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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This was sent to me semi- anonymously after the exchange I had with Dean Speir over the Strasbourg tests and his comments in reference to Dr. Martin Fackler as posted under "Stopping Power".
I felt it was infromative and worth sharing.
DD

The following editorial appeared in the Journal of the International Wound
Ballistics Association, Vol. 1, No. 4. The following material is Copyrighted
by the IWBA and is reprinted here by permission of the author.

"The Strasbourg Tests: Another Gunwriter/Bullet Salesman Fraud?"

Martin L. Facker, MD

At the most recent meeting of the FBI's Wound Ballistics Committee (28-30 June
'93) we reviewed a document entitled "The Strasbourg Tests." It had been sent
to the FBI anaymously, and purported to report the results of shots made, into
the lungs of over 600 goats. No indication was given of who designed,
performed or paid for these purported "tests."

The FBI committee, which includes a half dozen of the world's most highly
regarded gunshot-expert forensic patholgists, felt that the organization and
wording of the document betrayed it as a hoax. Why else would experimental
results be circulated anonomously?

Reputable scientists put their names on their work, take responsibility for it
freely discuss it and respond to critical reviews by their colleages. Review
of a work by other recognized scientists is mandatory before any results are
accepted as valid.

Would anybody willing and able to spend the several million dollars to do the
tests described waste their money on an experimental design that destroys any
chance of proving the point they are trying to make? The authors of the
purported tests postulated some mysterious pressure-mediated effect on the
brain that causes "incapacitation." The critical part of any such study would
be the removal of the brain to see if it showed any physical evidence to
account for the postulated effects. In the purported "study," after the
animals were shot in the chest, and the time that they remained standing
recorded they were killed BY SHOOTING THEM IN THE HEAD. This would destroy any
possibility of establishing the mysterious "incapacitation" postulate as fact.

Other incongruities in these purported "tests" include:

1. The goat's chest is long top-to-bottom abnd short side-to-side, behind
the shoulder muscles, might reach the depth of the arota in 3 to 4 inches of
penetration -- the depth at which the maximum temporary cavity occurs with
expanding bullets. Thus, with the shot placement described in the goat, the
maximum temporary cavity could occur in the lung tissue adjacent to the aorta;
and possibly this might cause a momentary increase in intra-aortic pressure.
However, because of the minimal density and substantial elasticitry of lung
tissue, temporary cavitation there is smaller in size than in other body
tissues. Lung tissue acts like a shock absorber and in the purported "tests"
would dampen the already minimal temporary cavity of the handgun bullets as
well as any hopes for purported magical "incapacitation."

2. Even if we presume pressure on the brain from transmitted temporary
cavitation via pressure pulses in the aorta and carotid vessels to be large
enough to cause an effect on the goats, everything we know about cerebral
physiology and pathology suggests that any such effect, if it did occur, would
be IMNMEDIATE. In the purported "Strasbourg tests" none of the goats fell over
or decided to lie down (both were apparently assumed to indicate
"incapacitation," as in the Marshall/Sanow "one-shot stop methodology)
immediately; in most of the purported tests shots the magic took from 5 to 40
seconds to work.

3. The human chest is long side-to-side and short front-to-back. A bullet

penetrating the human from the side (comparable to the purported goat shots)
would have to penetrate several inches deeper to reach the level of the aorrta;
this shot would also have to be made when the arm was up and out of the way.
At this increased penetration depth, the temporary cavity produced by a handgun
bullet is virtually nonexistent. Also, the human rib cage is covered by
muscles: the pectorals, serratus group, latissimus dorsi, trapezius, etc.
Because of the thickness of several of these muscles, it is doubtful that some
of the pre-fragmented bullets rated highly in the goat shots (and also in the
RII) would even reach the inside of the chest cavity in many shots. Because of
these anatomic differences, the mechanism that might allow temporary cavity
generated by a handgun bullet to compress the aorta in the goat would rarely if
ever occur in the human.

4. These tests involving the shooting of live unaesthesized animals would
be prohibited in the USA. Any published paper reporting animal shots must by
law include a statement that the work was done according to guidelines set
forth by the committee on the Guide for Laboratory Animal Resources, National
Academy of Sciences, National Research Council. These guidelines prohibit the
shooting of unanesthetized animals. (France, where Strasbourg is located, has
similar prohibitions).

5. There happens to be a breed of goats called "Fainting Goats." These
unusual animals fall over in a faint when startled. Just about any strange
noise or swift movement will make them drop. More information can be had from
the International Fainting Goat Association, RR1, Box 112, Terril, IA 51364.
One must wonder how the genetic predisposition for this unusal reaction to
fright is spread in the general goat population. Not infrequently, humans who
mistakenly thought they had been shot, collapse immediately: maybe they have
some "fainting goat" genes.

6. According to the "tests," in 115 out of 115 groups, the shot with the
longest "incapacitation time" was one that hit a rib (except for one anomalous
group purportedly shot with a 158 grain 38 Special LRN bullet). The authors
obviously had the preconceived idea that hitting a rib causesd marked
degeneration to a bullet's capacity to do damage (a questionable thesis at
best) and set out to prove it. They fell into the old "too good to be true"
trap. Ninety-fiveout of 115 would have made the point convincingly. One
hundred and fifteen out of 115 is not only overkill, but completely destroys
the credibility of "The Strasbourg Tests." Things just do not occur with that
degree of regulatiry in shots into living animals.

7. The most basic rule of scientific investigation is to consider common
causes before attributing experimental results to some bizarre and heretofore
unexplained phenomenon. Strangely, nothing is mentioned in the "strasbourg
Tests" about how much blood was found in the chest cavities of the various
goats, or in how many cases the aorta or some other large blood vessel was
disrupted.

I expect that we will soon see another leak of anonymous, experimental results
from the purported Strasbourg tests in which an attempt will be made to correct
or explain some of the above mentioned incongruities. Any honest scientist
would have presented the entire data at once. But, of course, that would
remove the flexibility of being able to adjust later leaks as a reply to
criticisms. Producing fraud is always easier than producing science.



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David DiFabio on 2001-06-27 00:13 ]</font>
 

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A very late reply, but I seldom check this forum. I went back over the "Stopping Power" thread to get the background on the exchange that prompted this post, but I saw nothing from Dean Speir. All the quotes below are taken from Dr. Fackler's editorial.
Why else would experimental results be circulated anonomously?
Dr. Fackler answers this himself when he points out that this research protocol does not follow the guidelines set by the committee on the Guide for Laboratory Animal Resources, National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council.
France, where Strasbourg is located, has similar prohibitions.
I never thought the title of the study referred to where the tests were performed. As I recall, the tests were performed on French Alpine goats.
Reputable scientists put their names on their work, take responsibility for it freely discuss it and respond to critical reviews by their colleages. Review of a work by other recognized scientists is mandatory before any results are accepted as valid.
Well, not quite mandatory. For example, Kellerman has not, to my knowledge, released his raw data for review. This hasn't caused NEJM or JAMA to repudiate his findings. I will agree that Kellerman is a poor example to use as comparison. However, since the protocol violates the guidelines discussed above, I doubt that the authors could have gotten recognized scientists to review this study.
The authors of the purported tests postulated some mysterious pressure-mediated effect on the brain that causes "incapacitation." The critical part of any such study would be the removal of the brain to see if it showed any physical evidence to account for the postulated effects.
It is not at all clear that the postulated mechanism would have caused any physical evidence that would have been evident on post-mortem, but it would have been a good idea to look at this. I'm currently on vacation, so I don't have my copy of the original report to reference. Did the pressure-mediated hypothesis precede the performance of the protocol, or did it develop as the results of the protocol were analyzed? If it was an effort to explain the results obtained, then it is unfair to object to the study design. If the hypothesis was developed prior to the performance of the study, then this complaint is valid.
The goat's chest is long top-to-bottom abnd short side-to-side...The human chest is long side-to-side and short front-to-back.
So shooting a goat from the side is not comparable to shooting a man from the side? Might it be comparable to shooting a man from the front? Might that be a more pertinent research question?
Even if we presume pressure on the brain from transmitted temporary cavitation via pressure pulses in the aorta and carotid vessels to be large enough to cause an effect on the goats, everything we know about cerebral physiology and pathology suggests that any such effect, if it did occur, would be IMNMEDIATE.
I would expect the effect to be immediate, but even complete cessation of blood flow to the brain takes some time (15 seconds or so) to have an effect. Since we don't know what is causing this, the mere fact that we expect the effect to be immediate is hardly sufficient to discard the hypothesis, since it doesn't match our expectations. Even if we discard the hypothesis, one is left with the empiric results which can not be argued away, except by claiming the entire study is a hoax.
One must wonder how the genetic predisposition for this unusal reaction to
fright is spread in the general goat population.
A red herring. No evidence is provided to suggest that this occurs. If it does, it should be random throughout the study population, and thus should not contribute to the results of the study, assuming an adequate sample size.
According to the "tests," in 115 out of 115 groups, the shot with the
longest "incapacitation time" was one that hit a rib (except for one anomalous
group purportedly shot with a 158 grain 38 Special LRN bullet).
If there were 115 out of 115, then from where did the anomalous group come? Still, I agree this is suspicious.
The most basic rule of scientific investigation is to consider common causes before attributing experimental results to some bizarre and heretofore
unexplained phenomenon. Strangely, nothing is mentioned in the "strasbourg Tests" about how much blood was found in the chest cavities of the various goats, or in how many cases the aorta or some other large blood vessel was disrupted.
Another valid observation.
I expect that we will soon see another leak of anonymous, experimental results from the purported Strasbourg tests in which an attempt will be made to correct
or explain some of the above mentioned incongruities.
I'm not sure of the date of this editorial, but I am not aware of any subsequent release of data.
Any honest scientist would have presented the entire data at once.
Probably true, see Kellerman above. Dr. Fackler is arguing that the study is fradulent. It is still entirely possible that all the data was released, and that the objections noted above are either the result of less than perfect design and random chance.

TB., NC
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Evan,
I am not sure that I am fully understanding your response.

Do you mean that the tests were disclosed before they were completed?

If so, that would explain quite a bit?
 

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Indeed.
I hadn't heard this explanation before, nor had I thought of it myself, but that would explain a lot.
I don't know that the tests took place. I've looked at the protocol, and it seems reasonable. It is clear to me that someone with some biological science background was involved. The questions Fackler raises about who would spend the money and keep it secret seem disingenuous. Clearly there are organizations that would spend millions of dollars to find out which ammo is best (if the protocol really cost that much) and clearly secrecy was warranted.
I'm inclined to believe the tests did occur, and I'm inclined to believe the empirical results. I'm not sure what they mean, however.

TB., NC
 

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yes, there were also plans to shoot goats that had ingested alcohol and cocaine
(seperate experiments). also ones that were in a state of excitement

_________________
"No intelligent man or woman should ever take a pistol to a gunfight with any degree of enthusiasm."
Evan Marshall

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: evanmarshall on 2001-07-21 13:06 ]</font>
 

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The burden of proof is on the testers to prove it did happen; I haven't seen that.

I haven't seen any proof it didn't happen either, but it's harder to prove a negative.

So, like Evan's data base, it comes down to faith and credibility?

I tend to think Evan has what he says he has, and the tests did take place. If they both have been interpreted properly and mean what some people think they do is a whole different ball game? And what keeps these forums so lively?

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: MichaelOrick on 2001-07-29 15:13 ]</font>
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think that Michael has touched upon the most difficult aspect of "real" street results and authenticating the data.

I have over 3,000 shootings in my "database" now but it is very, very hard to authenticate and correlate all of the info.

I have spoken with Evan and asked for his advice and he has also related that he does extensive research before he will use the info. I tend to believe that Evan would not have included the tests in his book if he could not verify the info.
Although I find little validity in them I believe that they must have occured if Evan used them.

FWIW,
I am struggling with a very similar issue in that a gentleman who gave me some very extensive shooting data has requested that they not be released or disclosed.
This makes it very difficult to verify and authenticate the info.
 

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it is a struggle and few appreciate it until they get bogged down in it:)

I tell people they can do one of three things with my results; they can accept them, they can reject them, or they can be like my wife and ignore them.

I did this to satisfy my own curiosity. If others find it of value that's ok, but I didn't do this to develop a following. currently working on two books that have little to do with ballistics.

_________________
"No intelligent man or woman should ever take a pistol to a gunfight with any degree of enthusiasm."
Evan Marshall

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: evanmarshall on 2001-07-29 19:29 ]</font>
 
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