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#1
Old 04-17-2010, 02:20 AM
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How does choking someone to death work in the real world

Whenever people are strangled on the TV box it is usually about 10 seconds of pressure, and then they die.

However I think it takes 5 minutes of 100% compression of the carotid artery in order to kill someone. Not only that, but partial blockage probably wouldn't do anything. There are people walking around whose carotid arteries are 50-99% blocked due to plaque. So it seems moderate compression would not really do anything, probably not even result in a loss of consciousness if there are people whose carotids are 99% blocked but who are still conscious and don't have brain damage.

So how does this even happen in the real world since I've read news stories of people being strangled to death? It seems you'd need 100% compression for a minimum of 5 minutes. Anything short of that would just give brain damage at worst.

Last edited by Wesley Clark; 04-17-2010 at 02:21 AM.
#2
Old 04-17-2010, 03:12 AM
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Death can come quicker than expected. There's been some accidental killings where a couple experimented with Erotic asphyxiation. Supposedly the guy or girl would orgasm. One miscalculation and the person dies. Hard to imagine why a young couple would try this. Apparently it only takes a few second miscalculation to kill your sex partner.

The preppie killer claimed his gf died accidentally during a sex game. This killing probably was deliberate. But, over the years, I've see numerous reports about accidental deaths during Erotic asphyxiation games.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_...s_%28killer%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choking_game

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotic_asphyxiation

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-17-2010 at 03:16 AM.
#3
Old 04-17-2010, 03:31 AM
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I have engaged in erotic asphyxiation. We've never had any close calls or anything but let me tell you, it's dangerous stuff. I think it varies from person to person but I don't think it's as hard as you might think it is.
#4
Old 04-17-2010, 05:01 AM
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I'm relieved that "need answer fast" doesn't appear in the OP.
#5
Old 04-17-2010, 05:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrangeBird View Post
I'm relieved that "need answer fast" doesn't appear in the OP.
I laughed.
#6
Old 04-17-2010, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
However I think it takes 5 minutes of 100% compression of the carotid artery in order to kill someone.
Hell no. If you cut off oxygen for as little as a minute you can precipitate heart failure. Certainly if the body is deprived of oxygen for 2 minutes or more you're probably looking at heart failure. The 5 minute mark is the time needed to kill with near-absolute certainty, so that the victim can not be revived. People pulled out of the water after 2 minutes or more will usually need their heart re-started. In the typical movie scenario nobody is going to discover the victim and perform CPR within the next 5 minutes, so for all intents and purposes the victim is gonna be dead.


Quote:
Not only that, but partial blockage probably wouldn't do anything. There are people walking around whose carotid arteries are 50-99% blocked due to plaque. So it seems moderate compression would not really do anything, probably not even result in a loss of consciousness if there are people whose carotids are 99% blocked but who are still conscious and don't have brain damage.
It doesn't work like that though.

Firstly the body can learn to cope with all sorts of things, such as removing 3/4 of the liver. However that doesn't mean that I can remove 3/5/ of your liver right now and you're gonna be just fine. The same applies to these blockages. Someone might be able to cope with a slow progression to 99% blockage and survive, but a sudden compression of that degree is still gonna be fatal.

The second problem is that unconsciousness is caused mostly by compression of the carotid sinuses, not the carotid artery. That upsets the brain' pressure control mechanisms, and leads to a near-instantaneous loss of consciousness. Even if there is no blockage of the carotid vessels at all, moderate compression of the neck can still cause unconsciousness.

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So how does this even happen in the real world since I've read news stories of people being strangled to death? It seems you'd need 100% compression for a minimum of 5 minutes. Anything short of that would just give brain damage at worst.
Nope, there are at least two mechanisms that will work far faster.

The lack of oxygen to the heart can cause heart failure quite rapidly. At that stage the victim may not be dead, but if there is nobody around to get the heart restarted they are going to die. So if Jack Bauer strangles somebody for 2 minutes and their heart stops, and he then walks away, they may not be dead then and there, but they will be stone dead within the next five minute, even though he never strangled them for that long.

Alternatively the trachea itself can be crushed by a strong enough blow or sufficient compression. In that event it probably won't open out again. The victim is then going to choke and die. That may take some time, possibly an hour or more. But once again, Jack only needs to choke them for a few seconds and then walk away. If he's very lucky and/or very skillful he can crush the trachea instantly with a forearm choke.

I suspect that part of your confusion stems from confusing two different but related events. The standard choke holds are designed to compress the carotid sinuses and render somebody unconscious very rapidly. If enough pressure continues to be applied to the neck the trachea will be compressed or blocked by the epiglottis. At that stage the heart itself is deprived of oxygen, and after a few minutes it will fail. If the pressure is increased rapidly and the technique is correct then the trachea itself will be crushed. In either of the two latter cases the choke can then stop and the victim will still die of their injuries if they don't receive treatment.

The TV 10 second fatal choke is implausible, but it's not actually impossible.
#7
Old 04-17-2010, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blake View Post
Alternatively the trachea itself can be crushed by a strong enough blow or sufficient compression. In that event it probably won't open out again. The victim is then going to choke and die. That may take some time, possibly an hour or more. But once again, Jack only needs to choke them for a few seconds and then walk away. If he's very lucky and/or very skillful he can crush the trachea instantly with a forearm choke.
Or with a bag of grapes.
#8
Old 04-17-2010, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AClockworkMelon View Post
I have engaged in erotic asphyxiation. We've never had any close calls or anything but let me tell you, it's dangerous stuff.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that part of the attraction?
#9
Old 04-17-2010, 02:03 PM
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The Murder of Luca Brazi (Godfather)

I always remember that scene-eys bulging out, gasping...what a horrible death?
Plus, having an ice pick through your hand!
Was this a favorite Mafia method of whacking somebody?
#10
Old 04-17-2010, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by KneadToKnow View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that part of the attraction?
For her, sure.

Last edited by AClockworkMelon; 04-17-2010 at 07:02 PM.
#11
Old 04-18-2010, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
I always remember that scene-eyes bulging out, gasping...what a horrible death?
Strangulation nearly always causes loss of control of the anal sphincter, thus involuntary releasing of body waste.

That is mentioned in the Godfather book, though they left it out in the movie. Just like most movies or TV shows, or even in most books -- a bit too realistic to mention.
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