit political at the end which was a bit unnecessary tbh. For anyone whos curious micheal brown was being arrested for a robbery and intimidation and instead of complying with the police, he decided to assault the police officer and then attempt to gain control over his firearm. After being shot he retreated only to turn back to the officer where he was then killed as he was reaching for his waist. Sounds justified to me. And at 6:56 Lem was was alleged to have just cut the throats of South Vietnamese Lt Col Nguyen Tuan, his wife, their six children and the officer’s 80-year-old mother which i belive was a war crime however the execution was also seen as unjust so take that for what you will.

  16. Shooting to the head is a standard part of a failure to stop drill. If someone keeps attacking you after taking 2 shots, to the much easier to hit chest, then repeatedly shooting them in the chest isn't going to keep you from getting killed. This is why shooting for the head, in real life, is becoming a bit more common. Too many drugs and crazy people out there, so in the case of individuals like mike brown who were beating the officer near death, a failure drill becomes the only way to survive.

  17. So a huge guy is puching you to death and trying to grab your gun. You shoot him point-blank multiple times and he keeps attacking you. You probably would have also instantly done the same as the cop.

  18. Cops are trained to shoot for center mass because your least likely to miss. They are also taught to mag dump because small caliber firearms do weird things in the body and don’t always kill.

  19. Hate to break it to you but actually snipers are totally trained to shoot people in the head, both police and military. The TV FLASHPOINT had a really good episode where something I had studied and talked to real coppers about came up; the T zone, it's a line running from about mid ear line to the bridge of the nose and the actual line of the nose. They're trained to shoot you in this zone because it lines up with ye old lizard brain. Basically they train to turn you off like a light because you aren't going to harm anyone when you autonomic system is flatlined. Otherwise awesome video.

  20. How much of this is more due to the fact for the last 150k years we were hunters and that our very survival was making sure the spear hits the antelope. We are programmed to have elation when projectiles hit their mark. It’s a reward Center otherwise we didn’t eat. You can see it from ball games, to call of duty! How many games in the Olympic are still weapon based, or at the very least a projectile hitting a target, Hoop, or goal ? Most of them with the exception of swimming and track and field.

  21. Someone shot in the heart will be just as dead as someone shot in the brain, their self will be equally eliminated from this world as their body decays into dust and their soul vanishes into memory. The only difference is whether or not the shooter respected them enough to allow them an open casket funeral. God forbid you disrespect someone as you kill them.

  22. I was a ranger from 2013-2018 and I can confirm that we trained for headshots – and not just for hostage situations. Body shots to get the shooter off balance and off target, headshot to flick his light switch.

  23. Ever since I was a kid I wanted to become a cop, but as an adult who never pursued that dream I'm glad I didn't because it is such a sensitive subject anymore.

  24. 23:30 It's a shame you let your politics get into this video. It was well-done up until this point, even if only marginally ignorant (as is clarified in the comments). It's like enjoying an almost-pleasant, if bumpy, train ride for 20 minutes when suddenly it goes off the rails.

  25. the hunting animals thing usually has more to do with typical game animals having pretty small brains and not so much "messing up a trophy", you don't want to wound a deer knocking its jaw off and having it go starve to death in the woods, you want to hit it through the lungs/heart because its a much more sure shot

  26. “Guns are pretty bad at doing anything non-lethal.”

    86% of people shot with handguns (the most common type of firearm used in the commission of a crime) survive. The impact to the body given by a common 9mm bullet is the equivalent of dropping a 10lb. weight less than three quarters of an inch. Despite the spectacle of noise and flash, most guns actually do less damage than a large knife.

    An MD’s presentation on wound ballistics: https://youtu.be/wXwPtP-KDNk

    Video games and media may be responsible for most of the public’s perception on firearms, but as such they also responsible for the many of the misconceptions about firearms.

  27. Haha, I always play a sniper if I can, since I hate melee combat. I get more exited about shooting someones arm of or bugging the physics and making them fly 10 meters up in the air, rather than a headshot, which has somewhat lost it's luster. xD

  28. A very good video, but when it comes to the real life application of, well, shooting people in the head, this video falters a bit. I am a huge military and firearms enthusiast, so I'd like to share some of my knowledge in an effort to clear up misconceptions.

    The error here is mostly in regards to soldiers and police being trained to shoot at the body, rather than the head. Now, technically that statement is correct: police and military are indeed generally trained to shoot at the body rather than the head. But the reason for this isn't as 'nice' as you might think. These same people are trained to end threats as quickly as possible and to continue shooting a hostile individual until the threat is 'neutralized'; i.e. they are either dead or are too severely wounded to be able to retaliate (yes, even police are trained this way; the possibility of a dead suspect is considered preferable to the possibility of multiple dead police and/or bystanders). The reason they are taught to aim for the torso or 'center of mass' is simply because it is the biggest target and is therefore the easiest to hit.

    Contrary to popular belief, the overwhelming majority of military and law enforcement are not particularly skilled or knowledgeable in the use of their weapons at all, and are in fact typically handily outclassed by civilian enthusiasts. Now, there are of course exceptions to this, such as specialized groups that are expected to operate in extremely high-risk environments, and soldiers who are actively fighting in warzones will usually figure out the dos and don'ts of combat on their own through simple experience, but these individuals are the exception rather than the rule. It simply isn't economically feasible to give soldiers and police a high standard of combat training when only a very small percentage of them will ever have an opportunity to use it, since that training is exceptionally expensive. As a result, the level of marksmanship expected of the average soldier or police officer is, while adequate for the job they are expected to perform, not exactly very high. Because of this, the reason they are trained to shoot for the torso rather than the head is because hitting the body of a target individual a few times is going to do a hell of a lot more to end that threat than missing nearly every shot trying to nail them in the head, and, as mentioned in the video, a bullet not going where you want it to means a bullet that could potentially hit something that you don't want it to. And while police and military are trained to be mindful of a target's 'backdrop', or basically just what exactly is behind them, it's still preferential to not have stray bullets flying around in the first place, and sometimes in the real world you're going to have to take a shot right then and there and aren't going to have the luxury of maneuvering to another position or waiting until the target doesn't have innocent people wandering around on the other side of them or what have you.

    It's important to remember that whenever you are dealing with jobs and situations where it may be necessary to employ force to potentially end the lives of others, the reality of things is very rarely pretty or clear cut. People are often going to have to make split-second decisions with ramifications that can permanently alter lives, and oftentimes the action that ends a dangerous situation quickly and efficiently isn't the one with an outcome where everyone lives happily ever after.

  29. 4:34 Rosemary Kennedy was actually lobotomized because of her promiscuity. (Note that she was mentally challenged even before the lobotomy though).

  30. For the very most part, I agree with everything of your research, except for the police brutality. I do believe you generalize the fact that we've been bred to see African Americans as lesser. Now, I may be taking your words wrong, if so, please correct me.

  31. My drama teacher in high school told me one time that he didn't mind violence or foul language only if it was necessary to tell the story accurately and artistically. Being able to separate the art from real life is normal and something that menatally disturbed and violent people cannot do.

  32. Van Lem Nyugen was a murderer and a coward. Did he deserve to get executed on the street without a trial? No, but he deserves no sympathy either. Portraying a VC combatant as a "suspected guerilla" and presumably innocent victim is insulting to the people of South Vietnam who watched their city fall. American citizens love to talk about "humane treatment" and morals when they see violence in the news, yet their high standard of living and comfortable existence is built on the suffering and exploitation of impoverished people all around the world.

  33. 6:49 PSA EVERYONE LISTEN UP
    They proved that the man on the right was in the vietcong and had committed numorus murders against south Vietnamese soldiers, American soldiers, as well as civilians.

    "bUt yOu cAnT KiLl aN uNaRmEd cOmBaTaNt". Yes you can. He did the smart AND the right thing.

  34. More black people need to not do stupid things in interaction with cops. Then they won't get shot.

    And anyway, there exists strong evidence that racial bias in shooting is vastly overblown.

    Not too sorry for Michael Brown.

  35. dude there are bullets that can blend your insides just by hitting you in the arm why bother aiming when you can do that

    well they are banned but i bet the military still has them stored, ready and waiting

  36. You realize people are still dangerous after multiple shots irl, right? That’s why cops shoot so many times, it’s in their training.

  37. This video showed up on my recommended after I watched a video about some crazy cult. And while thats sorta spooky, this video is pretty good.

  38. I'm not trying to get on a soap box here, but you should look into the Michael Brown shooting again. The story that hit the news initially had almost completely been found to be untrue. Or at the very least, heavily exaggerated. The facts of the case made the officers actions very much justified, and that "downward angle" headshot was found to be unintentional. Brown was falling down when that round hit hook, causing the downward angle, because the shot came from the same direction, but Mr Brown's orientation changed.

    I'm not saying there isn't a potential police violence issue, just that Brown isn't a great example of it.

  39. I find the constant rampage of black on black gun violence much more prominent than a single case of a criminal black adult getting shot down because he charged at an armed officer with the officer's gun drawn.
    But phrase it as cold-blooded murder because cops bad, while ignoring children getting shot in their own homes by drive-by shooters, in the same town, during the same "protests"

  40. You said that there is no conclusive evidence that links video game violence to violence in real life. You then go on to vaguely say that this isn't good enough for you. I suspect that the "right question" to you is the one which does link video game violence with real violence because you have already made your mind up.

    This whole video was a massive, over romanticized stretch to seemingly condemn video game violence and blame it for the police shootings of black people in the US. As if all the shootings of black people that happened to be reported by the media were pretty much the same, they have all been shown to be separate events with multiple complex factors that make things anything but black and white. And if you think the police shooting black people is the biggest issue, look up statistics on how black people are killed by police versus how many people are killed by black people.

    You even made the claim that twitch reflexes are subject to implicit bias. Bullshit. Implicit bias hasn't been proved to be a real thing, it's an invention of liberal identity politics to further increase the sphere of victimhood. Please cite some scientific information which makes a connection between implicit bias and twitch shooting.

    By the way, mechropolitics isn't a word know to the dictionary. It seems to be made up by the author of the paper, I have no idea what it means or why it was created.

  41. 17:15– How about in a mercy killing? I'd rather not rip open their heart with a bullet to let them suffer for a bit as their organs fail.

  42. This is an amazing video. Recently I've had the same thoughts about virtual violence. I feel like the most common attitude with gamers is that violent games don't make people want to commit violence, and that there's really no questions or issues beyond that. But what about attitudes about violence? What about making a civil society more martial in political ideology?

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