Ep. 18: The Science of Violence with Dr. Geoffrey DesmoulinIn this episode of The Silvercore Podcast Travis Bader sits down with Spike TV’s, Deadliest Warrior Host, Geoffrey Desmoulin about how he became interested in firearms, his role as a court expert in a multitude of bio-mechanic and weapons related matters and his training program, the Science of Violence.
Travis Bader: [00:00:12] I’m Travis Bader and this is The Silvercore Podcast. Join me as I discuss matters related to hunting, fishing, and outdoor pursuits, the people in businesses that comprise of the community. If you’re new to Silvercore, be sure to check out our website, www.Silvercore.ca. Where you can learn more about courses, services, and products that we offer, as well as how you can join the Silvercore Club, which includes 10 million North America wide liability insurance to ensure you are properly covered during your outdoor ventures.
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[00:01:47] Finally, keep an eye out for a YouTube video on Friday, April 17th where we’ll be announcing our next giveaway. Now onto the podcast where we speak with Spike TV’s, Deadliest Warrior Host, Geoffrey Desmoulin about how he became interested in firearms, his role as a court expert in a multitude of biomechanic and weapons related matters and his training program, the Science of Violence.
[00:02:11] So today I have Dr. Geoffrey Thor Desmoulin. Geoff has a PhD in mechanical engineering, a master’s in biomechanics, and kinesiology, is a principal in GTD scientific, past host and scientific contributor to the hit TV show The Deadliest Warrior, holds a black belt in karate and is a past Silvercore student.
[00:02:29] Welcome to the podcast, Geoff.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:02:31] Thanks Travis for having me, I really appreciate it.
Travis Bader: [00:02:35] You know, for brevity sake, I condensed your bio.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:02:39] I thought you did pretty good, you know, half the time I can’t remember, you know what my bio is, but, you know, it’s, it’s great when people do their research and, and can help remind me all the stuff I’ve done.
Travis Bader: [00:02:51] Oh, there’s, there’s a lot more. You’re a very accomplished individual. Now you’ve had a long standing, well, let me back up a little bit. The reason why we’re doing this remotely, because we were planning to be in The Silvercore Studio at this time, of course, is because of COVID.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:03:09] Right, yeah. And you had even proposed to me, you know, that the office was going to be empty and it would just be the two of us, but I think that this is something that that should be taken seriously. And both my partner’s father is in the hospital right now with tubes sticking out of him. My mom’s in a, in an elderly home, and we know that that’s where these bugs seem to run rampant.
[00:03:38] And I thought, you know, what is the 21st century, and COVID is pushing us more and more down the, the remote version of things. And so I thought, why not with this as well.
Travis Bader: [00:03:51] Yeah. No, I couldn’t agree more. I think that’s a fantastic idea. So, are you prepared for COVID?
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:03:58] You know, I, I’d like to classify myself as a, as a moderate prepper. I, you know, the main thing for me is I have two 72 hour emergency kits in any one of my vehicles. Cause typically when you’re out and about and something happens, if it’s sudden you’re at least going to have your transportation. So that’s with me all the time.
[00:04:22] I have a larger kit in the basement that preps me for food, earthquake, you know, natural disasters to that effect. But the nice thing about so many 72 hour kits, this is also got N95 Masks so I didn’t have to go around ordering that. I did do your course on Non-Restricted and Restricted firearms. So I do, you know, I have a PAL. I have firearms at home.
[00:04:48] Not that that’s. You know, going to be needed anytime soon, I don’t think. But the interesting part of this whole thing, Travis, is April 1st is tomorrow and not that, I mean, I think there’s a reason that the government, both US and Canada have been pushing really, really hard to get their stimulus packages out before the end of the month is because a lot of people aren’t going to be able to make rent and in fact, that includes me.
[00:05:17] There are people that, are renting from me that have already informed me they won’t be able to make rent and, and so I shot them the link to the $500 per month top-up for rent if you can’t handle that situation. But you can, you can see the trickle down where if these people can’t make rent, and then there’s people relying on that money to make mortgages and, and although there has been some talk about the banks not forgiving mortgages, but at least deferring them, you’re going to have to pay interest on that.
[00:05:50] It’s not going to be free. And so there are going to be defaults. And, and so I think the real follow out of COVID is going to be in 3 – 6 weeks when people start getting evicted, when people, you know, their loans get called, and then the real problems are when people get hungry and they start asking for things and, and maybe taking things that aren’t there as an, and, and I don’t think we’re that far away.
Travis Bader: [00:06:21] The demand for training, firearms training, has never been higher. We have people emailing and calling and saying set your price, just put us through a course. And it’s, we shut down our courses a couple of weeks ago prior to the government suggesting, so in BC, most other provinces have firearms officers, Chief Firearms Officers who have mandated that the course be canceled in BC.
[00:06:47] It has been asked that the course we canceled. And just recently the Firearms Program’s come out and said, look at, we’re not processing new applications, but if the applications were being processed and if we were running courses, we could run them day and night around the clock. And I think you had touched on something there.
[00:07:05] There is a desire within people to be self sufficient. Whether that mean they are able to hunt and provide for their families, or whether they are afraid and they are fearful of the social fallout that’s accompanying a pandemic and they want to be prepared for that. And it’s rather taboo to talk about in Canada, in the States, it’s talked about fairly openly, but the sentiments the same.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:07:36] That doesn’t surprise me at all and I, and I think that this is a trend throughout history, about every 10 years something like this happens. And, and I think that obviously, you know, to get something when you don’t need it is always, is always more desirable than trying to get something when you actually need it.
[00:07:56] When, and that’s what’s happening. I mean, look at toilet paper, look at lines of credit, you know, your firearms training, you know, all these things are getting shut down. And so it, it becomes, even the internet went down last week on Thursday. Most of the trading platforms for the markets were stalled and not because of the volatility, but because of the access to internet.
[00:08:20] So bandwidth’s just being eaten up like crazy and so, all these backup plans become, now emergencies.
Travis Bader: [00:08:29] I didn’t realize the internet was getting backed up like that, but I guess that makes sense.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:08:33] Yeah. Apparently 60% more traffic, and of course they do have some additional bandwidth, but, I’ve told all my people that are now working from home.
[00:08:43] To immediately, like as soon as they got, they got working from home. I said, the first thing you should do is upgrade your internet, and no one’s going to be getting the speed that they’re paying for right now, but at least if you’re paying for the high speed stuff, you’ll be prioritized or at least be slightly faster than the person who isn’t.
Travis Bader: [00:08:59] Yeah, good point and you know, we pay for fibre at all of our different locations, and we’re definitely not getting the speed that we should be, but at least we’re getting enough speed to be able to conduct this podcast right now.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:09:11] Agreed. Same.
Travis Bader: [00:09:12] So prior to getting into mechanical engineering and biomechanics, you had an interest in firearms from a pretty early age, didn’t you?
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:09:23] I did. I was in The Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, and that really started it for me, at around 13 years of age. I was able to field strip and FNC 1 faster than anyone else I know blindfolded. I mean, you know, if there was ever essays in school on snipers, I would have aced it. You know, I always feel like.
[00:09:46] If I had the right teacher with the right curriculum, I would have done much better in school as a young man. But I ended up, you know, realizing that later on in life but at that age, that’s what I was interested in. And, that kind of continued in the sense that I started competing for Canada in the sport of Biathlon, which is cross country skiing and shooting.
[00:10:08] And in, you know, racing as a civilian I was noticed by military factions and, and they were interested in having people who had actual goals in the sport to participate in the military races as well. Now that came with a catch, in the sense that they wanted you to walk and talk like a soldier. Well, I had already had experience with that, with the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, and, and I thought, you know, this is a really good.
[00:10:41] Way to get high end training, go around the world and race against the best and obviously upgrade all of my equipment and the catch was that I had to do one course a year during the summer, and that was with Cal High.
Travis Bader: [00:10:57] Okay, very good. So Cadets, what unit were you with?
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:11:02] That was the 2812, a Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps and the Westies in Abbotsford. And that’s where I grew up actually. And, it was, it was interesting because it exposes you to an environment that I think is unique, but educational. Highly discipline oriented and, and you get paid at that, at that age.
[00:11:39] And so for me, it was, it was a triple win, I really bought into that mindset. I love learning not only about firearms, but, but everything else that came with that, like we’re in tiering and whatnot, map and compass lectures. And, yeah, so that’s, that’s kinda how it started.
Travis Bader: [00:11:56] So 2812, that was a Major George Clapshew unit that he put together and I happen to know that because I was also with 2812 Seaforth.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:12:03] Are you kidding?
Travis Bader: [00:11:56] Yeah, no, I was.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:12:05] When were you in?
Travis Bader: [00:12:06] I would have to recall the dates, but it would be, early nineties, early nineties. It would be with the 2812 Seaforth.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:12:14] Oh you’re a young man, I was probably 83 something like that.
Travis Bader: [00:12:20] Were ya? Ok. Ah, interesting. Small world.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:12:23] Yeah, it really is. And you know another interesting fact about that? I had it, there was an officer of the unit that knew me from the show, and he invited me back to the Cadet Corps and they made me a permanent, have permanent access to the officer’s mess.
Travis Bader: [00:12:39] Oh very cool.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:12:41] As a member, so really happy about that and happy to get tied back in and, and, and give a lecture to them and it’s, trying to give them some, inspiration for, for how to motivate them for a future life as an adult.
Travis Bader: [00:12:56] Very cool. Well, you went on from there and got into kinesiology. You got into mechanical engineering and biomechanics. Was that to something that you know you were always interested in or how did that happen?
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:13:11] Yeah, good question. You know, it’s funny because I actually wanted to be a firefighter, that was my, my goal. My dad was a Peace Officer and my mom was a Nurse. And if you think about those two mentalities, that’s kind of like a firefighter.
[00:13:26] And so I felt like I was really born to do that position. I was in the pre-employment list in Edmonton and I got the call to go, but circumstances had it that I, I couldn’t continue, didn’t want to continue, et cetera, et cetera, without getting into details. But, the, what I loved about firefighting was it was the premise of being an emergency medical technician combined with the engineering aspects of, say, pump pressures and thermodynamics and heat transfer and all of those things.
[00:14:03] And so I was getting super excited about this, the engineering aspects of firefighting and also had this understanding of the human body at a very fundamental injury level. And so that was the, that was really the spark that lit the flame because when I couldn’t do that anymore, I thought, this is what I want to do.
[00:14:25] I want to combine these two expertise because I think there’s a lot of power in the engineering portion of things and then of course, if you apply that power to humans, that you’re really making a difference in the world and that’s kinda how I looked at it at that time.
Travis Bader: [00:14:39] Well, you really made a name for yourself in that field, so much so that you were picked up by, I guess it was Spike TV, Deadliest Warrior.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:14:49] That’s right. Yeah, I had gone through an undergrad and masters and I was working on my PhD at Wayne State University in Michigan, and I’m not sure if people are familiar with that school, but it was the first to do this in about 19, I guess, about the 1950’s. Colonel Stapp was doing all of his experiments with the military, but around 1960 when crash testing became, you know, really important to the vehicle manufacturers in Michigan.
[00:15:23] They really started to make this push, and there was a physician at Wayne State that literally walked over to the engineering department and started to make a relationship with the mechanical engineers there and said, ‘You know what? The two of us really should be working together because we’re seeing all these injuries in the ER and we need your expertise to figure out how to prevent them’.
[00:15:46] Hence, biomechanical engineering was born and it was born at that school. And, and the information that’s coming out of that school still is, is world renowned, although there’s a lot of other schools doing it now. I kind of wanted to go to the source because they had such a great reputation and they also had a reputation with working with the military.
[00:16:05] And so when I was there, I was working under a project that was being funded by the Navy. So, so it was basically a military project in blast induced injuries and how to prevent them and when the show runner of Deadliest Warrior, his name’s Tim Prokop; I just talked to him yesterday, by the way, he wants to actually work with us, so, so cool to have.
Travis Bader: [00:16:34] Very cool.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:16:35] Yeah, super cool. Trying to get him on contract. So, so he calls me up and he says, ‘Look, we’ve been looking around all around California and it seems like the people that do this injury stuff really do small scale or even Petri dish or tissue level type of experiments. We want a guy that can do full scale stuff, and we’ve heard that that you can do this’.
[00:17:02] And I said, ‘Well, I’m work, I’m working with the Marines right now, and these are the types of projects I’m working on’. He says, ‘Okay, so I want you to get camcorder and I want you to introduce yourself, give us your background, and then show us some of the equipment that you work with on a daily basis and then can you also do a quick analysis on a fight between a Spartan and a Ninja?’
Travis Bader: [00:17:29] Yeah, yeah no problem, no problem.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:17:30] And I was like, I just got warm fuzzies, man. Like, I was ready to do this. I was like ‘Yeah, hell yeah, I’ll do this’. So I did the, the film, I, I, I talked about my background and showed them the equipment we were working with, I did the analysis being the Spartan and a Ninja, I sent it in and to this day, Tim said when he got that video, he said there was about 1500 other applicants that had applied for that position, and when they saw my video, they said, this is our guy.
[00:18:01] So the stars really aligned. I was just in the right place at the right time with the right skillset.
Travis Bader: [00:18:07] Wow. 1500 others.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:18:09] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:18:10] That’s pretty impressive.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:18:11] Yeah, thanks. I mean, the thing with Hollywood is you either get people that are born to be on camera, but can’t do science. Or you get people that have built the discipline of being a scientist but are terrible in front of the camera and so to find that combination was really, really difficult for them. And I still don’t say that I’m awesome in front of the camera, but I was good enough and I have the skillset. So it worked for them.
Travis Bader: [00:18:38] Very popular show, enjoy watching that. So, recently, I was on a Use of Force Experts workshop with the Vancouver Police, and you know, a lot of the, the big names and Use of Force consulting and expert witness testimony like John McKay, Joel Johnson, Brad Faucet, Chris Butler, they’re, they’re kind of the go to names at most that the courts will go to, to opine on these matters. And they’re all current or retired police officers.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:19:10] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:19:11] Now, you don’t have a law enforcement background, but you definitely have the the chops and you do Use of Force and expert testimony for the courts in the States and Canada all over the world, don’t you?
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:19:27] I do. You know that, that, that’s such an interesting topic to me because there is no shortage of former police officers that will opine on Use of Force and have a lot of experience in OIS investigations.
[00:19:42] Now, having said that, and I love working with them because we need to understand policy, we need to understand procedure, we need to understand tactics in a situation like that. But what they all lack and, and I’m just saying from, I’m just speaking from my experience, every one of them that I’ve met has lacked the ability to apply true science and engineering to the same situation.
[00:20:12] And I’m not knocking them, I’m really not, I, I’m like, I love these guys, I could never do that job. I have not been a police officer. I do do courses regularly to try to understand it better, but at the end of the day, I haven’t been there and I haven’t done that. But having said that, they haven’t been there and done that from my side of things.
[00:20:35] And what I’m finding is that it’s a very, very, very useful skillset to solve problems in those investigations. And to give you an example, we had a file out of Pennsylvania. This was a, wasn’t an officer involved shooting. It was a homicide and I’ll talk about, an officer involved shooting as well if you want.
[00:20:56] But this one just kind of came to mind and I think it’s really interesting where there was this gentleman that was claiming self defence and he was a homeless person. He was in the back of his truck. He had finished an evening of drinking with his buddy, and he went into the back of his truck to retire and closed the hatch.
[00:21:15] His head was facing the back of the hatch like this and, and he fell asleep. Now he awakens to someone opening the hatch of his truck, he believes he’s being attacked. He takes out two, a what looked like buoy knives.
Travis Bader: [00:21:35] Okay.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:21:36] Okay. And starts doing this overhead, kind of Superman punches that he feels some resistance on, and he feels like he’s got 4-6 hits in. Okay, that was his statement. And then he gets out of the truck and he realize he stab, he stabbed his friend.
Travis Bader: [00:21:56] Whoops.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:21:57] Yeah. So like when everybody stabs their friend, he wraps them up in a tarp, burns him and rolls him down an embankment and tries to call it a day. Of course the body is discovered by a runner and it gets called in and in his kind of fear of being found out, he comes up with this story that because in Pennsylvania, the Castle Doctrine stands.
Travis Bader: [00:22:31] Sure.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:22:31] You can defend with lethal force, if someone’s on your property. And so his claim was, I was sleeping on my property, which was my truck, and someone was trying to enter our defendant with deadly force.
Travis Bader: [00:22:41] Sure.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:22:42] Okay. So he goes to the police, and this was his plea. He said, ‘Look, you know, I did do this. This is why I did this, et cetera, et cetera’. Now, if you look at the stab wounds carefully. There are some that would have been created with very low force, but then there’s others that created injuries like a stab straight through the sternum.
Travis Bader: [00:23:09] Sure.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:23:09] Okay. And another one that was through the ribs, but the hilt of the knife actually fractured the rib. And that was critical. Those two injuries were very critical because obviously, you know, somebody can, can, you know, if a knife falls off a table, for example, and lands on your foot that can do a lot of damage. There doesn’t have to be a lot of load if it’s not going through a rigid structure, but rigid structures like the sternum and the ribs actually have a quite a lot of resistance and, and it takes more effort.
[00:23:46] So we wanted to know, well, how can this person stab, make these stabs and make these, these injuries from that position. And so we tested the amount of strength and the average person, there’s a lot of tables you can go to, but we went to those tables, but we also performed testing in house as to how much force you can actually produce in that Superman kind of position.
[00:24:07] And then we compared it to kind of your classic downward stab and then we also compared it to a classic forward thrust. Okay. And obviously, as you might imagine, the downward stab creates the most amount of load. The thrust is the next, and of course the Superman overhead position created the least amount of load.
[00:24:28] Now, how did those loads compare to what you needed for the injuries of the sternum and the ribs? That’s where it got interesting. Now, in the literature, there was nothing to say what it takes to stab through the sternum. As you can imagine, it was a pretty unique situation.
Travis Bader: [00:24:45] Sure.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:24:46] So we had to solve that problem and what we did is there’s lots of impact resistant foam that’s been validated for bone.
Travis Bader: [00:24:55] Okay.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:24:46] So we got a layer that represented cortical bone, a layer that represented spongy bone, and another layer that represented the backside of the sternum of cortical bone, okay. And then we cut that to the size of the actual sternum, which was based on MRI imaging from an orthopedic journal.
[00:25:14] Okay. So this was a scientific now representation of the sternum. And then were able to take our drop tower and I’ll send you videos, maybe, I dunno if they, if they have access to a link or anything in this podcast, but, we have lots of videos of that testing and, we simply drop the knife with some mass behind it that represents a specific load that we’re looking for and an impact velocity that we’re looking for.
[00:25:41] And we can look at how much force it takes to go through that sternum. Oddly enough, knives are very good at doing their jobs.
Travis Bader: [00:25:49] Sure.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:24:50] And, and, and so the load, which you could penetrate the sternum was about the same amount as you could produce for the average overhead thrust.
Travis Bader: [00:26:05] Okay.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:26:06] So now we weren’t, he wasn’t out of the woods yet, but, that didn’t clear him or, or exonerate him. I should say exonerate him or charge him at that point, right. Because in any one of the situations he could have, he could have produced that injury. Now, where it got really interesting was looking at the rib fracture. And in that particular situation, the rib fracture was actually due to blunt trauma, not due to the point of the knife, like it was for the sternum.
Travis Bader: [00:26:40] So that’d be the hilt?
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:26:42] Exactly. The hilt caused this and that was blunt force trauma and the numbers that you look at in literature for that are actually much higher than what we recorded to stop through the sternum.
Travis Bader: [00:26:53] Ahh.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:26:54] Yeah. So all of a sudden that number to produce that injury felt way out of the range for the overhead Superman stab and even fell out of range for the forward thrust. So it was more likely than not that it was the downward stab that created that injury.
Travis Bader: [00:27:12] Interesting.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:27:12] And when, and that was really the nail in the coffin for him. There was other aspects that I won’t get into because it’s so visual.
Travis Bader: [00:27:20] Sure.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:27:21] But I think I was clear on that explanation. But when we wrote our, our report, we sent it in no more than two weeks later, I got a text message from the lead investigator, he says ‘He’s just changed his plea from not guilty to third degree murder, and we’re on our way to arrest him now’.
Travis Bader: [00:27:43] Wow.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:27:44] Yeah.
Travis Bader: [00:27:45] So it’s like modern day Sherlock Holmes, but instead of using cadavers for your, your test pieces, you’ve actually got some, some proper materials to work with.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:27:54] Well, this is it, and this is where, you know, detective work stops and science begins in my opinion. They were dumbfounded as to how to prove this guy, they thought he was guilty. That’s one thing I always do recognize with detectives that come to us is, is they always have an inc-, there’s something wrong.
Travis Bader: [00:28:12] Sure.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:28:12] They don’t know how to explain it, but they know it doesn’t fit.
Travis Bader: [00:28:15] Right.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:28:15] And so that’s kind of where we pick up and continue the investigation using the tools of the engineer and the scientists and really help them determine that. And that one had to be, happened to be a very clear explanation with the tools that we could bring. They’re not always that, you know, cut and dried as to how we can actually help.
Travis Bader: [00:28:37] No kidding. Well, that’s a pretty interesting case nonetheless.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:28:40] Absolutely.
Travis Bader: [00:28:41] I guess the, the real advantage now, you talked about being involved in officer involved shootings, and there’s always the courts or the public perception that if you get a police Use of Force expert on its stand, they’re just going to be a police apologist, even though 9 times out of 10 they aren’t.
[00:29:04] But there’s going to be that perception that they have to deal with as well. So in cases like that, although you don’t have the law enforcement background, having the scientific background and being just strictly an expert for the courts, I would think would be a desirable thing for people to be reaching out to GTD Scientific for. Do you see a lot of that, that kind of demand?
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:29:25] Every day. Honestly, we have 6 shootings on my plate right now, and, there’s just more and more coming. And I think the COVID situation is going to see a spike in those numbers rather than, than anything else. And, and, and again, I don’t want to sound like I’m, I’m. you know, I mean, we spend our time, 90% of our time defending police officers in their actions, right?
Travis Bader: [00:29:50] Sure.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:29:50] So I love these guys, I love what they do. It’s such a tough job, and honestly, every time I work up a case, all I can think of is, is, and pardon my language, but it’s such a shitty job because the, you’re getting it from all sides.
Travis Bader: [00:30:07] Yeah.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:30:07] And you’ve got literally fractions of a second to make this decision and it’s going to be totally analyzed by everyone and their dog after the fact, so it just becomes this really difficult place to operate. And, and for that, I give them full kudos and, and don’t get me wrong. We need those, those experts, because again, tactics, policies, procedures, all of those things they can speak to and speak to very independently.
[00:30:35] Whereas when it comes to biomechanics or what was possible physically in a specific situation, or if we’re talking movement patterns, which becomes a very key thing to speak about. That’s where they’re, they’re limited.
Travis Bader: [00:30:54] Right.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:30:54] And, and I just think the more that they realize that the better, and, and we can kind of move this past that genre and into a kind of a new genre of people with objective tools like the engineer and the scientist. And, and I know that there has been some resistance to that. I’m working with a lawyer who is actually a former police officer and every other, every other expert on that file as a former police officer and there’s a bit of camaraderie that I’m just not privy to.
Travis Bader: [00:31:28] Sure.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:31:28] And I think that that’s okay but, I prefer that actually cause I want to be that independent guy. I wanna really give them an independent look as to what happened because if I start to get too buddy-buddy or, or if I understand that that genre too much, I think I lose value for them.
Travis Bader: [00:31:50] And you start to lose perspective too.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:31:53] Absolutely.
Travis Bader: [00:31:54] You’re talking about how in fractions of a second they have to make a decision. And you know, there is research in perception time, research and reaction time and eye tracking in what, what actually is seen versus what is actually being looked at at the time. And there’s the Force Science Institute in the States, and I’ve gone through some of their work in the past and looked at it just from an interest level and some of the stuff they talk about media posts up, somebody was shot in the back by a police officer.
[00:32:31] Yet the amount of time taken for the officer to respond to what’s actually happening to them and for the trigger press to happen and for the person to turn around. And there are some very, science can come back and demonstrate that there are some very legitimate reasons why a person may have actually been shot in the back.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:32:49] Yeah, absolutely. And, and that’s, that’s really well known, to be honest.
Travis Bader: [00:32:53] Yeah.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:32:53] All of these former police offers that we’ve been talking about that act as experts are typically force science certified.
Travis Bader: [00:33:00] Right.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:33:01] If not advanced specialists and I am force science certified and I’m, and I’m registered to take their August offering of the advanced specialists course.
[00:33:12] Bill called me, oh, I guess it was probably June of last year, and he said, ‘I want you to be better known in this arena and I want you to come give a pre-conference training for three hours to whoever’s willing to pay for it and get there a little bit earlier’. And so there was probably about a hundred people in the room at the time, detectives, senior people, police, defence attorneys, et cetera, et cetera.
[00:33:43] And I was able to give them our course in the Science of Violence and, and that really got our name out there with respect to, at least the US populace. And, we’ve, we’ve received, you know, nonstop calls a sense, but it wasn’t because I was touting the Lewinski analysis. Your perceptual reaction is always part of the investigation.
[00:34:07] Okay. And one thing about Lewinski is he is a behavioural scientist. This is his wheelhouse, and he is the best one to explain it. And he’s done a very good way, sorry, very good, very good job at creating entire team to tout his research and his ability to defend officers, no question about that.
Travis Bader: [00:34:28] Sure.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:34:28] And that’s why I think this is, this is fresh cause while that is always part of our investigation, it’s literally one 10th of our investigation where if you look at some of the reports from some of these, the other experts that we’ve talked about, that is their entire report.
Travis Bader: [00:34:46] Right.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:34:46] And so what we’ll do is we’ll, we’ll look at things like the effects of the weapons, like what is the actual effectiveness and what is, effectiveness mean in that situation. And how do we define that objectively? We’ll look at things like even a combative measures, so you know, was there a specific applied technique and how does that put the joint or body tissue at risk?
[00:35:13] And was this, was this justified? And in fact, I shouldn’t even say justified because that’s for the trier of fact.
Travis Bader: [00:35:19] That’s right. You just can’t answer that ultimate question.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:35:22] Absolutely. Analyzing injury causation. So sometimes what happens, we have two different narratives. One is from the officer, one from from the assailant, but there’s an injury that’s just spitting information to us, okay. It is literally telling us exactly what the contact loads were between whatever it is and made contact with and the body.
[00:35:46] And, and almost always, this gets completely glazed over. And I, I’m not kidding you Travis, but it’s amazing, we get very good information from the medical examiners and from the coroners, et cetera. And there’s mention of it, but it’s never delved into deeply.
Travis Bader: [00:36:01] Interesting.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:36:02] Yeah. And I, and I could go on, like we do a biomechanical modeling, for example. I mean, if you want to talk about, an OIS where we did a biomechanical model we can, but, I don’t want to ramble, this is your show, not mine.
Travis Bader: [00:36:15] Yeah, I’m all ears. That’s what we’re here for.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:36:17] Okay, cool. Well, you know, biomechanical models is another thing we do, because often, you know, you get very jittery, blurry, low light video of the situation. You often have only one narrative if there’s a homicide. And so how do we test that? And so here’s how we do it, we just use the, the tools of the scientists and engineer and science tells us if you have a hypothesis, you test against that hypothesis and if you can’t reject it, you must accept it.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:36:55] Do you do follow?
Travis Bader: [00:36:56] Oh, absolutely.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:36:57] Okay, cool.
Travis Bader: [00:36:58] Right back to Sherlock Holmes again.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:37:00] Fair enough. That’s a pretty, yeah, that’s pretty cool comparison, yeah it is. But, so what we do in, in a situation like that is we have the officer’s narrative and, and that’s it. And so we’ll treat that as a hypothesis and say, this is what he believed occurred.
[00:37:19] There’s our hypothesis, how do we test against it? So we take a biomechanical model and we kind of, we create, let, let me back up just one moment because there’s actually a process to this. When we have a list of statements, we can perform a video and we call that statement quantification okay? Statement quantification.
[00:37:41] So we have a narrative that’s all in words, and then we translate that narrative to video by just reenacting it, okay. But once we have that video, we can start taking all sorts of measurements off that video okay. And if that’s not enough, then we can use those measurements from the video and use that as input to biomechanical model.
[00:38:04] Now, what do I mean by that? Most people are gonna think, oh, that’s an animation. That’s a, you know, oh, this is a graphic artists, a job where he puts together a little humanoid and gets us to move through three dimensional space. Absolutely not. What these biomechanical models are, are they have annual license fees in the order of $60,000 a year, okay.
[00:38:26] They’re there, they’re not cheap, but they run on, based on physics, and you have to create that physical environment. So you create surfaces, you create friction between the body and that surface. Say if we’re looking at an abrasion, for example, we want to know what direction that occurred, or the, he said, this happened.
[00:38:46] Does that fit with the injury of the abrasion, et cetera, et cetera. We can look at the wound paths, all objective information. You know, we can now start, you know, the forward velocity of the body at the time, the height above the ground where the pistol was located. Then we run this model according to Newton’s laws, and if it fits the narrative, guess what? We accept it.
Travis Bader: [00:39:08] You extend it. Yeah.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:39:10] Exactly. And that was actually a new methodology that no one had brought forth to the ninth circuit previously in, and I’m talking about the ninth circuit in California, and this was accepted and deemed reliable methodology for shooting reconstruction. So I’m really, really proud of that. We published it, we published this, this in Force Science News as well. If you guys want to, you know, create a link to that article for your.
Travis Bader: [00:39:41] Oh we will. Absolutely, yeah.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:40:11] So, and this is the kind of stuff that we’re doing. It’s just kind of a new approach on an old system and it’s, it’s really taking it to the 21st century.
Travis Bader: [00:39:55] Very cool. Now you have the Science of Violence course, and that’s something when COVID kind of subsides and we can get together in groups again, Silvercore would love to host a Science of Violence course put on by you and your team.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:40:11] Would love it Travis, I think we should get your, your audience excited about that. I think, we would get a huge audience and the fact that you have the logistics involved to deliver that and space. It’s just a matter of time before we can make that happen.
Travis Bader: [00:40:27] Absolutely. So what, what, can people look forward to in the, in a course like that?
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:40:32] Basically, let me actually, I’ve got the presentation open right now on my desktop and I’m going to read you the purpose of this. Okay.
Travis Bader: [00:40:39] Perfect.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:40:39] The purpose of this course is to increase basic knowledge of physics as it relates to complex injury litigation involving Use of Force. Now I know that’s a lot of gobbledygook, but basically what we’re looking at here is I’m trying to turn laypeople into biomechanists and not only biomechanists, but specifically injury biomechanists.
[00:41:05] Because when we’re talking about injury biomechanics, really what you’re trying to determine is the location, magnitude, and direction of load that created that injury. If you can answer those three questions, you know a hell of a lot about what happened in that particular incident. And, and that really is the crux of what we get up.
[00:41:29] It’s, it’s a tall task, but I guarantee you that your students will have a lot of takeaways there. That’s the way this course was designed. I used to hold a lot of things to my chest thinking that, oh, you know, this was a, you know, some sort of special skill set and that anyone can just go do this. And, and what I’m finding is I’ve got engineers that had worked with me for almost 10 years.
[00:41:53] And they still have problem with this stuff. So I’m not worried about it and, and if somebody can take a piece, a nugget of, of this information and use it in their own investigations, the world’s a better place. And, and we, we garner a reputation for excellence and that’s really what we’re after.
Travis Bader: [00:42:11] Yeah, absolutely. You know, years ago, a friend of mine, Stephen Jagger, he’s very successful in, in his own right, for multiple businesses, been up and down on Vancouver business magazines and around the world. And that was one piece of advice that he had. And he says, ‘you know what? Don’t hold these things close to your chest. Throw it out there, let everybody know, because people will come to you because you’re the expert. And other people can’t duplicate it even when they have that information’. So it’s.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:42:42] Totally, it’s taken me 10 years to kind of realize that I’m a little slow on the uptake, but, you know, it’s been fantastic because it really comes across as authentic. And when you come across as authentic, people believe your message. And when they believe your message, they buy into you.
Travis Bader: [00:43:02] Absolutely. That’s it.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:43:03] Yep.
Travis Bader: [00:43:04] Is there anything else that we should be.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:43:06] I’d like to talk just a little bit more about the, the course cause biomechanics is pretty broad, but we’re really, what we’re trying to do, the objectives of the course are to understand how to determine injury causation.
[00:43:21] So I talked about biomechanics, injury biomechanics. But really what we’re getting at is how to determine injury causation. And we do that through location, direction, and magnitude, of the load. And if you don’t get that from a video, if you don’t get that from case materials, you can design experiments to help fill those gaps.
[00:43:41] And so in this course, we actually teach you about the instrumentation that are common to these types of studies. And you know what you might want to focus on in a particular situation, what instrumentation you’re going to need. And then what that data actually means. How do you process it?
[00:43:57] And then not only that, how do you cross examine somebody? What questions should you be asking? The opposite side if they produce some of this data. So it really is more a, a litigation support tool for technical experts and, and anyone who’s dealing with technical experts.
Travis Bader: [00:44:16] Very cool. Yeah, and now this is probably all covered under a, they call it CPD.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:44:22] Yes, it is. Thank you for asking, actually, there’s a whole slew of people who have accredited this course. One is the BC Law Society right here in Vancouver, so anyone in BC can get Continuing Professional Development credit for this. It’s endorsed I, I’m, I’m happy to be really careful about the wording around this.
Travis Bader: [00:44:45] Sure.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:44:45] I believe endorsed the right word that we can use, but by the Washington Homicide Investigators Association. Okay. We have a contact down there that got us in there, I believe it’s still on their website, our course. So they’re endorsing the course. Which by the way, which was an association built by homicide investigators for homicide investigators, and we’re being endorsed there so that, that’s, that tells you a lot.
[00:45:13] It’s also been approved by the Washington State Bar Association. For credit for credit for Continuing Professional Development credit, and also the California State Bar also has it approved. We’re getting it approved in Ontario and, and I believe also in Ohio as well. So it’s, it’s really blowing up and it is like the more people would get accredited by the easier it becomes.
Travis Bader: [00:45:45] Absolutely. It’s a snowball effect.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:45:47] It is.
Travis Bader: [00:45:48] It’s always easier for somebody to make a decision if someone else has made that decision before them.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:45:52] As you know, Travis. Yep.
Travis Bader: [00:45:55] Well, that’s fantastic. Well, Geoff, thank you very much for being on this show, and I really look forward to when COVID kind of runs its course and when business is getting back to usual and we can start rolling forward with some of these things. I’m really excited about that.
Geoffrey Desmoulin: [00:46:09] Looking forward to the Travis, same.
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