ON KILLING GROSSMAN PDF
A new repression, revolving around killing and death, precisely parallels the pattern killing. Mankind understood its place in life, and respected the place of the. A controversial psychological examination of how soldiers' willingness to kill has been encouraged and exploited to the detriment of contemporary civilian. Read On Killing PDF - The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Dave Grossman Back Bay Books | The good news is.
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PDF | The new field of killology examines the factors affecting man's Grossman also limits his studies to American and European styles of. consider the psychology of traditional killing in combat and society. Lieutenant Colonel. Dave Grossman is a former army Ranger, paratrooper. On Combat by Lt. Col Dave Grossman (with Loren Christensen). Chapter Seven. The evolution of combat and domestic violent crime. "The evidence is.
A man might slay hundreds and never see their blood flow.
Less than a century after the Civil War ended, a single bomb, delivered miles above its target, would take the lives of more than , people, almost all civilians. The moral distance between this event and the tribal warrior facing a single opponent is far greater than even the thousands of years and transformations of culture that separate them.
The combatants in modern warfare pitch bombs from 20, feet in the morning, causing untold suffering to a civilian popula- tion, and then eat hamburgers for dinner hundreds of miles away from the drop zone. The prehistoric warrior met his foe in a direct struggle of sinew, muscle, and spirit. If flesh was torn or bone broken he felt it give way under his hand. Gwynne Dyer tells us that they used the standard mixture of bombs, with huge numbers of four-pound incendiaries to start fires on roofs and thirty-pound ones to penetrate deeper inside buildings, together with four thousand-pound high explosive bombs to blow in doors and windows over wide areas and fill the streets with craters and rubble to hinder fire-fighting equipment.
But on a hot, dry summer night with good visibility, the unusually tight concentration of the bombs in a densely populated working class district created a new phenomenon in history: a firestorm. Eventually it covered an area of about four square miles, with an air temperature at the center of eight hundred degrees Celsius and convection winds blowing inward with hurricane force.
One survivor said the sound of the wind was "like the Devil laughing. Practically all the apartment blocks in the firestorm area had underground shelters, but nobody who stayed in them survived; those who were not cremated died of carbon monoxide poisoning. But to venture into the streets was to risk being swept by the wind into the very heart of the firestorm.
Seventy thousand people died at Hamburg the night the air caught fire.
They were mostly women, children, and the elderly, since those of soldiering age were generally at the front. They died horrible deaths, burning and suffocating. But when it is done from thousands of feet in the air, where the screams cannot be heard and the burning bodies cannot be seen, it is easy. It seemed as though the whole of Hamburg was on fire from one end to the other and a huge column of smoke was towering well above us — and we were at 20, feet! Set in the darkness was a turbulent dome of bright red fire, lighted and ignited like the glowing heart of a vast brazier.
I saw no streets, no outlines of buildings, only brighter fires which flared like yellow torches against a background of bright red ash. Above the city was a misty red haze. I looked down, fascinated but aghast, satisfied yet horrified.
In front of me I could see only fire — every- thing red, like the door to a furnace. An intense heat struck me. A burning beam fell in front of my feet. I shied back but then, when I was ready to jump over it, it was whirled away by a ghostly hand. The sheets around me acted as sails and I had the feeling that I was being carried away by the storm. I reached the front of a five-story building.
Someone came out, grabbed me in their arms, and pulled me into the doorway. Eighty thousand or so died in during a similar firebombing in Dresden.
When the atomic bomb was dropped over Hiroshima, seventy thousand died. Throughout World War II bomber crews on both sides killed millions of women, children, and elderly people, no different from their own wives, children, and parents. The pilots, navigators, bombardiers, and gunners in these aircraft were able to bring themselves to kill these civilians primarily through application of the mental leverage provided to them by the distance factor.
Intellectually, they understood the horror of what they were doing. Emotionally, the distance involved permitted them to deny it. Despite what a recent popular song might tell us, from a distance you don't look anything like a friend. From a distance, I can deny your humanity; and from a distance, I cannot hear your screams. Babylon In B. King Sennacherib of Assyria destroyed the city of Babylon: I leveled the city and its houses from the foundations to the top, I destroyed them and consumed them with fire.
I tore down and removed the outer and inner walls, the temples and the ziggurats built of brick, and dumped the rubble in the Arahtu canal. And after I had destroyed Babylon, smashed its gods and massacred its population, I tore up its soil and threw it into the Euphrates so that it was carried by the river down to the sea.
Gwynne Dyer uses this quote to point out that although more labor intensive than nuclear weapons, the physical effect on Babylon was litlle different from the effect of nuclear weapons at Hiroshima or firebombs at Dresden. Physically the effect is the same, but psychologically the difference is tremendous. No personal accounts of this horror have lasted through the ages, but we can see an echo of murder on such a scale in the accounts of survivors of Nazi atrocities.
cognitive.grossman.pdf - Grossman D( On killing The
In the corners amid human ex- crement and abandoned wrist-watches lie squashed, trampled in- fants, naked little monsters with enormous heads and bloated bellies.
We carry them out like chickens, holding several in each hand. She remains face down, kicking the gravel with her feet, until she stiffens. Borowski knew that with these Jewish victims of a later-day Babylon "experienced professionals will probe into every recess of their flesh, will pull the gold from under the tongue and the diamonds from the uterus and the colon. Even the Nazis usually segregated sexes and families and could seldom bring themselves to individually bayonet their victims.
They preferred machine guns upon occasion, and gas chamber showers for the really big work.
The horror of Babylon staggers the imagination. I had no feeling of guilt. I had no feeling of accomplishment. There was no distinction in the results — in both, the innocent populations involved died horribly and their cities were destroyed.
So what is the difference? The difference is the difference between what the Nazi execu- tioners did to the Jews and what the Allied bombardiers did to Germany and Japan. The difference is the difference between what Lieutenant Calley did to a village full of Vietnamese, and what many pilots and artillerymen did to similar Vietnamese villages. We cannot understand how anyone could perform such inhuman atrocities on their fellow man.
We call it murder, and we hunt down and prosecute the criminals responsible, be they Nazi war criminals or American war criminals. And by prosecuting these individuals we gain peace of mind by affirming to ourselves that this is an aberration that civilized societies do not tolerate.
But when most people think of those who bombed Hamburg or Hiroshima, there is no feeling of disgust for the deed, certainly not the intensity of disgust felt for Nazi executioners.
W h e n we mentally empathize with the bomber crews, when we put ourselves in their places, most cannot truly see themselves doing any different than they did. Therefore we do not judge them as criminals. We rationalize their actions and most of us have a gut feeling that we could have done what the bomber crews did, but could not ever have done what the executioners did. W h e n we reach out with empathy in these circumstances, we also empathize with the victims.
Oddly enough, very few survivors of strategic bombing in Britain and Germany suffered from long- term emotional trauma resulting from their experiences, while most of the survivors of Nazi concentration camps — and many soldiers in battle — did and continue to do so. Incredibly, yet undeniably, there is a qualitative distinction in the eyes of those who suffered: Glenn Gray, a trained philosopher, served in an intelligence unit in World War II that was responsible for dealing with civilians ranging from spies to Nazi collaborators to survivors of concentra- tion camps.
He understood this qualitative distinction in the man- ner of death: Not the frequency of death but the manner of dying makes a qualitative difference. Death in war is commonly caused by mem- bers of my own species actively seeking my end, despite the fact that they may never have seen me and have no personal reason for enmity.
Even our legal system is established around a determination of intent. Emotionally and intellectually we can readily grasp the difference between premeditated murder and manslaughter. The distinction based on intent represents an institutionalization of our emotional responses to these situations. The issue of relative trauma in killing situations for both the victim and the killer was addressed earlier.
It is sufficient to say here that at some instinctive, empathic level both survivors and historical observers understand the qualitative distinction between dying in a bombing attack and dying in a concentration camp.
Bombing deaths are buffered by the all-important factor of distance. They represent an impersonal act of war in which specific deaths are unintended and almost accidental in nature. Execution of innocent civilians, a subject to be addressed later in this study, is on the other hand a highly personal act of psychotic irrationality that openly refutes the humanity of the victims.
Ultimately, the difference is distance.
Chapter Six Killing at Hand-to-Hand-Combat Range In modern battle, which is delivered with combatants so far apart, man has come to have a horror of man. He comes to hand-to- hand fighting only to defend his body or if forced to it. While some who have studied the subject claim that man is the only higher-order species that does not have an instinctive resistance to killing his own species, its existence is recognized by almost any high-level karate practitioner.
An obvious method of killing an opponent involves a crushing blow to the throat. In movie combat we often see one individual grab another by the throat and attempt to choke him. And Holly- wood heroes give the enemy a good old punch in the jaw. In both instances a blow to the throat with the hand held in various prescribed shapes would be a vastly superior form of disabling or killing the foe, yet it is not a natural act; it is a repellent one.
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O n e karate instructor trains his high-level students in this killing technique by having them practice punching their thumbs into oranges held or taped over the eye socket of an opponent.
As we will observe when we study the process by which the U. Army raised its firing rates from 15 to 20 percent in World War II to 90 to 95 percent in Vietnam, this procedure of precisely rehearsing and mimicking a killing action is an excellent way of ensuring that the individual is capable of performing the act in combat.
In the case of the orange held over the victim's eye, the process is made even more realistic by having the victim scream, twitch, and jerk as the killer punches his thumb to the hilt into the orange and then rips it back out.
Few individuals can walk away from their first such rehearsal without being badly shaken and disturbed by the action they have just mimicked. The fact that they are overcoming some form of natural resistance is obvious. Tracy Arnold, an actress in the X-rated for violence movie Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, passed out twice during the filming of a scene in which her character was portrayed stabbing a man in the eye with a rat-tailed comb.
This is a professional actress. She can portray killing, lying, and sex on the screen with relative ease, but even the pretense of stabbing someone in the eye seems to have touched a resistance so powerful and deep-seated that her body and emotions — the tools of the professional actress — liter- ally refused to cooperate.
It is often described as deliberate act of taking someone's life, sometimes after observing the victim for extended period of time thus making the victim much more human for the sniper than for a common grunt taking potshots at fleeing shadows. It is worth observing that it is this unique intimacy of sniper's "kill" that it makes the sniper so hated by the enemy that the sniper doesn't expect to be allowed to live if captured alive by the enemy. Dislike for snipers is so intense that it is even displayed by soldiers on his own side!
As for the fighter pilot aces with multiple digit kills, Grossman puts them into the 2 percent that are natural killers people who don't exhibit hesitation for killing other human being who may actually derive pleasure from the act.
What he doesn't take into consideration is the fact that shooting down an airplane during WWI and WII was no easy task by any means and doing it repeatedly required a combination of many rare skills. That in itself limit the pool of possible fighter aces to a very small group of people. As for enjoyment of the kill, I invite both readers of this review and Mr.
Grossman himself to study films and images of pilots made immediately after their return from successful sortie.
My impression is always that as they demonstrate with their hands the maneuvers they and their opponents made during the dogfight, their joy seems to derive from outwitting a skilled foe and proving that they were better than the opponent, not from the fact that they possibly killed another human being. The last issue that I have with this book is this - there are several occasions where Grossman refers to Greek and Roman military organizations.
As a student of military history since more than twenty years ago, I found those references uniformly suspect or just plain wrong. His conclusions in regard of Vegetius lack any credibility the comment makes perfect sense, when considering the fact that it was made during the period when spatha was replacing gladius hispaniensis and Grossman's comment about Roman soldier's unwillingness to thrust his sword into an opponent is pure speculation.
On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
Supposition that centurions were equivalent of modern officers, controlling and motivating common soldiers from the rear lacks, to our best knowledge, any factual foundation.
In fact, if one is to draw any conclusions from primary sources that on several occasions mention disproportionately high casualty rates among centurions and optios, it is easy to come to the conclusion that Roman "commissioned officers" led by example and from the front. Grossman's references to Greek warfare are equally incorrect- it was common praxis as proved by contemporary military manuals that survived to our days to place file leaders i.Based on Marshall's studies the military instituted training measures to break down this resistance and successfully raised soldiers' firing rates to over 90 percent during the Vietnam War.
Grossman's use of works of Noseworthy and Griffith in regard of American Civil War combatants is another thing that awakened my suspicion. And yet, the armageddon of violence failed to occur.
Imagination flags and fails altogether when distances become too great. Despite what a recent popular song might tell us, from a distance you don't look anything like a friend.
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