On Killing - Grossman D. - Book
  • On Killing - Grossman D. - Book

On Killing - Grossman D. - Book

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Drawing on interviews, published personal accounts and academic studies, Grossman investigates the psychology of killing in combat. Stressing that human be
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Drawing on interviews, published personal accounts and academic studies, Grossman investigates the psychology of killing in combat. Stressing that human beings have a powerful, innate resistance to the taking of life, he examines the training techniques developed by the military. Modern armies, using Pavlovian and operant conditioning, have developed sophisticated ways of overcoming this instinctive aversion. His provocative study focuses in particular on the Vietnam war, revealing how the American soldier was ''enabled to kill to a far greater degree than any other soldier in history.'' The psychological cost for soldiers, as witnessed by the increase in post traumatic stress, he says, is devastating. The psychological cost for the rest of us is even more so, Grossman states. He argues that the breakdown of American society, combined with the pervasive violence in the media and interactive video games, is conditioning our children to kill in a manner similar to the army's conditioning of soldiers: ''We are reaching that stage of desensitization at which the infliction of pain and suffering has become a source of entertainment: vicarious pleasure rather than revulsion. We are learning to kill, and we are learning to like it.''

Dave Grossman

Dave Grossman is a West Point psychology professor and professor of military science, Grossman trains medical and health professionals on how to deal with and prevent killing. He trained mental health professionals in the aftermath of the Jonesboro shootings, and has been an expert witness and consultant in several murder cases, including that of Timothy McVeigh and Michael Carneal. Acknowledgments • Introduction SECTION I : KILLING AND THE EXISTENCE OF RESISTANCE A WORLD OF VIRGINS STUDYING SEX 1. Fight or Flight, Posture or Submit 2. Nonfirers Throughout History, 17 3. Why Can't Johnny Kill? 4. The Nature and Source of the Resistance Section II : Killing and Combat Trauma: The Role of Killing in Psychiatric Casualties 1. The Nature of Psychiatric Casualties The Psychological Price of War 2. The Reign of Fear 3. The Weight of Exhaustion 4. The Mud of Guilt and Horror 5. The Wind of Hate 6. The Well of Fortitude 7. The Burden of Killing 8. The Blind Men and the Elephant SECTION III : KILLING AND PHYSICAL DISTANCE FROM A DISTANCE, YOU DON'T LOOK ANYTHING LIKE A FRIEND 1. A Qualitative Distinction in Death 2. Killing at Maximum and Long Range: Never a Need for Repentance or Regret 3. Killing at Mid and Hand Grenade Range: ''You Can Never Be Sure It Was You'' 4. Killing at Close Range: ''I Knew That It Was up to Me, Personally, to Kill Him'' 5. Killing at Edged Weapons Range: An ''Intimate Brutality'' 6. Killing at Hand to Hand Combat Range 7. Killing at Sexual Range: ''The Primal Aggression, the Release, and Orgasmic Discharge'' SECTION IV : AN ANATOMY OF KILLING: . ALL FACTORS CONSIDERED 1. The Demands of Authority: Milgram and the Military 2. Group Absolution: ''The Individual Is Not a Killer, but the Group Is'' 3. Emotional Distance: ''To Me They Were Less than Animals'' 4. The Nature of the Victim: Relevance and Payoff 5. Aggressive Predisposition of the Killer Avengers, Conditioning, and the 2 Percent Who Like It 6. All Factors Considered: The Mathematics of Death SECTION V : KILLING AND ATROCITIES ''NO HONOR HERE, NO VIRTUE'' 1. The Full Spectrum of Atrocity 2. The Dark Power of Atrocity 3. The Entrapment of Atrocity 4. A Case Study in Atrocity 5. The Greatest Trap of All: To Live with That Which Thou Hath Wrought SECTION VI: THE KILLING RESPONSE STAGES WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO KILL? 1. The Killing Response Stages 2. Applications of the Model: Murder Suicides, Lost Elections, and Thoughts of Insanity, 241 SECTION VII: KILLING IN VIETNAM WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO OUR SOLDIERS? 1. Desensitization and Conditioning in Vietnam: Overcoming the Resistance to Killing 2. What Have We Done to Our Soldiers? The Rationalization of Killing and How It Failed in Vietnam 3. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Cost of Killing in Vietnam 4. The Limits of Human Endurance and the Lessons of Vietnam SECTION VIII: KILLING IN AMERICA WHAT ARE WE DOING TO OUR CHILDREN? 1. A Virus of Violence 2. Desensitization and Pavlov's Dog at the Movies 3. B. F. Skinner's Rats and Operant Conditioning at the Video Arcade 4. Social Learning and Role Models in the Media 5. The Resensitization of America Notes • Bibliography • Index