Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Takeaway: Don’t believe what you see in movies

We all knew already that shooting into the gas tank of a car will not, in most cases, make it explode. Or at least, I had a vague notion about that, and confirmed it after doing a lot of research (five minutes on Google, maybe ten).

Incidentally, if you mention this on Facebook, a perhaps surprising number of people will tell you how to make a car explode by shooting it. Although that might be helpful knowledge under somewhat unusual circumstances, it’s not helpful if your protagonist just has a normal gun and a normal car, rather than a really impressive gun or a car that has a lot of explosives in the back seat.

This never happens if you just shoot a normal car with a normal gun

Well, here’s something else that the movies shows us that doesn’t work in real life: Bystander cricothyrotomy with ballpoint pen: a fresh cadaveric feasibility study.

Hopefully it will never be important for you to know that those scenes where someone performs an emergency tracheostomy with a ballpoint pen are not based on reality.

You cannot punch through cartilage with a pen. Sorry.

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3 Comments Takeaway: Don’t believe what you see in movies

  1. Mike S.

    As I recall, on MASH (the first and most memorable place I saw it) Radar used a penknife to make the incision, and just used the pen as a trache tube.

  2. Rachel

    Either way, that apparently is the way to do it. I think that little study also assessed which ballpoint pens have sufficient diameter to serve as trache tubes.

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