Maine gunman's brain had suffered "profound damage" consistent with his eight years as a grenade instructor

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Are you telling me that they don’t use grenades with less explosives packed inside for training? Or at least the vast majority of training?


It may not matter. A tackle is a whole lot less than a grenade and still causes problems.


I dunno, a tackle means the brain rapidly decelerating on the inside of your skull (which can cause a concussion), and I think the biggest issue is not the trauma, but repetitive trauma that doesn’t allow the brain to heal (heading a soccer ball for example)


I would have to see data to say this with any certainty, but I could see the shock wave from a grenade explosion impacting the skull being not too different from the shock of a head impacting the turf. CTE is a result of both severity and frequency of such shocks. Less frequent, more intense shocks can be just as damaging. Gonna bet that no one has investigated the severity of impact shock from training with grenades on the brains of the soldiers in question, but maybe it’s out there?

There is this, from UVA:

Generally, if not specifically, applicable to this case.


Years ago somewhere I saw some reporting on research suggesting that brain damage from explosive shock waves can’t be completely eliminated even by the best possible helmets, because the shock wave travels through your whole gooey wet body and fluids are very effective at conducting such shock waves. So pressure spikes can travel up your neck and get to the brain that way.


Helmets are very limited in their ability to moderate brain trauma. The padding in there can slow the deceleration somewhat, but only somewhat. The NFL experience certainly demonstrates that, with all the high-tech analysis and R&D decreasing the incidence slightly, but only slightly. No clue how to generalize that to explosive shockwaves, however. The physics would be very different.


For all training and qualification we use a reusable hollow grenade body with a blasting cap. It explodes like a large fire cracker, leaving the grenade body intact.

However training and qualification culminates with throwing two live grenades. Those pack a wallop. They’re not like what you see on TV where people get up and dust themselves off. The instructor is behind a clear blast barrier because he or she has to see where the grenade landed to give the score. Even behind the barrier you feel it in your chest. You also have the scenarios where the trainee barely gets the grenade over the berm, or drops it in the pit (requiring a hasty response). See the Pauly Shore movie for a somewhat accurate depiction (for 1992) of grenade training.

So for a light-infantry company of 130 soldiers, there will be at least 260 live grenades used if everyone is qualifying.


I am a little surprised that one person was exposed to enough grenades blasts in training for it to cause long term damage. Looks like the army needs to re-evaluate either how they handle that training with how close or protected they are from the blasts, and/or limit how many grenades blasts they can be exposed to over their career. Though, I mean, you can’t really get the grenade that much further out than they already do, and I’ve seen videos where recruits fuck it up and throw it short and the instructors have to pull them into a pit for safety. :confused: I guess all the small concussion blasts just add up over time.

Side note, I went clay and target shooting with some guys from my dad’s church, and one old boy was an armorer during Korea. He said in one of the training sessions a recruit pulled the pin but then froze and wouldn’t throw it. It took the DI about an hour to talk him into throwing it. Yikes.


I know a guy who has been drilling and blasting in rock quarries for a long time, 20 years or more, and he now has all kinds of problems with his back and body joints. Shock waves are no joke.

Pin by 禰王 on ef | Shock wave, Explosion, Amazing gifs


I remember on Mythbusters they had those little units they would place around a blast and if it damaged it, it would mean the blast alone was enough to kill someone.

That one where they blew up a cement truck full of cement was still one of those awe inspiring blasts.


So fucking sad. They broke him then did nothing to stop him from hurting a shit load of other people. Worse they’re enacting laws to ensure this happens again? JUST WTAF?


The U.S. Senate recently approved a bill allowing veterans deemed ‘mentally incompetent’ to access guns.



Having shot an assault rifle while trying to maintain a proper view through the sight, I would not be surprised to learn repeated range practice over years doesn’t cause CTE. That study will NEVER happen.


Amazingly enough, setting off explosives next to your head is probably not good for you. But you are correct, in tis environment, anyone trying to do such a study would be targeted instantly for violent harassment.


As I’ve always understood it the helmet will help slow the impact to your skull but it can’t really help the impact happening inside your skull.


any reason they don’t use cameras? or is it a holdover of “this is how we’ve always done things, so this is how we do things” maybe?


One part of this tragedy really stands out as a particularly strong argument for gun control. We’re talking about a brain-damaged guy with murderous intent who was highly trained and experienced in the use of explosive weapons and he still chose to use a commercially available semi-automatic rifle to carry out his killing spree.

Almost as if those kinds of firearms are uniquely well suited as tools of mass slaughter.


Other countries have militaries, you know. It may never happen in the US, but I can see it being investigated here in the Nordics, for example.


Not without significant updates and changes to range operations. Many ranges are quite spartan Usually they dont even have flushing toilets and the only electrical capabilities are some floodlights and a mandatory radio for communicating with range control (or a landline telephone is used).

For the grenade range there are a number of pits, each with a safety for the pit. The range also has a NCOIC and range safety who are not just watching for accurate performance, but also watching for safety issues and can call a halt at any time. This is hard to do using cameras.