Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Always Hurt the Ones You Love

Does this smell funny to you?

Alright authors, get out your pens and pencils, start your wordprocessors, and warm up for some real wisdom that occurred to me yesterday while watching an episode of “The Mentalist”: any blunt force trauma sufficient enough to cause unconsciousness should produce more than just a brutal headache when the victim awakes.

Hollywood loves to show good guys knocking out bad guys by giving them a loving tap on the head with a blackjack, the butt of a rifle, or a random lead pipe handy for the occasion.  This is almost always a means of showing how good the good guys are being good guys because they’re using less-than-lethal force to subdue the black hats.  See good guys don’t kill if they don’t have to, no matter how high the stakes.  Usually, the bad guy in question is a low-level goon while on guard, caught complete OFF GUARD, and subjected to nothing worse than a hangover level temple-thumper a few hours after their Big Bad Boss has been defeated.

A blow to the head is not the brain’s nap button.  You smash a pistol butt, the pommel of a sword, or a Jack Daniels bottle into someone’s noggin’ and not only is it lights out, you may have to buy them a gravestone.  Any blow sufficient enough to induce unconsciousness is a sure sign of concussion.  A concussion can result in more potential danger than being surrounded by bad guys while tied to a
Your services will no longer be necessary.
chair as the Big Bad lays out his/her evil scheme.  Brain damage, and death are far more likely to occur if a single or series of blows results in a blackout state.

As my beta reading doctor friend (yeah, I have a doctor who beta reads for me, I’m that good) told me:

If the person regained consciousness had no deficits [vomiting, lethargy, headache, confusion, etc.], then the prognosis is good.  There can be later complications, over the next month, mind you, and you can absolutely die from traumatic brain injury related swelling, or a delayed bleed or a missed fracture or something.

Apparently, there is also an increased risk of Alzheimer’s or other fun problems later in life.  Here’s a wonderful article with some great stats from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.  It might have been kinder, and more realistic, to slit the guy’s throat or garrote the goon to death.  Besides, do you really want to leave an armed goon guard, now embarrassed and angry that he/she was taken out so easily, and with the ability to, I don’t know, sound the alarm, call the Big Bad Boss, or sneak up behind you and give you a taste of your own medicine—a bullet in the back of the skull?

Hey girl!  Don't bash my head in.
Well, ok.  It’s your story, so the economy of vision, not to mention economy of characters, has to be maintained.  So you may find yourself with the need to transition a good guy to a horror-level operating table where the Big Bad can gloat over how superior he is, and how feeble the good guy’s attempts to him thwart have been.  But if bludgeoning with a bludgeon is out, what to do?  You might have a goon employ a choke hold, cutting off blood flow to the brain to induce unconsciousness.  This still has some potential complications since you are, well, cutting off blood to the brain.  It also tends to wear off sooner than blunt force trauma.  But, it’s not nearly as debilitating or dangerous as tapping Ryan Gosling on the back of the head with a ballpeen hammer.  Heck, even thumping him a few times in his well-chiseled abs, then pulling a hood over his head would have the same effect, while not putting him in the market for an eternal dirt nap.

Of course, you might hurt your fist on those abs.

No comments:

Post a Comment