Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Went over the videos we will be using for the seminar with Kevin today. He hadn't seen them before and I didn't really realize it.

The videos themselves are the best examples I could find of the different types of assault. One shows a "Monkey Dance" two men posturing and it comes to blows. One shows a "Group Monkey Dance" where a crowd turns on an outsider who tried to stop a fight. Two of the videos show predatory assaults. One I chose as a great example of the difference in adrenaline responses to attack between men and women. It also shows how easy it is to miss critical detail in the midst of fast action. Another shows a random GMD, again, where what is happening is not clear until after it happens. The last shows a little of what fear can do to your mind.

Two in particular stand out. They have a visceral impact on the people who view them.

The predator video, when I showed it the first time to a room full of officers evoked horror and disgust. I still don't see why. It is horrible- but it is also nothing special. It is a crackhead mugging a fifteen year old girl for her purse. It is brutal, but nothing special. It is simply a predator getting what he wants in the safest and most efficient way. I still don't understand why this bothers officers, especially corrections officers, so much: these are the people that surround them every day. True, we don't see the victims, usually. But we know how the predators attack and we know that when and if one decides to take us out it will follow this pattern- fast and brutal, close range and from surprise.

Watching Kevin, it affected him also, it made him angry. But I know the video is missing the sounds and the smells. I wonder if some of the common freezing reaction to violence might be based on some primitive sense of smell. Why else do people who watch TV speak so confidently of what they would do if and when...and so often freeze like rabbits in the moment? Smell. Sure.

The last video is from the dashboard camera of Deputy Kyle Dinkheller as he is murdered. (Thanks and a plug for http://www.lineofduty.com/ for giving me permission to use this video in my classes). It is chilling in a way that a masterful suspense movie is chilling. There is no gore in the grainy film... but you know what is going on and feel the reality of it.

As a lesson, the key is the 'adrenaline loop' as Deputy Dinkheller begins doing the same thing over and over again when it is clearly not working and will inevitably lead to his death. In the safety of the classroom it is so easy to see what must be done, to look into the future, to make the appropriate and justified decision. And that's the big lesson here- because even if your forebrain knows what to do the hindbrain might be in charge. The hindbrain may only know two things 1)Death is in the air and 2)What you are doing right now hasn't killed you yet.

Given those two facts, the hindbrain is reluctant to change until perhaps, it is too late.

This should be a very interesting class.


Kai Jones said...

I want to see the videos.

Anonymous said...

Rory are these videos in the public domain somewhere? Youtube for example?


Rory said...

I'm not sure that all of youtube is in the public domain, but the example videos were gathered from sources like that. The other is proprietary and can be ordered from lineofduty.com

They may only sell to LEOs, though. I usually keep them with me when I'm training. Hopefully you'll have an opportunity to see them.

Kai- You've seen them now. Did it work for the class?

Kai Jones said...

I thought they were effective, yes. I think a format of stopping after each one for discussion would work better--but we had trouble with pause and fast forward on that machine.

Basically I think more Rory and less of those other gentlemen would be more effective.

Anonymous said...

Hello Rory,

I’ve just finished reading your book “Facing Violence” (it’s great!). I had a question when reading the chapter 5.3.3. non-cognitive mental freeze:

How to distinguish the “voice” of the hindbrain and the “voice” of intuition?

E.g. Someone is hiding from a Threat:

1. The hindbrain says “What you are doing has not gotten you killed and any change might (e.g. keep hiding)” This may result in Threat leaving the area.
2. The intuition says “No, no, the death is in the air, he's going to find you, run away now!” This may result in being spotted and possibly cought or shot. Hence Game Over…

How do we really know which voice is which?

Kind regards,

Rory said...

Boii-Intellectually, it's an easy question. Lizard/human/monkey is a model. Conscious/subconscious is a different model. Intuition is easiest to understand using the conscious/subconscious model. There is a part of your mind that picks up and correlates much more information than your conscious mind and does it faster. Occasionally, it sends the conscious mind a hint that it has noticed something.
Freezing is easiest to understand from the lizard brain model.
"He's coming this way, I don't know how I know but I know" is intuition. (Never forget, intuition can be wrong, just like anything else.)
When someone is pointing a gun at you and your brain says to continue to freeze because if you move you might make it worse, that's the lizard going off of ancient scripts.