How much strength dose it take to cut a throat? Can an old lady do it?
I’ll be honest. When I got this question in my inbox, I thought to myself, ‘how should I know’? And then I thought ‘how do I find out’? Questions like this, which seem to be so specific that the knowledge would really only help the questioner sometimes turn into real gems. In this case, my second-thought led me to a wonderful resource that I feel compelled to share with all of you who read this modest little effort of mine.
It took me three tries and strong Google-fu to find anything even close to what I was looking for, but of all the research I’ve done over the many years I’ve been doing this, both formally here and informally at Forward Motion and NaNoWriMo forums, this excites me more than any of the rest of it.
The resource I’ve found details, with step-by-step illustrations, nine methods for silently taking out a sentry by stealth, several of which would allow even someone with minimal physical strength to effectively kill a much stronger individual, both quickly and silently.
Again, just for the sake of my conscience, PLEASE, PLEASE, do not try this at home (or anywhere else but your fiction-verse). Don’t even try it in demo mode with a willing partner and a blunt instrument. You can do SERIOUS damage to the structures of the neck and even cause death just from some of the initial steps prior to the actual cutting of the throat.
From what I know about physiology, these techniques look like they would be pretty effective, some more quiet and requiring less physical strength than others. For the sake of brevity, I’ll focus on the first (illustration below). The idea here is to stun the sentry or victim using a blow to the neck/shoulder junction with the handle of the knife, then pull that person back against the attacker’s body and let the weight of the victim slide down toward the floor. The weight of the victim would provide all the force required to actually cut the neck.
One of the first things you get taught in nursing school is if a patient is falling, slide them down your own body. It’s possible to control the “fall” of a much larger/heavier person without injuring yourself if you use this technique. Using this technique while allowing the victim’s weight to pull the knife through the tough, fibrous structures of the neck would allow even a very under-powered person to kill any opponent whose neck they could reach.
I could see this information applying to my own fiction and I can certainly see a wide-spread appeal for this type of information among the folks with stomachs strong enough to read this blog. Great question!
*****This blog is written for fiction writers, for the purpose of writing fiction. Information herein is not intended for use by real people, pets, trees, or imaginary friends. Arizela is not responsible for information used for purposes other than those expressly intended*****
I'm a NICU nurse and lactation counselor, currently on hiatus to pursue a PhD in nursing which focuses on the development of health across the lifespan. I write books, articles, and blogs in between my duties as mom, wife, and student. I own a tool belt, and I'm not afraid to use it.
Brilliant article! Thank you. This will be very helpful in my next novel.
Thank you very much for researching this. I am so happy that the old lady can realistically be the murderer. I would have been committing murder myself if I had to rewrite that part!
This is such an outstanding resource.
This is an amazing resource, as is your blog in general! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us!
Ah. FM 21-150. I'm not surprised, since it's one of the most useful FMs for the civilian population in general, from people who want to know the best way to whack thieves with their garden shovels to married couples who take their "wrestling" rather more literally than most….