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Messages - LtMedTB

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Martial Arts Topics / Re: Survey on bare knuckle punching
« on: October 24, 2008, 06:58:16 AM »
Interesting survey.  I'm surprised that the elbow wasn't included as a breaking target.  I broke my first bone (knuckle) on an elbow during an early fist fight in the seventh grade.  A lot of martial arts spar with no hand protection, and I think a major source of hand and foot injuries is the tip of your opponent's elbow.

Agreed! The worst hand injury I ever had was sustained during sparring. It was an uppercut straight into an elbow.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues
« on: August 17, 2008, 06:43:28 PM »
I think it's entirely reasonable to UA people in "safety sensitive" positions. An impaired person shows up for work at a fast food joint, maybe you get the wrong order at the drive thru. A railroad employee goes to work impaired and as a result a chlorine tanker breaches in the midst of a densely populated urban area at o'dark 30 in the A.M. and you know better than I how nightmarish that would be.

My jurisdiction borders a rail line and I see all sorts of interesting placards on the tank cars passing by at all hours. My PPE consists of a dark blue polyester uniform and reminds me of the old hazmat joke:

"How do firefighters know there is a hazmat spill?"

"All the dead cops laying around"

You guys do make great canaries! LOL! :)

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues
« on: August 17, 2008, 05:54:58 PM »
I can think of at least 343 reasons that a firefighter would want the NSA to employ their capabilities to intercept and analyze communications in al qaeda infested areas.

Even if it's the best legislation ever drafted (I can't help but think of the movie The Departed), I find euphemisms insulting.

Consider the dissenting opinion by Justices Marshall and Brennan in Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives (1989) -- the U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld random drug testing of public employees in "safety sensitive" positions in the absence of any evidence of wrong doing:

"The issue in this case is not whether declaring a war on illegal drugs is good public policy. The importance of ridding our society of such drugs is, by now, apparent to all. Rather, the issue here is whether the Government's deployment in that war of a particularly Draconian weapon — the compulsory collection and chemical testing of railroad workers' blood and urine — comports with the Fourth Amendment. Precisely because the need for action against the drug scourge is manifest, the need for vigilance against unconstitutional excess is great. History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure. The World War II relocation-camp cases, Hirabayashi v. United States, 320 U.S. 81 (1943); Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944), and the Red scare and McCarthy-era internal subversion cases, Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919); Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951), are only the most extreme reminders that when we allow fundamental freedoms to be sacrificed in the name of real or perceived exigency, we invariably come to regret it."


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues
« on: August 17, 2008, 04:29:29 PM »
Lt MedTB:
The "Founding Fathers" seemed to have an appreciation of the weaknesses inherent in systems of power, building in the separation of powers and a system of checks and balances.
All words are open to interpretation, so it seems that it is the constant responsibility of any citizenry to stay engaged in this process of critical thinking; observing, evaluating, voting, dissenting - whatever is necessary.
Fear is a tried and true tactic to erode this independent thinking process, and I think it is worth stepping back and evaluating any large policy changes based on fear to see if they are rational or not, and to see if they are worth the cost.
e.g. "The bad people are a out there and a threat to you and your family. Unless we get the power to "X", we cannot guarantee your safety". True? Not true?

So, are there threats to the US, or is it just fearmongering?

This is where I see both sides of it. There are certainly real threats to US security. No question about that. I also think hindsight is 20/20. I can't get on board with the idea that the Bush Administration misled the American people into a "war for oil" by fabricating evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Whether it was right or wrong to invade Iraq a second time, I believe the President meant well, and believed Saddam was a real threat. On the other hand, I despise Orwellian euphemisms like the "Patriot Act".


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues
« on: August 17, 2008, 04:23:08 PM »

You are active duty .mil, right?

Nope. Civilian Fire Lieutenant / Paramedic.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues
« on: August 17, 2008, 11:12:53 AM »
I think we can all agree the frog metaphor has been beaten, or maybe boiled to death. :evil:

All I know about the NSA is what is open source information. To the best of my knowledge, the NSA has an army of mathematicians and linguists only, aside from their "NSA police" and other support personnel. It's all about SigInt collection and analysis OCONUS. To my knowledge, they do not have any direct action capabilities.

I'm unsure why the NSA's existence would be objected to.

It's a privacy concern, GM. I'm not comfortable with the idea that the government may be monitoring my web surfing activities, phone calls, faxes, and banking transactions. Further, I shouldn't have to explain why that bothers me. It should be understood that the default position is that the people are left alone by the government. This subtle shifting of the burden to the people to explain why they object is exactly what concerns me. I don't care how many divisions the NSA has. I agree with Crafty Dog that it's not relevant to the question. All that matters is who is privy to the information the NSA develops and what they might do with it, either now or in the future. I don't like being watched. That's why I don't hang out in casinos.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues
« on: August 16, 2008, 10:58:36 AM »
For example?

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues
« on: August 16, 2008, 10:03:16 AM »
The short answer is, a constitution, a bill of rights, a separation of powers so that the people who pass the laws aren't the people enforcing the laws, an independent court system, and an educated citizenry. Liberty depends upon power for its maintenance, because there is no liberty within anarchy, but when government becomes too powerful, there is no liberty. So like pharmacology, there is a therapeutic dose of government that is optimal toward the end of human freedom. It's hard to say the exact moment a drug becomes toxic to the human body. You look for side effects and you sample lab values. You don't wait until the patient is critically ill to attempt a resuscitation, because the odds are against you.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues
« on: August 16, 2008, 08:06:54 AM »
I won't speak for Crafty Dog, but my point is that liberties are lost slowly and by degrees. There's no way our freedoms could be taken away all at once. Walter E. Williams uses the analogy of throwing a frog into boiling water. The frog will leap out immediately. But if you put the frog into lukewarm water and turn up the heat slowly you can kill the frog. Now that I think about it, this analogy also appears in Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth, but Walter E. Williams beat him to it! :) One of the original understandings of liberty was to define liberty in the negative sense, in other words "freedom from" as opposed to "freedom for". Basically this meant "freedom from interference" as long as you did not infringe on the equal right of others. Simply put, this is the "freedom to be left alone" by the government.

What I see happening, and what many others see happening, is that slowly but surely, we are changing from a people with a government to a government with a people. It doesn't happen all at once, but when faced with the prospect of our phone calls being monitored, video cameras on every street corner, facial recognition software, the monitoring of banking transactions, taxes on every level, the digitalization of health care records, national ID cards, dogs sniffing our cars, and police watching our houses with thermal imaging cameras (often under the guise of the "war" on terrorism or the "war" on drugs), you can understand how a libertarian-minded person would be a bit concerned.

It's not just that the government oversteps its boundaries on occasion. It's the appalling herd-like mentality of democratic mass man, who seems all too ready to exchange fundamental freedoms for "safety" in the face of perceived exigencies. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that no one is watching. You can claim that it's easy to make noble-sounding statements about liberty when you lack a sophisticated view of the totality of circumstances, but you don't have to be a simpleton to be concerned about fundamental civil liberties. There have been many inspiring dissenting opinions rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court over the years that demonstrate the concerns are not limited to a tiny minority of ring-wing psychopaths.

I personally am most concerned about the fact that it's stigmatizing to openly discuss your fear of government power, as if you're a nut job huddled in a corner watching out for black helicopters. A review of American pre-Revolutionary literature shows that our forefathers were much more cognizant of the fact that liberty and the power of government exist in separate spheres, and that the former is the necessary victim of the latter, because the government has a rational desire to extend the scope of its own power. Unfortunately, it cannot do so without taking power away from the people. In the end it boils down to that most insidious of statements. "If you're innocent you have nothing to worry about." That may be. For now. This line of reasoning assumes that the U.S. is indestructible, and that a tyrant could never be in charge of this powerful and invasive state apparatus.

The only thing that has prevented the government from taking away our freedom is the genius of our forefathers in drafting the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the U.S. Supreme Court. There have been some erosions of our liberties, but there have been some inspiring victories, too. The biggest threat comes from the apathy and ignorance of the people.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues
« on: August 15, 2008, 09:40:54 PM »
As it stands, the US doesn't have the infrastructure for a police state. A rough estimate is that there are about 800,000 law enforcement officers nationwide. The vast majority of those are uniformed officers engaged in general law enforcement duties, and employed by small towns with less than 10 officers.

We don't have a "national police force". The US is the only nation in the world (to my knowledge) that has elected law enforcement officials. The vast majority of officers work at the local level under the direction of locally elected officials that shape the policy and character of the agencies.

Of those officers tasked to investigations, the vast majority work crimes with direct impact on their communities. Most work under immense caseloads trying to "clear" cases with very limited resources. I am not aware of any law enforcement agencies with too many officers and not enough crime.

And the NSA?

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Law Enforcement issues
« on: August 15, 2008, 02:18:47 PM »
As usual, GM is logical.

Where I still am left with doubt is that the reasonableness of the existing standard was developed in the context AND LIMITATIONS of the then existant technology.  As technological capabilities evolve ever more rapidly, are we headed towards a situation where everyone can be monitored all the time?

**The technology already exists to theoretically monitor everyone to a degree all the time. China tries. The US is nowhere near that.**

How do you know?

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Blade Wounds by a Surgeon
« on: August 02, 2008, 08:10:55 PM »
After re-examining the original post in this thread, I don't find much to quarrel with. Sharp knives are better than dull knives, longer knives are better than shorter knives, and it's better to inflict several wounds than a single wound if your intent is to incapacitate or kill. As to whether you're better of stabbing or slashing, you have to compare apples to apples. If a dull knife isn't going to lacerate the great vessels as easily with a stabbing motion, then it isn't going to lacerate the liver, spleen, kidney, or intestines as easily with a slashing motion.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Blade Wounds by a Surgeon
« on: August 02, 2008, 11:39:51 AM »
Apparently if the wound is deeper than it is wide, it's a stab wound. If it's wider than it is deep, it's a slash. Suddenly the differences seem trivial. Let's just keep practicing and make sure we don't get caught with either! :)


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Blade Wounds by a Surgeon
« on: August 02, 2008, 11:18:17 AM »
Hi, Maxx.

Anything is possible, and there are a million variables that could alter the equation, but you have to ask yourself, what is the more likely scenario? With a stab, the force is directed inward toward the core, while with a slash the force cuts across the body at an oblique angle. You don't want either, but if I had to choose between a single slash wound or a single stab wound to the body (front, flank, or back) from a street thug, I'd take a single slash wound. A nasty slash to the abdomen could certainly cause an evisceration, but I personally would rather have some of my guts protruding through the abdominal wall than risk damage to the aorta, heart, lungs, spleen, liver, kidney, etc. Could an abdominal slash cut all the way through to a major organ? I suppose, but it seems to me that's a lot of tissue to slash through. If someone is that talented (and strong) with a knife, somehow I don't think you're going to live through the attack, whether slashed, stabbed, or both. The neck, arms, legs, and groin are a little different because some major arteries run close to the surface, so you can cause major damage with a slash if you know what you're doing. Still, you can put a knee into someone's inguinal area to stop the bleeding to the femoral artery (at least there's a chance you can) unlike a stab wound to the liver, spleen, or lung where most of the bleeding is internal. Even the heel of a hand to one side of the neck might control bleeding to a lacerated carotid, but regardless you're in big trouble with a serious knife wound to the neck. Still, I'm going to do some research to see if I can bring some peer reviewed literature to this discussion. I'll let you know if I find anything interesting.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions
« on: July 31, 2008, 08:54:14 AM »
Very enlightening, thank you, GM.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions
« on: July 30, 2008, 09:47:24 PM »
Just because you demand a supervisor doesn't mean one will respond or honor your wishes.

Hi, GM.

Thanks for the comments.

I would suggest that one ask respectfully rather than make demands. Most of these types of encounters (around here anyway) are videotaped, including audio. If you're having a respectful discussion about the disposition of your property pursuant to your arrest, you're savvy enough to understand issues related to search and inventory of the vehicle, and you're offering to indemnify the department with regard to the vehicle's contents, it's probably not a bad idea for the arresting officer to bump it up to his sergeant or lieutenant. Either way, it's evidence for a jury that you asked to see a supervisor, that you specifically asked that the vehicle not be inventoried, and that the "inventory" may not have been necessary from the standpoint of protecting the department from liability. I would think it would be a good idea to secure a search warrant before opening up the truck under such circumstances, or at least get a judges opinion on the matter. Anyway, I respect LEOs and the work they do. I just don't like gimmicks designed to circumvent constitutionally protected rights.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions
« on: July 30, 2008, 08:20:48 PM »
If your car is a traffic hazard, waiver or not it's getting inventoried/towed. Pre-printed waiver or not, what happens to the car of an arrestee will be determinded by dept. policy. Also search incident to arrest applies.

I should clarify that the "inventory" includes the trunk space, which as far as I know, is not covered under search incident to arrest. I agree that in all likelihood department policy will determine what happens to the car. However, I also know that you can't write a policy for everything, which is why there is a chain of command. You could ask for the arresting officer's supervisor to be present at the scene and make it clear that you don't want the vehicle inventoried. Granted, they might impound and "inventory" the vehicle anyway, but under what pretext? Would any evidence found be admissible in court?


Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST
« on: July 30, 2008, 07:29:10 PM »
Have you guys ever watched Felony Fights? I think they're educational.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Virtues of the Dog
« on: July 30, 2008, 07:03:04 PM »
This is a really interesting thread, thanks LtMed!

I wan't to point out that dogs are territorial, but it isn't out of a sense of pride. It is a survival tool. They group together because they are stronger. They work as a team and expend less to achieve the same result. Patriotism is a totally different animal. It is a sense of pride, and it gets very tied up in the ego. Dangerously so if you let it, and history has shown what clever people can do when they play on a societies sense of patriotism. Like most things it can be taken to extremes. This is the bad side of patriotism. Patriotism will justify genocide, and torture. It leads to "the ends justify the means" mentality, and it is the "means" that define us, not the "ends." I am not a religious man, but there is a phrase that I have found to be very wise: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Intentions don't mean anything. It is actions that define us.

It has positives. It ties us together, and helps us set universal rules which we try and live by. It defines us as a whole. It is tied into a set of ideals... life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness. Problems arise when we can't live by those ideals in our own territory, and we start pushing them on others at the same time.

Are we justified in using violence to defend ourselves? I believe so. But the issue is rarely that simple when it involves people instead of canines. People have motivations and values that dogs don't.

Anytime, Jonobos! Thanks for the comments.

What is pride? One definition is a sense of self respect and personal worth. The English Wikipedia adds the refusal to be humiliated as well as the joy in the accomplishments of oneself, a person, a group, a nation, or a an object that one identifies with. Sociobiology always seeks to reduce humans to animals, but rarely do they examine how animals are like humans. If dogs group together for a survival benefit, then so do human beings. Patriotism may be tied into the ego (I'm not saying the human mind isn't more complex than the dog) but how do you know it doesn't confer a survival benefit? In Plato's Republic, the ruler is a philosopher-king, the wisest of the wise. The guardian-warriors are like dogs. All history has shown is that men want to belong to something larger and greater than themselves. Is it dangerous? It's certainly potent. Look to any military unit to see the importance of "esprit de corps". The fact that genocide (a complex phenomenon that includes racial dehumanization) exists and has been carried out by zealots of whatever variety does not take away from the importance of belongingness and the importance and power of the love of one's own. Our actions define us, but so do our motivations. If the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions, then so is the pathway to heaven.

Politics will never be solved in a final matter, and America will always be a work in progress. It will have peaks and valleys. Maybe the West is in decline. I'm not sure. But I do think we live according to our ideals. I don't necessarily think America needs to be involved in foreign entanglements, but I do think it's fine and desirable that America be principled in its beliefs about human dignity and freedom. Mistakes were made during the Cold War, but we saw the collapse of the Iron Curtain. As for torture, what it means, and whether or not the "ends justify the means", it's a classic dilemma, and I see both sides of it. I think most of us can agree that if a bad person had our family locked in an air-tight room and was refusing to give up the location, we'd use whatever means. The love of one's own overrides the abstract rights of the enemy. All I'd like to know is, what happened to the good old days when what the CIA did was a secret?


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Virtues of the Dog
« on: July 30, 2008, 07:39:28 AM »
Woof LtMedTB:

As soon as I read lucid passages I became confused by what followed , , ,  :oops:  Would you be so kind as to summarize what you think this piece says?


I'll do my best.

Professor Mansfield says that "thumos" or "spiritedness" is about "the good" and "one's own". The problem is that modern social science can't pronounce on what is "good" because to do so require a so-called "value judgment" which is, from the standpoint of social science, both unscientific and undesirable. After all, what one culture considers "good" another culture may consider "bad". To a social scientist, there is no "good" or "bad" and certainly no evil -- only cultural and historical conditioning. It's all relative to a social scientist. Unfortunately, America's great claims to truth -- life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness based on natural right -- emerges as quaint to modern social science. Certainly not something to be taken seriously. After all, if there was such a thing as natural right, then nature would be the standard for what was "good" and we would be free to make so-called "value judgments" because natural right is the opposite of relativism. It would mean that Americans could claim to have legitimate insight into what is good for man and society and the world. Such thinking is dangerous as far as a modern social scientist is concerned. It leads to dangerous wars that attempt to impose your viewpoint on other cultures whose opinions are just as valid as yours. So what happens when a country no longer believes in its founding principles? What happens when, far from being heroes, the framers of your country are believed to be a group of self-interested aristrocrats who exterminated the native population and subjugated others for personal gain? Is it any wonder that patriotism is seen as an old fashioned concept? What is patriotism but a belief in your country? A firm conviction that your country is good? What is patriotism but a love of one's own? When a spirited man (a man with thumos -- a courageous man) sees a threat to what is "his" -- his possessions, his family, his tribe, or his country -- he bristles like a dog. He is struck with the primal instinct to defend what is his -- using violence as necessary. But this is no longer encouraged in our neutered society. Sprited men are dangerous. All violence is frowned upon. It's hard to justify violence when you can't justify why you're right and someone else is wrong. Our local high school has a zero tolerance policy for fighting -- or any other type of violence. No questions asked. You are suspended if you fight. What does this teach children? That's it's better to be a victim than to take a moral stand for what is right. In essence -- it is the opposite of walking as a warrior. To fight requires that you become angry about an injustice. If you become angry in modern society you will be referred for counseling. Anger is maladaptive. You don't get angry because of injustice (what is justice anyway?). You get angry because you have problems. You get angry because you are an angry person. You need to learn to cooperate. Do not take this as an unqualified call to anger and violence -- it is not. I have great respect for Buddhism and the Dalai Lama in particular. But his non-violence is principled. It is based on a well reasoned idea of what is good as opposed to a lazy dogmatic belief that it's impossible to know what is good. I started this thread because I love how Socrates identifies the good guardian (of the good city) with a good dog. The dog has an innate instinct that it belongs to a pack, and that the pack is good, and deserving of its unqualified loyatly and protection. It's enough for the dog to know you're not from the pack. You may convince the dog that you're its friend, but the dog is not paralyzed with indecision about which pack it belongs to. The dog is loving. It is meek to those it knows. But the dog is also a warrior. When the dog bristles and growls it asserts its own importance and the importance of what belongs to him. The dog has thumos.

Isn't that why we love dogs?


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Blade Wounds by a Surgeon
« on: July 29, 2008, 03:42:31 PM »
Woof Tom,

I appreciate your input and don't recall seeing you on the site before.  If I didn't say it already, Welcome and Thank you for your contribution to the discussion here. 


The primary use of touriquets, from my experience in Iraq, was due to the Platnum 6 minutes.  The Marines and Baby Docs are taught that when in doubt, apply a "Proper" touriquet and get the wounded warrior to the next higher level of care ASAP. 

Med Evacs are typically very fast, the pilots and crew are doing nothing short of an amazing job over there!

In addition, if a team/Plt gets pinned down or is unable to get to the next level of care fast, they are taught various other methods to keep the wounded alive as long as possible.  They are NOT allowed to remove a touriquet once it has been applied, BUT they can loosen it a little as needed periodically to allow circulation to the limb.  They are also taught how to apply a good pressure bandage and cover dressings.  Never to remove a dressing/bandage if soaked through, but how to add another bandage/dressing on top of the soaked bandage(s).   

Direct pressure is always first. 

*Our Med Evacs were so quick that sometimes we didnt even get enough time to do a detailed patient assesment before the bird landed. 

No "Stay n Play", Just the "Load n Go" option. 

I used more IV's to wash out eyes and for dehydration Pnts than for SI's. 

There's no better sound in the World, than a Med Evac Helo or Air support comming in when you need it. 

It is certainly a TEAM effort out there. 

Thanks Tom and again everyone else for your contribution to this subject. 

Dog Dean

Thanks for the warm welcome Dog Dean! Awesome photo. Thank you for your service to our country, and especially to our wounded warriors.

Love the tape on the carabiner! :)


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Virtues of the Dog
« on: July 29, 2008, 03:15:01 PM »
Part 2

Politics is not an exchange between the bargaining positions of a buyer and a seller in which self-interest is clear and the result is either a sale or not, and without fuss. Self-interest, when paramount, cools you off and calms you down; thumos pumps you up. That we get angry if we feel cheated, or that we succumb to the charm of salesmanship, shows that self-interest does not explain even commercial transactions. More than a small measure of ego enters into the behavior of those who pride themselves on calculation. In politics there is bargaining, as in commerce, but with a much greater degree of self-importance. People go into politics to pick a fight, not to avoid one. Self-interest tends towards peace, and if it could replace the thumos in our souls it would accomplish universal peace. Meanwhile, however, people want to stand for something, which means opposing those who stand for something else. In the course of opposing they will often resort to insults and name-calling, which are normal in politics though never in your interest. The demand for more civility in politics today should be directed toward improving the quality of our insults, seeking civility in wit rather than blandness.

The notion of thumos tells us further that politics is about protection, not primarily about gain. The reason you assert in your defense protects you and people like you that are included in the argument you advance. In an assertive, political argument you assume that you are perfectly OK. You are not apologizing for your self or your soul. The problem lies in things outside you, accidents that have happened or might happen, or the faults of others besides yourself. You therefore want to be protected in your self-satisfaction. If being protected requires gain, so be it. Even the most ambitious and vicious imperialists of our time wanted to conquer the world for the sake of protecting the Aryan race and the proletariat. When on the contrary you are ashamed, you believe that the fault lies in yourself, and your assertiveness falters, even turns against yourself. Consider the reaction of the democracies in Germany and Japan after World War II, or of the American sensitive male in response to the women’s movement.

Thumos, like politics, is about one’s own and the good. It is not just one or the other, as if one might suppose that politics is simply acting on behalf of what is one’s own—realism—or simply advancing the good—idealism. It is about both together and in tension. One’s own is never enough on its own; it needs a reason to justify it. But the reason generalizes one’s own to what is similar to one’s own and thus puts one’s own in a class with others; reason socializes and politicizes. But if you are in a class you are part of a whole; your own is part of the good, the common good. Your realism turns into your idealism. Even the most self-centered libertarian wants everyone to be a libertarian; for the world would be a better place if only everyone were perfectly selfish. Yet the good too is not as independent as it seems to be. If the good is to become actual, it must be established in a society. This requires a political effort to win a contest against an opposing notion of the good in the status quo. In politics you never start from nothing, but always in the face of the good you find inadequate. To defeat this dominant good, you have to espouse the good that you see and make it your own. At that point your motives are no longer pure, and your idealism is tainted with realism. To become accepted, the impersonal good needs to gather support, and in the process it becomes someone’s partisan good and loses its impersonality.

The simplified notion of self-interest used by our political and social science cannot tolerate the tension between one’s own and the good, for that tension leaves human behavior unpredictable. One cannot penetrate into every individual’s private thoughts, and there is no clear way to judge among different conceptions of the good. So in order to overcome the tension, science tries to combine one’s own and the good in such a way as to preserve neither. It generalizes one’s own as the interest of an average or, better to say, predictable individual who lives his life quantifiably so as to make its study easier for the social scientist. And for the same purpose it vulgarizes the good by eliminating the high and the mighty in our souls (not to mention the low and vicious), transforming our aspiration to nobility and truth into personal preferences of whose value science is incognizant, to which it is indifferent.

Our human thumos reminds us that we are animals with bodies that we must defend. But when we defend ourselves using reason, we are also reminded that we have bodies that are open to our souls, and souls that are open to the whole of things. Precisely the part of our soul most concerned with the body is the vehicle for rising above it. When we are impelled to give a reason for our anger, we say in effect that what we are defending is not just our bodies; and when we risk our lives for that reason—now become what we call a cause—we imply that we are not to be identified with our bodies. Rather, we are the cause toward which we strive. Our bodies have become bodiless. To borrow from President Clinton in a way he might not like, the meaning of is is to be bodiless.

The biology of Plato and Aristotle, unlike modern biology, takes account of the soul, the sense of human importance. Modern biology saves lives, but the old biology understands them better. The notion of thumos reminds us of our animality because it is visible to the naked eye when we observe animals. Modern biology uses the microscope and uncovers chemical and neurological counterparts to thumos, which actually distract us from analysis of the behavior they are meant to explain. We rest satisfied when we have pronounced the word testosterone and fail to observe as carefully as old-fashioned naked-eye science. Sociobiology has come up with the concept of turf, an unnoticed reference to thumos that we all use today to designate the marking out of one’s own. But in human beings, one’s turf is one’s family, one’s party, one’s country, one’s principle.

Sociobiology reduces the human to the animal instead of observing how the animal becomes human. Thumos shows that we are self-important animals. Having eliminated the soul, modern science cannot understand the body in its most important aspect, which is its capacity for self-importance. Modern biology, particularly the theory of evolution, is based on the overriding concern for survival in all life. This is surely wrong in regard to human life. If you cannot look around you and must insist on indulging a taste for the primitive, you have only to visit the ruins of an ancient people and ponder how much of its GNP was devoted to religion, to its sense of the meaning of human life rather than mere survival.

Coming to religion, we arrive in the realm of what is particular and individual. Science and religion are nowhere more opposed than in regard to human importance. Religion declares for the importance of humans and seeks to specify what it is. According to Christianity, men are not God, but God came to men as a man, and man was made in the image of God, the only such among the creatures of the world. A Christian is humble, but he takes pride in his humility. Although one can speak of religion generally as I am doing, religion is always a particular religion; a sociological view of its function misstates that function by making religion too general. That is why I just mentioned Christianity.

Every religion has a distinct view of a personal God or gods that take special care of men, keeping us on track and serving as particular guarantors of human importance. Philosophers in the eighteenth century, skeptical of religion but willing to acknowledge its power, came up with deism, the idea of God without God, caring for the universe without caring for you. True religion shows its concern for the human species by addressing individual human beings. Strange to say, the study of religion and of human biology could learn from each other. Religion can be seen in the very animality of the human body, in the nature of brutish thumos, always defending one’s own but always reaching beyond oneself in willingness to sacrifice oneself. In defending like a dog for its master, thumos defends something higher than itself. When the lower in us defends the higher in us, it exacts a price. The price is partiality to whatever is our own, a human imperfection we can never quite escape. The advantage, however, is that we can respect the importance of the human species through the defense each of us displays for himself. Self-defense in thumos is a guarantee of the bond between what is lower in us and what is higher, between the all-too-human and the divine. The bond is mutual, and it ensures that the higher is connected to the lower, as God is not the universal goal of humanity without also being the salvation for each individual and each people.

Science for its part speaks against the special importance of any object of science, including human beings, and in the theory of evolution it seeks to erode the difference between human beings and other animals. The study of primates aims at this goal with particular relish. Hardly a day passes without a breathless science article in the press delivering to our waiting ears a fresh resemblance of chimp to man. But the discovery of chimpanzee religion has not yet been reported. Chimps receive names from human beings with equanimity, but do not give themselves names. These are items yet to come in the imputed progress of chimpanzee civilization. Their greatest triumph, however, will be the achievement of science. For science, according to science, ought to be the most important attribute of human beings. Modern science especially seems to represent the control of our environment, of nature. To be sure, science as opposed to religion recognizes nothing sacred either outside man or within him. But collectively, science is the assertion of man over non-man, surely an unembarrassed claim to importance and rule. Yet as individuals, scientists are anonymous factors in the scientific enterprise, each one substitutable for another. For all science cares, scientists could as well be numbered as named. We in the humanities will summon up the generosity to give them names.

Every human being has his own name, distinguishing him from all other human beings (except for the many Joneses and Kims). This is a fact by which we indicate that each of us is important as each. We are not necessarily equally important, but our importance is judged as we are individuals. Individuals do belong to groups or classes; still, they too have names, such as Red Sox nation or Phi Beta Kappa, indicating their individuality. If we want to understand human behavior, especially the particular insistence on human individuality that we see in the quality of thumos, we must come to terms with human names. We must not merely regard them as embarrassments to be abstracted from, suppressed, and forgotten, as standing for idiosyncrasies that distract us from the main point, which is the laws determining what we do, the generalities we resort to when we cannot establish laws.

Having considered the importance of human importance, and how it makes us individuals, we may now compare science and literature. Let me propose that literature and science have the same aim of finding and telling the truth, but, obviously, literature also seeks to entertain. Although some of the greatest works of science are well-written, science finds its elegance in mathematics and not in the charm of a good story well told. The social sciences are in a special difficulty because they cover the same field of human behavior as literature. As science, they must claim to improve upon the prejudice and superstition of common sense, and are therefore compelled to restate the language of common sense, full of implication and innuendo, in irreproachable, blameless, scientific prose innocent of bias or any other subtlety. In response, the name common sense gives to this sort of talk is jargon. Science is required to be replicable in principle to everyone; so it speaks directly and without concealment, thus in mathematics as much as possible. In practice, unfortunately, lack of mathematics in the public and lack of communication skills (an example of jargon) in scientists leaves the latter dependent on non-scientist publicists to inform the public and, not incidentally politicians, of what science has found. These publicists usually have an axe to grind, and so science, despite its noble intent to rise above petty human partisanship, often becomes involved in it.

Literature, to repeat, besides seeking truth, also seeks to entertain—and why is this? The reason is not so much that some people have a base talent for telling stories and can’t keep quiet. The reason, fundamentally, is that literature knows something that science does not: the human resistance to hearing the truth. Science does not inform scientists of this basic fact, and most of them are too consistent in devotion to science to learn it from any source outside science such as common sense. The wisdom of literature arises mainly from its attention to this point. To overcome the resistance to truth, literature makes use of fictions that are images of truth. To understand the fictions requires interpretation, an operation that literature welcomes and science hates for the same reason: that interpreters disagree. Literature is open to different degrees of understanding from a child’s to a philosopher’s, and yet somehow has something for everyone, whereas science achieves universality by speaking without rhetoric in a monotone, and succeeds in addressing only the company of scientists. Science is unable to reach the major part of humanity except by providing us with its obvious benefits. Literature takes on the big questions of human life that science ignores—what to do about a boring husband, for example. Science studies the very small and the very large, surely material for drama but not exploited by science because in its view the measure of small and large is merely human. Literature offers evidence for its insights from the observations of writers, above all from the judgment of great writers. These insights are replicable to readers according to their competence without the guarantee of scientific method that what one scientist sends is the same as what another receives. While science aims at agreement among scientists, in literature as in philosophy the greatest names disagree with one another.

“The greatest names”: here is my last topic. Human greatness is the height of human importance, where the best that humans can do is tested, and it is the work of great individuals. The great Tocqueville—and I refuse to give a lecture on politics without mentioning his name—alluded to himself and his favorite readers as “the true friends of liberty and human greatness.” Somehow liberty and human greatness go together, a hint that nature cares only for the human species and leaves its greatness to be revealed by free human action, by our assertiveness prompted by thumos. To be great one must become great, requiring an effort of ambition. Not everyone has that ambition; most of us are content with modest careers in safe niches, like tenured professors. But we all feel ambition in our small ways, and, moreover, we know something of great ambition when admiring it. Now it may be hard to believe, but I must tell you that the political science of our day almost entirely ignores ambition. It is, for example, anxious over the problem of how to recover our spirit of civil engagement, but it looks mostly at what moves most people to vote, which it calls by the vague term “participation.” The trouble is that ambition smacks of greatness; it is not average enough to be the object of a science that knows nothing of individuality, hence nothing of greatness. Even the word “great” is unscientific because it is pretentious. But we human beings are animals with pretensions.

My profession needs to open its eyes and admit to its curriculum the help of literature and history. It should be unafraid to risk considering what is ignored by science and may lack the approval of science. The humanities too, whose professors often suffer from a faint heart, need to recover their faith in what is individual and their courage to defend it. Thumos is not merely theoretical. To learn of it will improve your life as well as your thinking. It is up to you to improve your life by behaving as if it were important, but let me provide a summary of the things that you will know better after reflecting on the nature of thumos: the contrast between anger and gain; the insistence on victory; the function of protectiveness; the stubbornness of partisanship; the role of assertiveness; the ever-presence of one’s own; the task of religion; the result of individuality; the ambition of greatness. Altogether thumos is one basis for a human science aware of the body but not bound to it, a science with soul and taught by poetry well interpreted.

At the end someone might object: Have I left out love? The answer is yes, I have. For tonight. Love is a further complication."

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Virtues of the Dog
« on: July 29, 2008, 02:29:33 PM »
My apologies for not posting this in the "Wolves, Dogs and other canines" thread, although the subject is also thumos -- the Greek word for spiritedness, that Socrates identifies with the dog.

It also reminds me of Harvey C. Mansfield (the William R. Kenan Jr. professor of Government at Harvard University) and his 2007 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. You may recall that professor Mansfield started a firestorm over his 2006 book Manliness which strongly draws on the lost idea of thumos. To say the least, certain feminists and other liberal minded people hate the book and all it stands for.

Here are some excerpts from the Jefferson Lecture. I'm not posting it here because I want people to agree with Mansfield's conservative views (although I freely admit to admiring his outspokenness at Harvard). Rather, I'm posting it because -- what is Dog Brothers Martial Arts and the Gathering of the Pack if not a reclaiming of man's lost thumos?


Part 1

"You may think I have some nerve coming from a university to Washington to tell you how to understand politics. Well, I mean how to understand, not how to practice. In any event the understanding I propose comes from practice, not really from a university, and it has something to do with nerve—which is not often found at universities. Still less is it understood.
A person with “nerve” thinks himself more important than he is. But how do we back up the reproof: How important is he, how important are we? This is the central question in politics. Politics is about who deserves to be more important: which leader from which party with which ideas. Politics assumes that the contest for importance is important; in a grander sense it assumes that human beings are important.

Political science today avoids this question. It is inspired by the famous title of a book by Harold D. Lasswell, published in 1935, Politics: Who Gets What, When, How? The focus is on the benefits you get—what, when, and how. It ought to be on the who—on who you think you are and why you are so important as to deserve what you get. Poets (speaking broadly of all literature) and philosophers have the answer or at least address the question; science does not. The ambition of political science to be scientific in the manner of natural science is the reason why it ignores the question of importance. Scientific truth is objective and is no respecter of persons; it regards the concern for importance as a source of bias, the enemy of truth. Individuals in science can claim prizes, nations can take pride in them, but this sort of recognition is outside science, which is in principle and fact a collective, anonymous enterprise. Political science, which by studying politics ought to be sensitive to importance, to the importance of importance, aims to abstract from individual data with names in order to arrive at universal propositions. Survey research is an example.

Yet human beings and their associations always have names; this is how they maintain their individuality. Names mark off the differences between individuals and societies or other groups, and they do so because the differences are important to us. You can think your way to an abstract individual or society without a name, but you cannot be one or live in one. Science is indifferent to proper names, and confines itself to common nouns, but all human life takes place in an atmosphere of proper nouns. “To make a name for yourself,” as we say, is to become important. “To lose your good name,” to suffer a stain on your reputation, is to live thinking less well of yourself, or among others who think less well of you. Does this matter? It appears that human beings like to think they are important. Perhaps they have to think so if they are to live responsibly, for how can you do your duties if they are not ascribed to your name?

Tonight I want to suggest two improvements for today’s understanding of politics arising from the humanities. The first is to recapture the notion of thumos in Plato and Aristotle, referring to a part of the soul that makes us want to insist on our own importance. Thumos is psychology or biology, hence science as conceived by those philosophers, but I say it is proper to the humanities now because, having been expelled from modern science, thumos lingers, unnoticed and unemployed, in the history of science, which is a museum of rejected science. The second improvement is the use of names—proper to literature and foreign to science. Literature tells stories of characters with names, in places with names, in times with dates. While science ignores names or explains them away, literature uses and respects them.

Let us make our way to thumos from an elementary observation. Politics is about what makes you angry, not so much about what you want. Your wants do matter, but mainly because you feel you are entitled to have them satisfied and get angry when they are not. Many times people who seem to us poor do not complain of their wants, because they do not feel entitled to those wants. When you complain, it is not so much that you lack what you want as that you feel slighted or offended in not having what is rightfully yours. In our democracy politics is motivated especially by the sense that you are not being treated equally. The civil rights movement, the women’s movement are obvious recent examples. They were initiated not for the sake of gaining benefits but to receive equal honor and respect. We do not worry so much about the wants of the rich and their desire for inequality. In a democracy that desire is latent and suppressed, though in our kind of democracy, a liberal democracy, we make room for the rich and allow inequality in practice if not in principle. But the rich are not allowed to get angry unless their democratic rights are violated.

You can tell who is in charge of a society by noticing who is allowed to get angry and for what cause, rather than by trying to gauge how much each group gets. Blacks and women wanted benefits only as a sign of equality, not to give themselves greater purchasing power. Power is too vague a term when separated from honor; when we say that people are “empowered,” that means they have the power that goes with honor. Those not empowered are dissed, a word invented by blacks to designate the feeling of being disrespected.

The two honor-seeking movements I mentioned have been generalized in the concept of identity politics, illustrating the tendency of political science to perform abstractions and to avoid proper names. For how can you have a politics of identity or of meaning without using the names that go with identity and meaning? Lyle Lovett has a song “You’re not from Texas” that ends like this: “That’s right you’re not from Texas, but Texas wants you anyway.” Lyle teaches us the central problem of multiculturalism: if it’s so important to come from Texas, how can Texas want you if you’re not? Those of us not from Texas have to live with the shame of it, rather doubtful that Texas wants us anyway. For with honor goes the shame of dishonor.

With honor also goes victory, for although you can lose with honor you must gain it in a contest as opposed to a calculation. Politics is not a fluctuation of gain and loss as in an investment account, or the seeking of power after power, as in a certain modern political science; it is a series of victories and defeats in which every victory for one side is a defeat for the other. True, the series never ends in a final victory. The Left will never finally defeat the Right, nor vice versa—just as war will always return in the next war, and sports always looks forward to next year. Yet along the way politics is punctuated with victories and defeats, many of them ephemeral, some of them decisive if not final. As in war and sports, politics delivers winners and losers, bearing pride and dejection, resentment or shame, not negotiated percentages of power or generalized self-esteem.

Generalized self-esteem or self-satisfaction or power arises from the modern concept of the “self,” which has a history back to the sixteenth century that I will not go into. It is enough to say that the self is a simplification of the notion of soul, created to serve the purposes of the modern sciences of psychology and economics, both of which want you to be happy in a simple, straightforward way they can count. As against simplified modern self-interest I too will simplify—but in a manner that leads away from simplification. In the pre-modern thought of Plato and Aristotle, the soul was inferred from the possibility of voluntary action—what moves you to action—and from the possibility of thought—which makes you stop and think, perhaps think about yourself. This is complication, marking a difference between the contrary requirements of practice and theory. When is it necessary to act, when is it proper to reflect? And when you add to that complication the need to determine what is the good you move towards and think about, science becomes uneasy and looks for a way out.

Why is science uneasy? Science wants to overcome the discrepancy between practice and theory so that theory can go into effect, for example so that the discovery of DNA can be put to use. The need to count, more generally the resort to mathematics, serves the goal of application. Science wants the fruits of science, and it does not tolerate much doubt about the goodness of those fruits. If you have a doubt about the use of DNA, that is your affair; it is not the business of science to question whether all fathers should be found out. Scientists had a bad conscience about making the atom bomb, it’s fair to say, but their doubts were not prompted, still less endorsed by their science.

Now, the way out from complication and doubt is to reduce the good to pleasure, something close to the body, or to utility, something useful to the body, or combining the pleasant and the useful, to power, the energy of the body. The body is considered as a factor all human beings have in common, hence an easy basis for generalization; its tendency to hold us apart, by being individual, is ignored. One’s own identity is as foreign to science as the good, and just as the good is reduced to something palpable, one’s own is raised to something vaguer but shareable.

The bodily self has a simplified object, its self-interest. Acting in your self-interest is not noble but it is excusable, as for example to leave a country where you are paid fifty cents an hour and go to one where you earn ten dollars. Nobody could blame you for being tempted. That is because self-interest, when simple, is universal; I would do the same as you. I would be propelled toward an obvious good, or toward a good I thought obvious. If self-interest is obvious, it is not really your very own; it has been generalized, perhaps artificially. The conflict of self-interests so propelled is what political science today is all about. But not politics.

Thumos, in contrast, is by its nature complicated. It is a part of the soul that connects one’s own to the good. It represents the spirited defense of one’s own characteristic of the animal body, standing for the bristling reaction of an animal in face of a threat or a possible threat. It is first of all a wary reaction rather than eager forward movement, though it may attack if that is the best defense. The reaction often goes too far when the animal risks its life in all-out attack in order to preserve itself. To risk one’s life to save one’s life is the paradox of thumos, the display of an apparent contradiction. One can even condemn one’s life, and say you are sorry and ashamed, for shame is due to thumos. Is shame in your interest? It’s hard to say yes, and just as hard to say no. Apparently you have a self above your self that’s sometimes critical of your self and makes you ashamed. Let’s call that a soul. Soulful people are complicated by virtue of holding themselves at a certain distance from themselves. But aren’t we all like this, more or less?

In thumos we see the animality of man, for men (and especially males) often behave like dogs barking, snakes hissing, birds flapping. But precisely here we also see the humanity of the human animal. A human being not only bristles at a threat but also gets angry, which means reacts for a reason, even for a principle, a cause. Only human beings get angry. When you lose your temper, you look for a reason to justify your conduct; thinking out the reason may take a while, after the moment of feeling wronged is past, but you cannot feel wronged without a reason—good or bad, well considered or taken for granted.

Now consider what happens when you produce that reason. What did Achilles do when his ruler Agamemnon stole his slave-girl? He raised the stakes. He asserted that the trouble was not in this loss alone but in the fact that the wrong sort of man was ruling the Greeks. Heroes, or at least he-men like Achilles, should be in charge rather than lesser beings like Agamemnon who have mainly their lineage to recommend them and who therefore do not give he-men the honors they deserve. Achilles elevated a civil complaint concerning a private wrong to a demand for a change of regime, a revolution in politics. To be sure, not every complaint goes that far. But every complaint goes in that direction, from anger to reason to politics. The reason is not that Achilles is making a point everyone would concede, as with self-interest. Just the contrary. Because the reason he gives opposes the rule of Agamemnon and challenges the status-quo, one expects it to be contested. To complain of an injustice is an implicit claim to rule. It is a demand that the rulers adjust their rule to provide for you, and not merely as a personal favor but as one case of a general principle. Since the rulers already hold their own principles, you might well want to remove them to make way for yours. Politics is about change, or to speak frankly, let us say revolution—large or small, active or latent. It is not about stability or equilibrium, the goal that political science today borrows from the market.

In a contested situation the asserted reason typically has to be made with bombast and boast because one cannot prove it. Certainly one cannot prove it to the satisfaction of one’s opponent or enemy. That is why the atmosphere of politics is laden with reasons that convince one side but not the other. Assertion is a passionate statement with a conclusion to which the asserter is far from indifferent. Socrates said that reasoning means following the course of the argument regardless of where it goes, and of how much it might hurt you: this is the dispassionate spirit of science. But in politics, people make assertions that they try to control; the argument goes where you want it to go. Today this is called spin. Sometimes, of course, the argument turns around and comes back to bite you, as for example when your party gains the presidency after you have loudly attacked the imperial presidency. Here we see the resistance of logic to imperious political assertions. But let us not underestimate human ingenuity in reasoning its way around reason."

Martial Arts Topics / Virtues of the Dog
« on: July 28, 2008, 06:53:05 PM »
I've been called a dog by various women throughout my life. I always considered it a compliment, although I'm pretty sure it wasn't meant to be one. I usually say, "Thank you." After all, is anything more loyal than a dog? My sister told me once she thought my spirit animal was the dog because I'm very protective of all members of my extended family. I think that's why I like this except from Plato's Republic. After watching The Gathering of the Pack on YouTube, I can't think of a better forum in which to share it, especially knowing that some psychologists like Dr. Michael Addis disapprove of male spiritedness.


A conversation between Socrates and Glaucon in The Republic of Plato

“Do you suppose,” I said, “that for guarding, there is any difference between the nature of a noble puppy and that of a well-born young man?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, surely both of them need sharp senses, speed to catch what they perceive, and, finally, strength if they have to fight it out with what they have caught.”

“Yes, indeed,” he said, “both need all these things.”

“To say nothing of courage, if they are to fight well.”

“Of course.”

“Then will horse or dog – or any other animal whatsoever – be willing to be courageous if it is not spirited? Haven’t you noticed how irresistible and unbeatable spirit is, so that its presence makes every soul fearless and invincible in the face of everything?”

“Yes, I have noticed it.”

“As for the body’s characteristics, it’s plain how the guardian must be.”


“And for the soul’s – that he must be spirited.”

“That, too.”

“Glaucon,” I said, “with such natures, how will they not be savage to one another and the rest of the citizens?”

“By Zeus,” he said, “it won’t be easy.”

“Yet, they must be gentle to their own and cruel to enemies. If not, they’ll not wait for others to destroy them, but they’ll do it themselves beforehand.”

“True,” he said.

“What will we do?” I said. “Where will we find a disposition at the same time gentle and great-spirited? Surely a gentle nature is opposed to a spirited one.”

“It looks like it.”

“Yet, if a man lacks either of them, he can’t become a good guardian. But these conditions resemble impossibilities, and so it follows that a good guardian is impossible.”

“I’m afraid so.”

I, too, was at a loss, and looking back over what had gone before, I said, “It is just, my friend, that we are at a loss. For we’ve abandoned the image we proposed.” 

“How do you mean?”

“We didn’t notice that there are, after all, natures such as we thought impossible, possessing these opposites.”

“Where, then?”

“One could see it in other animals too, especially, however, in the one we compared to the guardian. You know, of course, that by nature the disposition of noble dogs is to be as gentle as can be with their familiars and people they know and the opposite with people they don’t know.”

“I do know that.”

“Then,” I said, “it is possible, after all; and what we’re seeking in the guardian isn’t against nature.”

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Blade Wounds by a Surgeon
« on: July 28, 2008, 04:56:59 PM »
So by what he is saying here in this post is that Slashing would be more effective or I am reading it wrong? Because he seems to say that stab wounds might or could make the important stuff bend and fold around the blade.

I found that a little hard to swallow. Granted, a blunt penetrating object might push the aorta instead of lacerating it, but you'd rather be slashed than stabbed. You can control external hemorrhage.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Blade Wounds by a Surgeon
« on: July 28, 2008, 04:52:47 PM »
The doctor has basically validated what Sayoc Kali methodologies have been criticized for... multiple vital targeting and the mapping out of those targets. What "experts" used to call overkill is not exactly what it seems.

I disagree with blunt weapons versus a blade's effectiveness though. There's hundreds of stick fights that I've seen with impact weapons but anyone who has tried to fight knife versus knife or  knife versus empty hand could tell you that the knife is quite lethal if the feeder is knowledgeable, cunning and aggressive.

Also, he's limiting his POV on a single premise - human versus human.


No disrespect to trauma surgeons, but the ones that die never make it to him.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Blade Wounds by a Surgeon
« on: July 28, 2008, 04:50:44 PM »
Great post Tom, thank you for sharing it here.

Folks, Dog Dean is highly qualified in these matters, indeed I consider him to be a subject matter expert for Dog Brothers Martial Arts. 

Concerning this matter of tourniquets, in addition to Dog Dean, my readings and conversations with those on the front lines of the War with Islamic Fascism tell me that a lot of folks are regarding tourniquets as Option A for serious bleeding, but speaking of these matters puts me WAY outside my lane and I leave proper discussion to Dog Dean and others qualified to an opinion in these matters.

Crafty Dog

I can also confirm that the guys coming back from the sandbox are using tourniquets and questioning the orthodoxy of not using them for life threatening bleeds. Granted, there are some differences between a battlefield and a crime or accident scene. I would personally give a brief trial of direct pressure. It should be fairly obvious if it's not working.

Whether martial arts or emergency medicine, you need to ask yourself, "What's my Plan B?"


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions
« on: July 28, 2008, 04:26:24 PM »
A LEO here in SC told me they get around illegal search of a vehicle by impounding the car and performing an "inventory" on it. Apparently state law allows them to perform this inventory so you can't claim something is missing from the vehicle when you get it back. It seems shocking to me this is allowed, but it's been confirmed by other deputies.

I thought it would be interesting to have an attorney write up a "waiver of liability" form that I could carry in my glove compartment. That way, if I'm ever arrested, I can hand it to the deputy, releasing him and the department harmless from any liability associated with not performing an inventory on the vehicle.

I'll bet that would confuse them! :)

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Gamer Samaritan
« on: July 28, 2008, 02:30:36 PM »

I remember when my knee was snapped in 1992 (ACL, PCL, LCL ligaments all snapped in half) in a freak BJJ accident some idiot purple belt wanted to manipulate my knee.  I asked if he was trained.  No he wasn't. :-o What a fcukin' idiot!  :x  It turns out that it was quite fortunate that the peroneal nerve was not severed.  For all I know, I saved it by asserting myself and not allowing this idiot to posture by using my knee.

Very good point.

Obvious severely injured knees are generally splinted in the position found.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine
« on: July 28, 2008, 02:26:53 PM »
Man Saves Own Life, Uses Steak Knife for At-Home Tracheotomy

OMAHA, Neb. — An Omaha man struggling to breath used a steak knife to perform an at-home tracheotomy.

Steve Wilder says he thought he was going to die when he awoke one night last week and couldn't breath.

Wilder says he didn't call 911 because he didn't think help would arrive in time. So, the 55-year-old says, he got a steak knife from the kitchen and made a small hole in his throat, allowing air to gush in.

Wilder suffered from throat cancer and related breathing problems several years ago. About that time, he had an episode where he couldn't breath because his air passages swelled shut. He says that's what happened this time around.

Doctors don't expect Wilder to suffer any adverse affects from the tracheotomy once it's healed.

Now that's a man! :)

Seriously though, this gentleman had almost certainly been trached before.

In other words, he probably cut directly over the scar tissue from the previous trach.


Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine
« on: July 28, 2008, 02:06:12 PM »
Sucking wounds can also sometimes be helped by the plastic wrapper of a cigarette pack or a latex glove. Even a pat down glove or anything you can fit over the sucking wound to stop it from sucking.


Forget the cigarette pack wrapper. If you have a latex glove, put it on and hold it over the sucking chest wound. You'll be a lot more successful.

While we're on the subject, what is a sucking chest wound and why does it need to be covered up?

A sucking chest wound is any penetrating injury (such as a knife wound) that creates a new "path of least resistance" for outside air to enter the thorax during inspiration. The diaphragm contracts, increasing intrathoracic volume (hence decreasing intrathoracic pressure), which makes air enter through the sucking chest wound instead of through the nose and mouth (and bronchial tree and alveoli for gas exchange). In other words, air in and out through the sucking chest wound is not oxygenating red blood cells. It's just taking up space inside the chest and preventing air from going where it's supposed to go (inside the lungs). Since it's possible that air will enter through the sucking chest wound but not exit during exhalation, air can build up inside the chest, which causes severe air hunger and respiratory distress. This air bubble (pneumothorax) can eventually push the heart and great vessels over to the other side of the chest (tension pneumothorax), eventually crimping the superior vena-cava (the main vein returning blood to the heart) leading to a rapid fall in blood pressure and death. Note: this crimping of the superior vena-cava is the reason you will see jugular venous engorgement (an impressive bulging of the veins in the side of the neck). You may also notice asymmetry of the chest. The textbooks say that you will see a tracheal deviation toward the unaffected side, but in real life this usually requires a chest x-ray to appreciate. These are the patients who require needle decompression of the chest if they are to survive, but I would not recommend that you attempt it unless you are prepared to receive criminal charges for practicing medicine without a license.


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