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"On Killing" by dave grossman

VoodooChild

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"On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society is a book by Lt.Col. Dave Grossman exploring the psychology of the act of killing and the military establishment's attempt to understand and deal with the consequences of killing.

The book proposes that contrary to popular perception, the majority of soldiers in war do not ever fire their weapons and that this is due to an innate resistance to killing. Realizing this the military has instituted training measures to break down this resistance and has successfully raised soldier's firing rates to over ninety percent. However there are great psychological costs that weigh heavily on the combat soldier who kills."

Thats the summary from wiki. It's a pretty awsome book. it gets a little dry in the middle, but full of exellent information throughtout the whole book. If you are interested in warfare, killing, and the effects it has on the human mind then i would recommend this book for you.
 

Civil1z@tion

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The book is very interesting. I think Grossman is too hard on video games (especially since violent crime has been falling in the 90s despite increases in the popularity of violent video games). Also his use of Marshall's study that only about 25% of soldiers actually fired their weapons in combat during WW2 is more than a little controversial. None the less I do think it provides an interesting perspective on combat even if it perhaps does overstate somewhat the need for and effect of conditioning (after all, the Milgram experiment shows us that 65% of untrained people who can hear the pleas and screams of those they are being order to kill, will do so when sternly ordered to, I'd imagine not being able to hear the pleas/screams and being shot at by the person you're shooting would raise that rate).
 

VoodooChild

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The book is very interesting. I think Grossman is too hard on video games (especially since violent crime has been falling in the 90s despite increases in the popularity of violent video games). Also his use of Marshall's study that only about 25% of soldiers actually fired their weapons in combat during WW2 is more than a little controversial. None the less I do think it provides an interesting perspective on combat even if it perhaps does overstate somewhat the need for and effect of conditioning (after all, the Milgram experiment shows us that 65% of untrained people who can hear the pleas and screams of those they are being order to kill, will do so when sternly ordered to, I'd imagine not being able to hear the pleas/screams and being shot at by the person you're shooting would raise that rate).
He probably was a little too hard on video games.

Firing your weapon to shoot at someone is different than firing your weapon to kill someone, psychologically at least. I think that’s the point he was trying to make. I do see how there is controversy on the subject but I do see some truth in it.

In the Milgram experiment they weren’t being ordered to kill. The were being ordered to shock people, or inflict large amounts of pain. That’s different than seeing someone and taking there life without someone ordering you to. My point: causing extreme pain in someone who you cant see, only hear, with electricity because you are sternly being ordered to do so is completely different than a combatant popping out of a window and you putting your sights on them and shooting to kill without hesitation or orders.

Edit: Thanks for the link though. It is a pretty interesting experiment.
 
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Civil1z@tion

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In the Milgram experiment they weren’t being ordered to kill. The were being ordered to shock people, or inflict large amounts of pain. That’s different than seeing someone and taking there life without someone ordering you to. My point: causing extreme pain in someone who you cant see, only hear, with electricity because you are sternly being ordered to do so is completely different than a combatant popping out of a window and you putting your sights on them and shooting to kill without hesitation or orders.
They were being told to bring the shock up to a level that the actor on the other side was making clear could be fatal. Its not exactly the same but its fairly close. If it was a direct order to kill, you might lose a few percentage points but probably not much.
 
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