1. Effects of alcohol on the human body:
The name alcohol is used for a number of organic substances some of which, like glycerin, are necessary to good health. The scientific name for the alcohol sold for drinking purposes is ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is generally considered to be a habit forming narcotic. However, in the strictest scientific sense it is an anesthetic or pain killer like ether, which is made from it.
a. Alcohol taken into the body passes through the walls of the stomach and the small intestine and thence into the blood stream. It is rapidly distributed through the body and promptly affects the brain by decreasing its ability to take up oxygen. Even a small percentage of alcohol in the blood may sometimes cause remarkable effects. Inhibitions and the corresponding cautions are removed, reactions are slowed, coordination is impaired. The senses become less acute, particularly that of sight. The field of vision is reduced - ordinary objects become darker and indistinct - poorly lighted objects are lost entirely. Reactions are slowed down and concentration becomes difficult.
b. A peculiar property of ethyl alcohol is its ability to take up water. It is a valuable dehydrating and preserving agent. When used as a drink, alcohol produces a burning sensation as it takes up water from the delicate mucous membranes of the throat, stomach, and intestines, thus causing the drinker to become thirsty. Once alcohol becomes a part of the blood, its dehydrating properties are much reduced.
c. Although alcohol is a source of heat energy, its depressing effect upon the nerve centers that control the size of blood vessels causes the blood vessels of the skin to enlarge. So long as alcohol remains in the blood to affect the brain, extra heat loss by radiation will take place through the skin and prevent any benefit that might be derived from its oxidation and the resulting warmth. For this reason, in severely cold weather, the man who drinks whisky to keep warm is in much greater danger of freezing than the person who does not.
2. Effects of Alcohol on Shooting:
a. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol acts as a depressant rather than a stimulant. It dulls the senses, lessens the desire to win, destroys coordination and lessens the shooter's ability to concentrate. Alcohol taken at the proper time in the proper amount might possibly lessen the shooter's anxiety but by doing so other effects are released that are far more harmful to the body and detrimental to the shooter's score. No one can say what the right amount is or when it should be taken. Some shooters may shoot a good score with a hangover. But, the second day is when the after affects become acutely noticeable and the shooter's control may disintegrate on the firing line.
b. Experimental research scientists using delicate tests and sensitive instruments, have been able to demonstrate the adverse effect of even small amounts of alcohol on various isolated bodily functions such as sensory perception and discrimination, reaction time, fine coordination, judgment, alertness and efficiency of dexterity. The changes observed have no apparent difference in quality, magnitude or expression from those due to fatigue, hunger, distraction and a host of other environmental factors. These facts establish that one small drink of intoxicating beverage places the shooter under an enormous handicap. The false feeling of well-being is deceptive. Alcohol, and gun powder do not mix.
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