Quick recap: There is one thing that kills people. Shock.
And there are three basic ways to cause enough shock to kill someone quickly:
1 – Not enough oxygen (getting to the brain)
2 – Not enough blood (getting to the brain)
3 – The brain can’t get signals to the body
OK, great. Whoopdeedoo in fact. But the deed is the thing. So how do we make that happen?
Not enough oxygen
This boils down to how to stop someone from inhaling. The first option is an obstruction preventing air from getting into the nose/mouth. But as we’re unlikely to walk around with a string plastic bag and duct tape (see: Lucky Number Slevin), and we definitely don’t walk around with a bowl of water for drowning people in
that leaves us with crushing the throat.
Now, having never done this personally, I can’t say for sure how long this takes to kill someone. But I am pretty confident that it won’t be that fast. Even someone breathing really hard, jacked up on drugs/adrenaline, can hold their breathe for at least 10-20 seconds. Someone who’s calm and relaxed (e.g. an experienced home invading rapist/torturer) could take a minute or more.
So cutting off the oxygen supply isn’t hugely fast. But the nice thing is that you can crush a throat with your hands. Again, i haven’t done this myself, but I imagine a good shot with a fist, hammer fist, elbow, or just crushing with a strong pair of hands might suffice.
But that’s sounds risky. Too much of a gamble to rely on. That’s why we have weapons!
Weapons for cutting off oxygen supply
I suppose you could always sever the windpipe with a knife. But I suspect that’d cross over into “not enough blood supply” territory before the lack of air killed him.
That leaves us with anything hard and solid. The grip of a pistol. The pommel of a knife. Maybe an extendable baton. Those would be the traditional weapons of choice.
But what about non-weapons? Maybe the home invaders caught you by surprise, and have taken all your “weapons” away. What then? Well, a hefty flashlight might do the job. Same same for a heavy wrench, a hardcover book and a short length of 2×4.
Crushing the windpipe/suffocating the BG has two benefits over the other ways of inducing quick-acting shock. Number 1: You can probably do it with your bare hands. Number 2: you don’t get blood over everything.
Weapons for cutting off blood supply
Much faster than waiting for someone to suffocate to death is to stop blood from getting to his brain. You can either compress the veins running from his brain to his heart, or you can cut through the blood vessels in the neck (I’m including the subclavian here, even though it’s a bit below the neck).
So how do we stop blood getting to the brain?
There’s the increasingly popular blood choke:
10 seconds to put the guy under is not bad. If you can get behind him and he doesn’t have any weapons to get you with in the meantime. (A minute or two longer to kill him – but articulating why that was necessary when he was already unconscious may or may not be an issue).
Another way to cut off the blood supply to the brain, is to, well, cut it off.
Slicing through enough of the veins and arteries in the neck will prevent blood from reaching the brain, because the BG’s blood ends up on the outside of his body.
Weapons for doing this? I suppose you could shoot him in the neck, but really, the knife is king here.
And non-weapons? Anything that can penetrate muscle. A craft knife/stanley knife/box cutter, a razor blade, screwdrivers, maybe a svelte chisel, the nail-pulling claw of a hammer. Heck, even a can of Coke can be ripped in half to give a decently sharp edge.
All of these are probably a whole lot more can penetrate into the muscle of the neck. And if you do that (repeatedly), you stand a good chance of causing enough blood loss to kill the BG.
Stopping brain signals from reaching the body involves either damaging the spinal cord that carries those signals, or else damaging the brain that generates those signals.
We’re basically talking blunt trauma, or penetrating trauma.
Oh, and the granddaddy of them all – decapitation.
An example of penetrating trauma would be a bullet entering the skull, or else a knife entering the skull. However, I have no idea how hard it might be to stab a knife through a cranium.
Weapons for penetrating trauma would be guns and maybe knives.
Non-weapons would be screwdrivers and maybe hammer claws.
Blunt trauma would be bashing the head hard enough to damage the brain. Weapons for this are pistol grips, and knife pommels.
Non-weapons for blunt trauma would be hammers, metal pipes, brick walls, plain old bricks, and very old laptops (those heavy ones).
Decapitation would definitely kill a BG quickly. But pulling it off? I’d think you’d need a decently large blade for that. A bowie, or a kukri, or a machete/panga.
How tough is it to do? No clue, but the Nepalese make it look easy using cows and an extra large ceremonial kukri. So with a thinner human neck, could you get away with a smaller knife than a giant kukri (say, a bowie or machete)?