April 30, 2013
I would say that at least three quarters of the books I've bought for my Kindle are Nero Wolfe mysteries. Don't ask me why; that's just what I've felt like reading recently.
I'm bothered by something that appeared in two of the stories. In both cases, a key event was that someone stabbed and killed someone else, and it was a critical factor in the story that the victim didn't know they were going to be stabbed, the victim died instantly, and the victim didn't make any noise when stabbed.
I don't buy that. Most deep stab wounds in the trunk area will be fatal if untreated, but death can take days, and in the short run the stabbee is likely to scream and writhe about. The only way you can get an instant kill is to nail the heart, which is a small target. Doing that without the victim knowing you're trying to isn't easy.
I guess the answer is, I'm reading these books because I enjoy spending time with Wolfe and Goodwin, not because I'm looking for truth or plausibility.
Another thing that bothers me is the way the police tend to use "Material witness" as a charge that pretty much allow them to lock up anyone, any time, just because the cops say so. I hope that they don't actually do that; it seems like it has dreadful potential for abuse.
There are a few places you can get a quiet kill with a knife, and most of them require an attack from behind. (Slit the throat, or hand over the mouth and stab the kidneys.) In fact, strike the "most", I can't think of any from the front. Even that "stab to the heart" is going to be pretty challenging to make it instant- you have to aim just right between the ribs. And it won't be perfectly silent- see the Return of the King movie for a good example of the kind of grunt that you'll hear. Although it might be quiet enough to be inaudible through a heavy door, I suppose.
Posted by: Boviate at April 30, 2013 06:51 PM (XfqiU)
Then again, we've all heard about "Punching the nose so the bones go into the brain and result in instant death" and clearly that one isn't as easy to pull off as the advocates say either.
Posted by: Mauser at May 01, 2013 12:51 AM (cZPoz)
( there's a martial artist in a forum I frequent, and just saying the word "nose bone" will make him twitch )
Posted by: metaphysician at May 01, 2013 05:02 AM (3GCAl)
On the issue of "stabbing" someone with an instant kill, how strong is the blade supposed to be? If you can sever at the juncture between C1 and C2, that'd drop someone instantly. The accuracy and blade strength would be insane, but it's technically doable.
Posted by: sqa at May 01, 2013 10:32 AM (dvTNf)
In both cases in the books, it was an ordinary kitchen knife.
You can kill someone with one punch by hitting them in the throat, if you crush the larynx, but it's a (relatively) slow death as the person chokes. Suffocation takes several minutes.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 01, 2013 11:48 AM (+rSRq)
Posted by: J Greely at May 01, 2013 11:50 AM (fpXGN)
Posted by: Tom Tjarks at May 01, 2013 02:10 PM (T5fuR)
Posted by: sqa at May 01, 2013 09:51 PM (dvTNf)
Posted by: muon at May 02, 2013 12:23 AM (jFJid)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 02, 2013 04:26 AM (+rSRq)
Posted by: Boviate at May 02, 2013 10:19 AM (f1PGZ)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 02, 2013 10:46 AM (+rSRq)
Posted by: David at May 02, 2013 09:42 PM (vyRm+)
It's the same thing with a chokehold. An "air choke" restricts breathing, but the victim has plenty of time to continue thrashing around and fighting. (How long can you hold your breath?) A proper choke is a "blood choke" to constrict the blood vessels, and the victim becomes unconscious within seconds.
Posted by: Boviate at May 03, 2013 08:00 AM (Nmatd)
I looked into this last year when I was curious about Halal butchering of cattle. (Also Kosher; it's essentially the same thing.)
In a normal slaughterhouse, cattle are herded onto a metal platform, then someone reaches out and touches them in the forehead with a cattle prod, which runs a big electric current through their brain, knocking them cold. Then the platform tilts away and the unconscious animal slides down below, where it is hung by its hind legs and its throat is cut. This is necessary to get the blood out of the carcass, and the animal dies by bleeding to death.
In Halal butchery, there's no cattle prod. The animal is conscious right up to the point where the butcher cuts its throat. Again, it bleeds to death but it feels the knife. Kosher is the same way.
The SPCA categorizes halal/kosher butchery as "humane" because when properly done the animal loses consciousness very rapidly (just a second or two) as a result of loss of blood supply to the brain.
So even if I cared about such things, I would not feel any guilt about buying my meat from the Halal butcher shop out on Canyon. (It's really good meat; that's why I buy there.)
They give me good service, too. It's apparent, I think, that I'm not Muslim but they've never, never, acted in a way that suggested they wished I wasn't there. My money is as good as anyone else's and evidently that's how they feel about it.
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 03, 2013 09:31 AM (+rSRq)
Enclose all spoilers in spoiler tags:
[spoiler]your spoiler here[/spoiler]
Spoilers which are not properly tagged will be ruthlessly deleted on sight.
Also, I hate unsolicited suggestions and advice. (Even when you think you're being funny.)
At Chizumatic, we take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately.
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