Accidental killer talks about living with guilt

Originally published at: Accidental killer talks about living with guilt | Boing Boing


Despite the prevalence in action movies and TV shows, pretty much everyone knows it’s not OK to kill people. But punching people in the face and knocking them unconscious with a blow to the head are also so frequently depicted with no consequences while most people are never exposed to the reality of those acts. I don’t know when I realized you can’t just bump people on the head if you want to incapacitate them for a little while but it was probably at a much later age than it should have been.


Yeah, cartoons really miseducated generations of kids about that one. Even more recently, someone was pointing out that in the modern Tin Tin movie the hero gets knocked out a couple times without any lasting consequences, and an investigation showed that in the books he lost consciousness due to head trauma 50 times. That can’t be good for his neurological health.

Edit to add:
Marvel hasn’t been much better. Knocking people out with a bop to the head is one of Luke Cage’s favorite moves.


Get knocked out, seek medical attention ASAP.


Without even viewing the video, there is such deep sadness in his face in the screenshot.


he’s launched a campaign to raise awareness that “a single punch can kill”

Absolutely. It happens every year. Which is why you don’t lay hands on people, and defend yourself against such assault.

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Yes, it altered his life for the worse, forever.

I watched it, and it’s powerful. His story shows what the consequences of knee-jerk reactions can be. This man’s testimony, or ones like it, should be required viewing in schools.

As @David_Aubke pointed out, we need to counter the obnoxious messaging constantly hurled at us about how knock-out punches are supposedly no big deal.


I recall a trivia question long ago that had a shockingly high statistic about the number of people who caused the death of someone else at some point.

I don’t remember the actual number but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 out of a 100 or something like that. No idea if this is true or not.


It’s still depicted in TV and movies as no big deal all the time. They even show friends and allies hitting each other over the head with hard, heavy objects as a convenient, non-threatening temporary “pause button.”

I would like to see a policy in place that, if you write a scene in which someone is punched out or hit over the head, you have to roll a d10 to see whether the effected character is simple knocked out, concussed with some permanent neurological damage, concussed with severe neuro damage, put into a coma, or killed. If that wrecks your story, tough shit. You still have to show it.


If you get punched/kicked in the head seek medical attention ASAP.

Someone I knew at secondary school got hit in the head in a fight, then collapsed and died a day later when he was walking home from school. I didn’t know him well, but when I was recovering from bullying he was one of the group of us who would go to see Carlisle United games.


An astounding number of Americans seem eager to arm themselves in the seemingly giddy hope that they one day get to do a “justifiable homicide” (i.e. killing a would-be burglar etc.).

It never seems to occur to such people that taking another human life is the kind of thing that would scar any healthy human psyche forever even in situations where the killing was legal. If you can kill another person without it deeply affecting you for life then you’re probably some kind of sociopath.


Yeah, the whole trope of “just conk them on the head and knock them out” was supposed to be a more sanitary, less violent way of dealing with “bad guys” with out killing them.

But the reality is, if you knock someone out and they don’t regain consciousness a few seconds later, it is very bad. :confused:

Or just knock yourself hard in the head.

I’m pretty sure I gave myself a concussion when I was little falling off my bike - but didn’t tell any adults because I didn’t want to get into trouble. :confused: Obviously it worked out mostly. Mostly.

Had a friend visiting and her kid whacked himself good on the monkey bars and gave himself a concussion. She is a nurse though and knew the protocols.


There’s also the related trope of ‘pistol whipping’ the hero with the butt of a rifle or handgun to incapacitate him temporarily to take him prisoner - only to have him regain consciousness and full health a short time later and escape the clutches of the bad guy.

knock out fight GIF by Archer

or ‘sword whipping’ like in this case…


A simple, brilliant idea.
It wouldn’t take much to implement, would it?
I remember sex-ed classes warning us about pregnancy and it’s ill-effects on us young-uns, but we never had anti-violence classes. We could include all sorts of things about knifes and guns being risky, too.


One of my nephews died in a car accident when he was 7. Not a drunk driver, just someone driving too fast in an unfamiliar neighbourhood, with the sun in their eyes, and missed an intersection, T-boning my brother-in-law’s car. Apparently the driver was so distraught when he found out that he had killed a child, that the police locked their gun holsters because they thought he might attempt to grab a gun and shoot himself.


Having recently watched the entirety of The Fugitive: TOS, it’s amazing Richard Kimble could even walk or talk by the series end. That man got beat up a lot.


I just saw it in another random cop drama. A detective who’s a woman is chasing down a guy who’s actually innocent and running to prove his innocence. She catches him, believes him, but has to arrest him.


A punch to her face knocks her right out, so he can keep running. And we’re supposed to think it’s all good, he did what he had to do, and she just got a black eye and some stitches from it, so no big deal.

Whereas actually, yeah, he could’ve killed her with that, and she should’ve had at least an MRI afterward.

It all seems like another way that we’re still living in such a primitive society.

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Can’t imagine what it must be like killing someone accidentally.

And it’s why I’ve avoided hitting anyone for any reason.

I hit a kid on bike once at about 35 mph. He came out of nowhere. Bounced over the car, he was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Thank God he wasn’t badly hurt. That was 35 years ago and it still freaks me out.

As far as TV and movies making hits in the head seem harmless no one did it better than The A-Team hitting Mr. T with large objects to knock him out to fly.

The first two, a gun butt and an oar.

I don’t know whether ABC iView works outside Australia, but You Can’t Ask That, series 5: “Killed Someone”.


“Knee-jerk” is important here. We should highlight that context and character should always inform the common instinct to “back up” one’s friends.

For me there was a moment of clarity the first time I had to tell a friend that he couldn’t count on me to “have his back”. I had noticed he was lucky his behaviour in bars hadn’t resulted in any serious altercation and I wasn’t about to let my affection for him lead to me getting involved in an incident where he was the asshole.