Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science

Why the First Cowboy To Draw Always Gets Shot 398

Posted by timothy
from the more-guns-less-crime dept.
cremeglace writes "Have you ever noticed that the first cowboy to draw his gun in a Hollywood Western is invariably the one to get shot? Nobel-winning physicist Niels Bohr did, once arranging mock duels to test the validity of this cinematic curiosity. Researchers have now confirmed that people indeed move faster if they are reacting, rather than acting first."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Why the First Cowboy To Draw Always Gets Shot

Comments Filter:
  • Unforgivable! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:01PM (#31026018) Homepage Journal

    They explained that in Unforgiven

    Wrter: "But what if he draws first?"

    Sheriff: "Then he'll miss. You see, you can only draw, aim, and shoot so fast. Me, this is about as fast as I can draw my gun and hit anything smaller than a barn. The guy that keeps a cool head, he'll come out standing."

    That was from memory and is obviously not word for word, but the gist is there. It makes sense to me.

  • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewkNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:11PM (#31026184)

    Why? Real scientists have already confirmed it. Methinks someone just wants to see Jamie get shot on tv.

  • by The Famous Druid (89404) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:13PM (#31026212)
    The guy who draws first is the agressor, we can't let the agressor win.

    That's the same reason that the guy on the roof of the saloon, aiming to shoot the someone in the back, always gets shot just as he's taking aim, and falls impressively to the street. Snipers and back-shooters are bad guys.
  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:21PM (#31026314) Homepage Journal

    "It's not the first man to draw who wins. It's the first man to hit his target."

  • Re:1645 called. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:28PM (#31026432)
    God forbid the scientific community should research something a samurai once said.
  • by Rennt (582550) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:37PM (#31026570)
    Nothing wrong with it at all, just ask Brandon Lee.
  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:46PM (#31026708) Homepage Journal

    Why? Real scientists have already confirmed it.

    Because the Mythbusters would dress up in cowboy costumes and play "high noon" music.

  • Corollary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Trip6 (1184883) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @04:58PM (#31026896)

    Did you ever notice that if a movie shootout occurs between a guy with an Uzi and a guy with a handgun, the guy with the Uzi always loses?

  • Han shot first (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OglinTatas (710589) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:11PM (#31027056)

    ...but Greedo drew first, so I guess the effect extends to space ruffians too.

  • Re:Bad summary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mdarksbane (587589) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:24PM (#31027242)

    The perp has something to lose - he could get shot. The officer has the added concern of accidentally killing someone for trying to pull out their license. Most cops I've heard speak after being involved in a shooting (even a legitimate one) seemed to consider that a lot more important than the paperwork.

    The biggest difference is that the officer has to read and react, whereas the bad guy has a much simpler set of actions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:25PM (#31027256)

    He wasnt so good when he shot first, but he was redeemed through his actions in the series and turned out to be a not-so-bad guy. It could have very easily been finished by him leaving with the cash and Luke getting assraped by his father as he made the shot that killed the Death Star. Guess those guys did well enough in the screen tests to make it to the sequel.

  • by tomhath (637240) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:32PM (#31027342)
    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a better example of the real reason - it's the bad guy who gets shot. Lee Marvin (bad guy of course) baits James Stewart (good guy of course) into a gunfight. As Stewart draws his gun, knowing Marvin would win the gunfight, John Wayne (hero of course) shoots Marvin from across the street
  • Re:Unforgivable! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rbgaynor (537968) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:39PM (#31027398) Homepage
    While it's true that open class USPSA (IPSC) shooters use "space" guns there are plenty of very good USPSA shooters who shoot something that closely resembles stock guns (production, revolver). Jerry, for instance, shoots double action revolver. As just an average USPSA shooter I can draw and hit six separate steel targets, one shot each, in under 4 seconds. Equipment helps, but the top USPSA shooters have more going for them than just equipment. The research is interesting, but if I had to draw against the guys I regularly shoot with I would not want to be the second guy clearing leather (well kydex actually).
  • by noidentity (188756) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:43PM (#31027442)

    Subject: The mythbusters need to test this!
    Comment: The mythbusters need to test this!

    So, I guess the subject got shot by the comment, since it drew first?

  • Re:Unforgivable! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ricosalomar (630386) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:48PM (#31027508)
    I know there were a lot of black cowboys, Nat Love is perhaps the most famous example. I have read the history of the old west, and never in my post did I say that there weren't a lot of black cowboys.
    What I suggested was that black people were referred to as niggers in the old west, which is true, though you seem to think it isn't. See bleeding Kansas.
  • Re:Bad summary (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:53PM (#31027544)

    I think you misread the post. The way I read it, it's the officer who has the gun pointed at the suspect, from a distance. Even taking into account that they already have their weapon drawn and ready to fire. If their suspect makes a move and the officer waits to see what their suspect is pulling out of their pocket to make sure that they really have a weapon before pulling the trigger, the officer is dead meat.

    That's the way I read the parent post anyway.

  • Re:Unforgivable! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Blakey Rat (99501) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @05:59PM (#31027600)

    Perhaps they will do a follow up on how there can be a huge running firefight with automatic weapons and virtually no cover, and yet nobody from either side gets hurt.

    The GI Joe cartoon in the 80s frequently had full-on military battles-- with aircraft, artillery, armor, missiles and lasers-- and nobody got hurt, ever.

    Even as a kid, I didn't buy it. "Oh come on, EVERY jet pilot's parachute opens? EVERY tank crew abandons the vehicle before it blows? No way!"

  • Re:Unforgivable! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:06PM (#31027674) Journal

    Most ranges explicitly disallow holster draws or other quick-shoot scenarios

    Where are you that "most" ranges disallow this? Most of the ranges around these parts sponsor IDPA and IPSC events. Holster draws and quick-shooting are the whole point of such competitions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @06:10PM (#31027732)

    "Cops shoot man 12 times" Of course, when you hear that the 11 shots were made by an officer kneeling down and holding face down a Brazillian electrician, those facts you bring up become a lot less relevant.

  • Re:Oblig. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 04, 2010 @08:03PM (#31029012)

    Interesting, but [citation needed]

  • Re:Corollary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Buelldozer (713671) <cliff@gi[ ]lis.net ['ndu' in gap]> on Thursday February 04, 2010 @08:10PM (#31029074)

    Probably close to true in real life as well unless the Uzi wielder has had training and extensive practice. Uzi's, like most automatic weaponry, fall victim to muzzle climb. In a nutshell unless you know WTF you're doing anything past your 2nd or 3rd round is going to be seriously off target.

  • Re:Unforgivable! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by mr_bubb (1171001) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @10:25PM (#31030230)
    You guys are idiots. Arguing over which gun is best to stop an intruder, when in reality it'll be which gun your son accidentally blows his sister's head off with.
  • Re:Unforgivable! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @10:47PM (#31030352) Journal

    You guys are idiots. Arguing over which gun is best to stop an intruder, when in reality it'll be which gun your son accidentally blows his sister's head off with.

    That's why there's this fancy new technology, called locks. They open containers called safes. Perhaps you've heard of some of these recent scientific advancements?

    There's also another method, it's called parenting. This doesn't seem to be real popular these days though. It's usually outsourced to something called 'television'.

  • Re:Unforgivable! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @11:21PM (#31030558) Homepage

    That's why we need public service announcements on TV during Sesame Street telling kids not to play with Mommy and Daddy's guns.

    Cookie Monster can tell them "cookies are a sometimes food, fatty".

    Oscar the Grouch can say "Even if you're mad or are trying to impress someone, guns aren't to be played with or pointed at people."

    No parenting necessary!

  • Re:Unforgivable! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @11:27PM (#31030604) Homepage

    Shot twelve times, let me just remind you of innocent bystanders and the effective lethal range of un-aimed bullets. Each and every shot presents an additional risk of shooting some innocent bystander, a child, someone's grandmother, a father blithely working in a building down the block or a mother in her kitchen. Twelve shots in completely unacceptable in an urban environment.

    Aimed accurate fire, one shot and one shot only and, if they are not absolutely certain of that shot and, under no other circumstances should that shot be taken. Hollywood styled covering fire whilst of limited facility in the battlefield should absolutely never occur in policing. Any officer who fire 12 bullets at an assailant should immediately be fired as they represent to great a risk to be allowed in public space with a fire arm (either for being a crap shot or some trigger happy whack job).

    Every single shot fired by an officer needs to be justified, every single one and a penalty needs to be applied for each and every unwarranted shot. Those in charge of delinquent officers should also suffer severe penalties, of late getting promoted seems to be all about getting additional money with zero additional responsibilities and with consequences for being a completely incompetent political appointee.

Genius is ten percent inspiration and fifty percent capital gains.

Working...