Reddit Reddit reviews On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society

We found 146 Reddit comments about On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
On Killing The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
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146 Reddit comments about On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society:

u/so_there_i_was · 111 pointsr/todayilearned

On Killing goes into quite a bit of detail on this.

u/shallnotreply · 65 pointsr/pics

Except for the one guy that doesn't fear death and correctly sights his shots. That guy turns the battle.

It's actually been a big part of military training since WWII to get soldiers to overcome their natural resistance to killing. Figures from modern conflicts show a much more dangerous soldier than in Germany, Korea, or Vietnam. This is worth a read if the subject matters interests you. I read it as a new release and remarked on reddit at the time that it had major implications for America's Police services as it was an popular career choice after the military (and is armed), but I got downvoted to oblivion.

u/WobbegongWonder · 48 pointsr/IAmA

"On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs" by Lt. Dave Grossman. This may be too much to state, but to me this paper represents the "ethos" of the professional soldier within the Western societies.

I also highly recommend his other book "On Killing". As a civilian, and one who has not witnessed the terror of war, this is a read that is a must. I made a note to stop after each chapter in order to think, imagine, and reflect on what was written.

My deepest respect to those who fight the dirty, awful (& sometimes quiet) wars for us.

*cleaned links

u/freshfishfinderforty · 37 pointsr/nevertellmetheodds

Clearly you don't trust random people on the internet. here is a well sourced and respected book if you would like to know more.

u/MachoMcFearless · 34 pointsr/Showerthoughts

Great book on this called "On Killing - the Psychological Costs of Learning to Kill in War and Society

On Killing - Amazon UK


It explores killing in war through history and the effects, largely linked to proximity of the kill, had detrimental effects on the killer.

Some notable facts about the book that I can remember after reading it 10 years ago:

Knife/Bayonett kills, though exceptionally rare in more recent wars, had the most devastating effects. Soldiers cited as feeling a man's last breath had a big hurdle to climb.

American soldiers in WWII were exceptionally bad shots, especially when shooting Germans. Turns out most Americans didn't want to kill people, even during the heroic march to victory. All-time terrible percentage of shooting.

War attracts psychopaths and make up something like 5% of combatants who are out to kill and not the norm.


If you are interested in this topic I highly recommend the book. Things I read have stayed with me and it never surprises me how much this topic comes up in conversation.

u/MrNotSoBright · 29 pointsr/pics

You should read "On Killing".

In a lot of ways, you kinda do need "propaganda", or things like it, to REALLY get someone to hate another person they've never met, to the point of wanting to kill them, especially on a battlefield. Most people in battles aren't filled with rage, they're filled with a a shitload of fear butting up against lot of training designed to try and counteract it.

u/Lovemidget · 28 pointsr/guns

There've been studies and books written by people on the subject. The military as a whole puts a pretty big emphasis on being able to actually kill your enemy when it comes down to it.

u/CossRooper · 24 pointsr/todayilearned

Actually, I think you've got it a bit mixed up. Soldiers in Korea and WW2 statistically were pretty likely to fire over the enemies' head. The military remedied this by making rifle training in later wars training in firing your weapon as a quick reflex rather than solely an exercise in accuracy and discernment.

At least that's how it was explained to me by a professor, who cited Dave Grossman's 'On Killing', which I haven't read yet. However, the description seems to agree:

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 techniques developed by the military to overcome that 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." Grossman 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." Grossman, a professor of military science at Arkansas State University, has written a study of relevance to a society of escalating violence.

That section on Video games makes my stomach turn, but I can't judge til I've read it.

u/RileyFenn · 23 pointsr/facepalm

>My paper has nothing to do with section 8 or chapter 8.

That's good. Please don't try to claim to know about either.

>PTSD is heavily linked to batshit crazy. But I do know the difference.

No. No. It's not. PTSD is the human psyche's response to an unnatural situation. It's a coping mechanism. It is 180* from batshit crazy. Please - if you are going to write this paper? Get some good sources... On Killing is a good place to start and then you can google your local county's vet rep (usually unemployment offices in the county will have one) and then? Get you head out of you ass.

>No, I have not "served", but I have enlisted. So officially, I am in the military. Or air force, if you will.

OMG. PLEASE go tell someone serving that you made it through MEPS so you're in the military. Please tell someone from another branch - or shit - go talk to another recruiter from another branch - and tell them you're "in the military" because you processed for the Air Force.

You do know that untill you're at basic that there isn't anything anyone can do to you, right? You may be a DEP but that is just a piece of paper and a promise to your recruiter. No one is going to show up if you don't go into your little admin job for the Air Force in a couple of months.... but - good on ya! I'm so proud that some little college kid thinks he's special because he signed a piece of paper and now he's "in the military." LOL

>My paper will have nothing to do with my experience.

That's good. Because you don't have any but apparently you think that anyone with PTSD is batshit crazy? Hmmm... are you a little biased? Wow. You will have some fun with your Top 3.

>Its solely based on my research and veterans testimony's.

"veteran testimony" is what you meant to type. You need to read some real world resources and not think PTSD is a mental disease. It's a normal response to an abnormal situation. Until you understand that? I can't help you

Thanks for thinking you're in the military and you can "speak for us".... SMH....

u/the_termites · 22 pointsr/gaming

It's really just training overall. I have never shot an enemy at close range, but I did listen to one of my friends describe it. We had been doing glass houses over and over and over and over. He went in a room with a team, shot a guy in the face, the team leader called the room clear, and they made it through the rest of the building before he said it really hit him that he had just shot someone else at point blank. Everything else was primal instinct combined with muscle memory.

Fascinating read on this topic.

EDIT: glass houses are a way to train clearing buildings room by room.

u/Bockon · 19 pointsr/PublicFreakout

The reality is that most humans do not want to seriously harm other humans. If you learn to throw an effective punch it absolutely could result in a serious or fatal injury. And when it comes to harming and killing a person, the physical distance from the target is a huge factor. Killing someone in hand to hand combat or from a very close distance is sometimes referred to as "sexual range" and is the most traumatic to the person doing the killing. Thus the reason PTSD is less frequent in soldiers that were snipers or that participated in carpet bombing.

Edit: This book is a good place to learn more about this topic.

u/Awarenesss · 13 pointsr/videos

I highly suggest reading On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Dave Grossman. It gives excellent insight into how the military desensitizes people to killing and the effects it has had on soldiers, past and present.

u/Jugglnaught · 11 pointsr/Anarchism

On a side note, the guy spear heading this field of study is psychologist and former military officer David Grossman. I'd recommend reading his book On Killing to get a glimpse into military mentality and how people are conditioned by states to be killers, and what affect it has on them later.

In a nutshell, Grossman states that only around 2% of the population are natural killers. The rest hold a strong aversion to violence, even when their safety is threatened. It's almost as if we'd rather live in peace than kill each other. Weird!

Anyway, the way you condition an "ordinary" person to be a killer is to condition them to respect authority, have authority figures closely supervise the individual, have a group culture where peers expect the individual to kill, and finally you must train the individual to kill in a realistic setting. In the Army we were made to attack rubber, human shaped dummies with bayonets, as well to shoot at human shaped pop-up targets on the firing range. Grossman theorized that using human-like targets increased the soldiers' firing rate (their willingness to shoot at the enemy) from 20% in WWII to 90% in US involvement in Vietnam.

Of course, Grossman could use this information to rail against war and militarism. Unfortunately, like many military peeps, he's selling out to the cops for an easy buck. Fucker.

u/aequalsa · 10 pointsr/AskHistorians

'On Killing' by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman I found to be an extremely enlightening look at the effects of combat. Although the historical aspects are primarily from the Civil War forward(especially Vietnam), he does reference earlier combat. Touches on purification ceremonies(parades), the heroes journey, the travel there and back, and a number of other issues dealing with how societies have dealt with these effects. 5 stars. (I'm not a professional historian)

u/Joseph_hpesoJ · 9 pointsr/WTF

not sure which documentary he is talking about but i read On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society and HIGHLY recommend it.

u/crazyrich · 9 pointsr/bestof

I'll make a recommendation I make a few times a year here on Reddit an suggest reading On Killing by Lt. Col. David Grossman:

Dave Grossman goes over a human's natural disinclination to kill in fine detail, using historical war records of proof. Then, he analyzes how modern war training (Vietnam and beyond) is built around overcoming these natural aversions, and of course how bloodlust can take control where training does not (as it does here). A lot of interesting bits on how physical or mechanical distance lessons phychological reactions to the act and how soldiers make justifications in the moment.

His answer to the "what's next" question is total and unconditional support of soldiers that return home that have not been perpetrators of atrocities. They need to know that what they did was necessary, that they did it for their country, that we are proud of what they've done and appreciate it. The exposure of civilians to the horrors of war by the media in Vietnam, and the public's reaction to the soldier's returning, is cted as a primary reason for the mental illness wave that affects the veterans of that war disproportionately.

You may not support going to war - the justifications or methods - but you must always support the men and women sent to kill and die by our government as they are serving their country in the best way they know how, and it is important to validate that sacrifice.

u/FMentallo · 9 pointsr/politics

Organizations like Blackwater don't hire run-of-the-mill soldiers. They often hire out of special forces organizations and the like.

For one: Special forces groups tend to train their soldiers a bit better, and they educate them on the stresses and psychological effects that combat will have on them. This makes them more able to cope with the difficulties brought on by the High-tempo work they do.

Similar training will be found in any high-tempo/specialized combat trades (including law enforcement). The book On Combat covers such ideas.

Unfortunately, this kind of training is not as widespread as it should be, so people who aren't experienced and trained go oversees, kill somebody, and hey are not adequately prepared to deal with what that means.

Edit: Books

On Combat

And more specifically for handling Killing a man:

On Killing

u/SavageHenry0311 · 8 pointsr/CCW

First of all, I don't think you did anything wrong. If the worst thing that happens to you is an invigorating drive in the cool night air - well, that ain't so bad, is it?

In a perfect world, you'd have single-handedly apprehended the thief, fucked his sister, and rode off into the sunset with the theme from The Magnificent 7 playing at full volume. And in a perfect world I'd own a yacht and a nationwide chain of liquor stores, too.

I recommend you take a look at Cooper's Color Code, and maybe pick up a copy of On Killing. There are several different variations of Cooper's work out there, and some folks have tweaked it (for better and worse).

The reason I'm pointing this out to you is that I think you went from Condition White straight to Condition Black.

I want you to know that this shit happens. I am a combat vet and a ghetto paramedic - used to stress and interpersonal conflict, and I'm fully aware that it could happen to me - especially in the situation you described. Nobody is ready to "throw down" anywhere, anytime unless you're patrolling in a war zone. I could sit here and fantasize/pontificate about hasty-ambushing that thief until I'm blue in the fingers, but in reality being jerked into a conflict after sitting in a safe, familiar place immersed for hours in the fumes of Microsoft Excel (or whatever)...I'd be surprised if I didn't freeze up a bit myself. I can tell you for sure it wouldn't go down as perfectly as I'd want it to. This ain't Hollywood, and I ain't Jason Bourne.

Now, what you can do is learn about this phenomenon and how it affects you, thereby mitigating it's negative effects in the future.

The other thing to recognize here is the mere fact that you experienced this means you'll have more agency over yourself next time. It won't seem so shocking, so alien. You'll process it faster, and decide what to do more quickly.

And please don't kill anyone over a broken car window.

u/tigalicious · 8 pointsr/AskFeminists


Art imitates life, which imitates art, in a loop that constantly feeds each other information about what's societally acceptable. I absolutely do not mean anything dramatic like "video games cause violence". But there is a very common argument defending violence or sexism in video games: it sells. The intention of the argument is to suggest that profit-seeking is an amoral motivation. But all that seems to do is point out evidence for the opposite stance, which is that violence and sexism are popular. People like to see it, enough people to make it a viable business strategy. So by taking that "amoral" stance, media producers choose to feed that popularity instead of commenting on it or just feeding a different part of our cultural values.

But recognizing that pattern does not mean assigning blame. Sexism is an accidental, literally ignorant action much more often than it is evil mustache-twisting. But in trying to combat the pattern of sexism going around, there are two different entry points here; the art, or the consumers. So some people put their efforts into directly educating people, while others (like Sarkeesian) critique the art.

I agree that discussing Sarkeesian herself and her strategies would need it's own post, but I hope this helps with your main question, at least. If it's something you're interested in reading more about, "On Killing" by Dave Grossman, was a really influential book for me when I began reading about this subject. Most of the book addresses other issues, but his section on desensitization through media consumption was eye-opening for me.

u/le-chacal · 7 pointsr/infp

On the one hand I notice this trait in myself in watching violent movies and reading military history. Right now I'm reading The Kindly Ones by Johnathan Littell. It's a historical memoir written from the perspective of an officer in the Einsatzgruppen on the Eastern Front as Nazi Germany advances towards Moscow and later his experiences in the concentration camps. Even when I was in middle school I remember my parents would ask me why can't I read about good things. I have no interest in reading about good people unless they are destroying evil people. When I was 14, I rode my bike to the library to read the book On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society in secret. It was an enlightening survey on the true cost of taking a human life. The book as a whole really struck a cord in me when it broke people down into categories of sheep, sheep dogs, and wolves here's the article.

But I also think people have a tendency for voyeurism. The film Nigh Crawler comes to mind. People are seeking a hit of dopamine on the late night news from garden variety brutality and macabre. The Amanda Knox trial or the German pilot who just crashed the jetliner into the Alps. Shit, they're probably about to talk about a murder in the inner city right now.

u/angryundead · 7 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

Not just Arabs: you have to be trained to kill. To minimize the psychological hesitation in the moment. To put rounds on target (on people) instead of just in the vague direction of people. Turns out humans just don't like to kill other humans (or at least at scale).

Some books a Marine recommended to me once: On Killing and Training for the Fight. There are criticisms of both books but it is a continuing field of study.

u/the_Stick · 6 pointsr/Professors

Several years ago at our introductory fall faculty meeting (where we also introduce brand new faculty to everyone), our head of counseling services addressed the faculty body with the following remarks:

"I cant tell you the medications these students are on but it's scary."

"The next Virginia Tech shooter is on our campus right now."

Were I prone to believe his hysteria, I would carry on campus whether legal or not. However, he struck me as not terribly competent (and maybe sampling some of the students' meds himself) and my interactions with students, even the obviously not all healthy ones, does not make me overly concerned for my safety. It helps that I have nearly 20 years of a particular type of training that emphasizes awareness and peaceful resolution.

But that lads to me address a common refrain I see whenever this topic arises, that only faculty with military/police training should CC on campus. The presumption is that they are properly trained, but that training is disparate. Active duty police only hit what they fire at ~30% of the time (compared to 10% for gang members, I believe but I cannot find that study readily). Military infantry tend to be much higher (~70% iirc), but we tend to stereotype everyone in the army as infantry. One friend of mine spent 20 years in aviation repair work and even though he was deployed never came anywhere close to firing a weapon. He had the basic training and then that was it. However, I also grew up in a rural area where shooting was as common as grilling out or hiking. I knew several people who are experts in firearms who are not "government trained." Many of them I don't think are psychologically ready to handle having to potentially take a life, but several are. u/Geometer99 mentioned the PTSD that would come with having to shoot someone (much less a student you know) and that is very real. One of my combat veteran friends recommended a text written by a military officer and Psychology Ph.D. about that topic and how hard it is for >90% of people to actually shoot at another person. The book is called On Killing and was a very interesting read if a bit redundant between some chapters. It was very fascinating to learn about conditioning (and de-conditioning) techniques used by militaries and other groups.

When it comes to my colleagues, most of my colleagues could not fathom operating a firearm and many are afraid of weapons; there are a tiny handful I would trust. One has several years of military training from his home country. Another has the demeanor. Another trains in the same program I do. But we all have something else in common; I don't think we would carry on campus unless condition were so horrible as to make the likelihood of needing immediate lethal protection readily available. Fortunately, college campuses are very safe and violent incidents are very rare and the climate is not conducive to needing a firearm. My campus borders a really bad area of town and has had a few incidents (and I know several students have weapons on campus). It did only take them two years to park a police cruiser in the parking lot on the edge of campus where the drug deals commonly happened and armed robberies happened fairly often too. But even with that mixing of college and town elements, it has been fairly secure (just don't leave valuables in your car in the far lot). I and my colleagues don't need firearms. But niggling in the back of my contrarian mind is that absence of need should not equate to ban...

u/g2petter · 6 pointsr/offbeat

There's a lot of material about that kind of behaviour in On Killing

u/Reddit_Moviemaker · 6 pointsr/todayilearned

You need to read

"The good news is that most soldiers are loath to kill. But armies have developed sophisticated ways of overcoming this instinctive aversion. And contemporary civilian society, particularly the media, replicates the army's conditioning techniques, and, according to Lt. Col. Dave Grossman's thesis, is responsible for our rising rate of murder among the young."
This book gives you some perspective about the science behind making people to kill and that way "part of the group" - and why it is thought to be necessary. I would not be surprised if same kind of "science" would be part of intelligence "training". Which is quite scary thought.

u/Jamnit · 6 pointsr/todayilearned

Propagating the myth that killing is easy even for trained and well-regimented soldiers.

u/EyeDoubtIt · 6 pointsr/ProtectAndServe

He has a few books. In particular:

u/Terra_Nullius · 6 pointsr/AskReddit

I think the censorship news is a bit of a media beatup TBH. That said, I think the whole censorship system in Australia needs an overhaul. My attitudes to censorship have changed significantly vis-a-vis first person shooters since I finished reading Dave Grossman's On Killing.

Edited because I am retarded. Then I had to edit again because I can't spell edited without checking.

u/OLDDIRTHILL · 6 pointsr/ProtectAndServe

On killing. By Lt. Col. Dave Grossman.

u/Rustic_E · 5 pointsr/ProtectAndServe

These books have helped me tremendously through the hiring process so far. I took recommendations from friends and acquaintances in law enforcement and from searching through previous threads on this subreddit.

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society

Emotional survival for law enforcement: A guide for officers and their families

Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion, Updated Edition

u/Allthisfury · 5 pointsr/Firearms
u/EMartinez86 · 5 pointsr/Military

Your response deserves applause, pretty well thought out. Let me hit the various points:

>It's also no secret that there are fairly prevalent rapes in the military, many of which are not reported for fear of reprimand in some shape or form

This is an instance where you have "Now that we have more people reporting this, we have more reports on file, so since there are more reports on file, there are more rapes!" It's a double edged blade for the higher echelons command. If they convince more people to come forward (remember, these have no statute of limitations under UCMJ) it looks like you have more rapes in your command. Even if they all happened in 1999, it reflects on you. What fear of reprimand? The issue I've seen with reprimand is where a Soldier comes forward with allegations (under oath), then recants it all at a later time. Is intimidation, is it lying, not for us to determine.

>Allowing free relationships among soldiers would no doubt contribute to these, and 'normalize' the idea of sex amongst the enlisted, so that the issue is taken in less severity (e.g. "What? She was fucking those three last week, why not me?")

Not different than College in anyone. Unless you go to BYU.

>Sexualizing your fellow soldiers, using them for 'release', and forming relationships with someone that's meant to be your equal, will do nothing to close this divide, and progress equality in the military.

Relationships are all that matters in the military. On Killing has a good passage on why Soldiers shoot not to save themselves, but to save their buddies, the guy/gal that depends on them.

>Regarding men and women differently, assigning them different duties, allowing/disallowing them to operate on certain kinds of missions, all contributes to separating the troops by gender, when they should be completely conformed and uniform with one another, so as to form a truly cohesive unit with no systematic bias.

The needs of the mission will always come before needs of political correctness. Sort of the equivalent of why the LEAST mission essential person pulls off their gas mask first, not the lowest ranking.

>Banning interpersonal relationships, punishing infractions, and fully integrating all soldiers into the same fold, would all contribute to a more uniform, genderless unit, as part of this process is not only training women and men to the same standard, but to untrain the attitudes and gender roles that we naturally adhere to in society.

This could work in a draft Army...maybe, but we train our guys to think and feel. Usually they do very little in both regards, but in the Whole Soldier concept you end up with a soldier who can ethically engage in land combat operations.

>nor is it the place to carry on romantic relationships with your equals.

General Order, no boning in theater. Double bonus points under UCMJ if your boning and cheating at the same time.

>Training men and women to separate standards is already unjust, and outright nonsensical in my opinion, but we completely separate men and women in such a way, that they're not being trained (again, from my understanding) to be fully cohesive and without bias, ignorant to gender, and fully equal.

The only times training is separate is when it is training conducting in living quarters. The military can be down-right archaic with that sometimes, with punishments handed out for passing by an opposite gender tent to closely/often. The appearance of impropriety is enough to justify punishment for impropriety sometimes.

>A man might now take a risk for a woman on the battlefield that he would not have due to dangerous conditions for a man.

Shit, that works out in everyone's favor, right? No not really. Risk takers either end up dead, or hero's, or both. You don't look at Gender when you risk your own ass, you look at your buddy, that person that depends on you to pull your weight so you both end up back to the rear in one piece.

>There are of course also the obvious issues of STD's, pregnancy, emotional issues due to relationship-related stresses, and the ever-possible...

STD's are prevalent already, military towns, even ones with larger bases are pretty inbred boning pots. Relationship-related stresses, any more than being separate from a spouse that has no idea what you do on a day to day basis, and can't understand why you are working late again for the mission? Myself and the misses see each other for possibly 90 minutes a night before it's time to rack out and do PT again.

>and dare I say, "inevitable" abuse of superiority

From my experience watching this, the lower ranking individual, tends to wield the power in those relationship. Consider it emotional and career blackmail. Best example I saw was an E-3 & E-8. The moment the senior tried to break it off, the junior ran and told the CoC. Beep beep, you let your dick drive the bus that ran you over Bro!

>Rough-necks do it

That's nice, I see the Rangers and SF do it too, because there are no females around them. But remember it takes 2 to tango, so what happens if we demographically split the Rough Necks down the middle and toss in physically equal (Do you even lift?) women?

>Again, all completely conjecture and personal opinion., feel free to tear me a new one and disagree, I'm not claiming to have any more insight than anyone else here on the intricacies of military life.

No problems, it was a well thought out response.

u/erisanu · 5 pointsr/MorbidReality

I know this isn't what you're looking for or asking of the above poster, but I thought it relevant to what you're asking about so figured I'd share. You seem interested in a way that implied you might read a book about it, and this is a fantastic book for that. He has others like it, too. Very illuminating perspectives on the reality of the human experience of violence and war, especially from the soldier's view.

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

It's not about the military specifically teaching dehumanization of the enemy, but the book examines the methods used by the military to overcome a person's innate aversion to murdering another human, and what that does in the long run to the minds of the soldiers. Dehumanization may be a part of that for some? It's been a few years since I read it, but I know it gets touched on.

>Stressing that human beings have a powerful, innate resistance to the taking of life, he examines the techniques developed by the military to overcome that 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." Grossman 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 siimilar to the army's conditioning of soldiers

u/RogerVanRabbit · 4 pointsr/JusticeServed

Actually, Dave Grossman did a more comprehensive study & analysis as per his book "On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society", and it does show a lot of the same stuff. He does say that the WWII study is not beyond reproach though, you are right. But there's something to it If I remember well.

u/Kemah · 4 pointsr/AskWomen

Been loving the responses so far! My own preferences have been changing, and I've been reading a lot more non-fiction than I used to. It has really opened the doors to a lot of books I would not have considered reading before!

On my reading list:

The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley - this is what I'm almost finished with now. It has been a really insightful read on how little prepared society is for disasters, and the steps we should take to help fix that.

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker - I've seen this mentioned on reddit a few times and it's in the same vein as the book I'm currently reading.

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog by Bruce D. Perry

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries - I'm currently working in the startup industry, and have read similar books to this.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz - same as the book above. This is currently going around my office right now so I should be reading it soon!

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk M.D. - this was recommended to me by a friend when he learned I was reading The Unthinkable and The Gift of Fear. Honestly really looking forward to reading this one!

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society

Books I'd recommend:

Blink by Malcom Gladwell - all about the subconscious mind and the clues we pick up without realizing it. Pretty sure reading this book has helped me out in weird situations.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance - amazing read about how Elon Musk works and the person he is.

The Circle by Dave Eggers - just don't watch the movie :)

u/stackedmidgets · 4 pointsr/Anarcho_Capitalism

>This is extremely key. If any such loosely affiliated people clinging to this one term (ancap) is going to progress, distinct and close knit groups must form around different sets of ideological values. This is why, in its current state, violence in the name of ancapism makes no sense. There is no unified goal, no unified definition of terms even.


>This is an interesting paradox I have been trying to think through. Lets say you have an ancap territory. You want people to interact peacefully and whatnot. However, in the real world you need "nasties". You need people who can assassinate, kill, spy, and destroy your enemies.

>The solution seems to be ideology. Similar to the idea of Jihad, or "war" where under certain circumstances these things are OK, but in others they are not. The killers need to be indoctrinated to understand the different instances in which certain methods are permitted. I don't think it is that hard to leave the battle field and reintegrate otherwise there would be a whole lot more violence here in the US and in the countries that jihadists come from.

The best work I've read on this is 'On Killing' by Lt. Col. David Grossman. I'm not a military man, but someone who's been an officer or an enlisted leader can comment on whether or not they think it's a good book. This is a big problem, but according to American military thinkers, the American military has been better at training these kinds of killers than even the Prussian professional military of the 19th century as measured by willingness for units to fire on human targets with intent to kill.

This is a really hard problem that requires strong institutions to cultivate. I'm going off memory because I sold the book, but the person that the military attempts to train is the 'virtuous psychopath,' meaning someone who kills without hesitation while following the strictures and values embodied by the broader organization. Is this a sensible goal? Has it been achieved? I'm not sure. My sense is kinda-but-not-really. Any impressive innovations at the tactical level in the American military are greatly overwhelmed by the permanent strategic retardation of the political leadership -- namely that it's continually fighting wars with no solid justification, killing people for no purpose, without reference to the cost.

That book is all about that problem specifically and how the modern American military has attempted to solve it: conditioning people to be killers within the bounds of the law and the structure of command.

There are also of course thousands of years of accumulated material on this topic, and I'm unqualified to survey it in a way that would satisfy my standards. This is an extremely hard problem whether you go about it from either religious or secular means. The societies that solve this problem better than others are the ones that thrive.

Are jihadis really good at this? They're pretty terrible when you think about it. In Syria, they're an irregular mob. They behead people in public, burn folks alive, rape women, and slaughter civilians pushed up against walls with automatic weapons fire. When the mujaheddin entered power in Afghanistan, after long preparation as mountain-fighters, rapers of prisoners of war, and religious fanatics, they proceeded to institute a backwards theocracy. That isn't the sort of professional martial elite that knows how to stand aside and give civilians room to build up property and flourish. That very idea of a prosperous civilian society is utterly foreign to their way of thinking. That's not why men are on this earth from their perspective.

War never ends for them, even if jihad is over. And it's hard to end jihad against the Soviets when there's other targets worthy of jihad out there.

As American military standards have become more lax, and standard atrocities like torture have become acceptable, policing has become more brutal and war-like. This shows the great danger in permitting discipline to lapse within the military, and with the promotion of wonton war for no strategic purpose. The previous legal standards of limited war between European states promoted civilization for this reason. Unfortunately, the Americas have never been terribly civilized.

u/pinkfreude · 4 pointsr/Military

On Killing by army psychologist Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. Scary title I know, but this is one of the few books that has ever made me feel better about humanity.

u/Andy5416 · 4 pointsr/army

On Killing is a pretty good one that talks about how soldiers have adapted through the ages to overcome the aversion to killing. A bunch of the 12B's in my platoon were reading it and I didn't even know they could read.

u/Halo6819 · 4 pointsr/Fantasy_Bookclub

Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond: An amazing look at how civilization was formed

On Killing by Dave Grossman: If your characters kill anyone, know what it will do to them

*edit: Hero of a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell: You think Eragon is a rip off of Star Wars, or that Star Wars is a rip off of Jesus, or that Jesus is a rip off of some obscure norwegan god, find out the true origins of just about everything you have ever read and find out why Harry Potter had to die and had to come back from the dead!

u/vdmsr · 3 pointsr/CCW

Mindset, On Combat, On Killing, by Grossman. Also Leadership and Training for the Fight: Using Special Operations Principles to Succeed in Law Enforcement, Business, and War by Paul Howe.

As far as tactics go, get yourself some hands on training, depending where you are, you may have "tactical" instructors close that can put together a class.

u/nicktavener · 3 pointsr/CCW

Edit: spelling and formatting

I won't push any guns on you(look at my flair if you want to know what I carry.) Do not walk into a shop and just buy a gun. Go to a range and rent guns, go with a friend that owns guns, ask everybody you can what their opinion on their guns are. If at any time someone seems emotional while bashing a brand then stop listening to them. I don't buy Glock because they don't feel right in my hand, but it is still one of the most popular guns because it is reliable. Find what works for you and then buy.

Hickok45 - He is great. He uses a wide variety of guns and ammo and he has a few episodes where he compares guns.

Legal Carry

Massad Ayoob - One of if not the best in the business. Read anything and everything you can find from him.

Shoot to Live(1/8)

Judicious use of Force(1/2)

Make the time to watch these videos and the rest in each series. These are mobile YouTube links if they don't work for you I will edit them when I get to a computer.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman Get his books and read them.

On Combat

On Killing

Storage Where is your gun going to be when not in its holster? All of my pistols are in a safe.

Home Defense Handguns aren't the best for home defense because of the possibility of shooting friendlies and bystanders through walls. Think about shotguns for that.

Holster and Placement I have a Crossbreed Supertuck for my .45 and a Galco basic ankle holster for my .380. If you know people that own and carry you could ask them if you can try their holster/gun combo around their house(unloaded.) At ranges or shops ask what others use and why. There are multiple places you can carry a gun(shoulder, pocket, ankle, hip.) The hip has the most variety because you have your whole waist for placement as well as looking at inside the waistband(IWB) and outside the waistband(OWB.)Look them up and practice drawing from those areas. What feels more natural? Sidenote: If you carry in your pocket then buy a pocket holster. It blocks the trigger guard so nothing(pens or keys) pulls the trigger while its in your pocket.

Ammo Certain guns can shoot any brand others can not. Buy a box of each brand in the caliber you end up getting. Do some research first! Some brands straight up suck. Pick out the weeds and try what's left. While practicing use basic ball ammo. When carrying you should be using hollow points. These will add stopping power and help lessen the chance of over penetration.

Laws Look up your local laws. Learn them and memorize them. Ignorance is not an excuse and you will get charged for breaking laws. Find a local attorney that does cases involving guns(self defense or accidental discharge.) You don't need to put them on retainer but get their card so if something ever happens you can call a lawyer that knows what they are doing.

u/MiNDJ · 3 pointsr/CombatFootage

I'm going to recommend this book:

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society from Dave Grossman

The book is based on SLA Marshall's studies from World War II, which proposed 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. Based on Marshall's studies the military instituted training measures to break down this resistance and successfully raised soldier's firing rates to over ninety percent during the war in Vietnam.

Grossman points out that there are great psychological costs that weigh heavily on the combat soldier or police officer who kills if they are not mentally prepared for what may happen; if their actions (killing) are not supported by their commanders and/or peers; and if they are unable to justify their actions (or if no one else justifies the actions for them).

u/Notstrongbad · 3 pointsr/HFY

Hey there. So I wanted to reply to your statement and maybe compare your research experience to my field experience, and maybe expand a little bit on some of the points you made, or refuted.

BTW, I don't know anything about your background other than your writing here, so please don't misconstrue what I say as a judgment on you or our experiences. My perspective comes from 8 years as a US Army soldier, with a few overseas tours, and 4 years as a LEO.

I think a good insight into the original OP's comments is LTC Dave Grossman's book On Killing. Grossman breaks down his own research into the killing impulse, conditioning, and how killing affects the individual's psyche. I would recommend reading both of his books (On Killing and On Combat) if you haven't done so already.

Although I'm not really qualified to speak to the vast socio-cultural implications of large-scale conflicts (you mention that "War is a contest of wills"), I can talk a little about the process of getting one person to kill another without creating massive psychological trauma. (FYI, my experience is US centric, so I'm not remotely qualified to opine on the traditions of other countries.)

Paramount to this process is the concept of "dehumanizing" the enemy. Common slurs used to refer to the enemy throughout our history (kraut, charlie, hajji, raghead, VC, sand-nigg*r, japs, chinks, etc) exist as a way to dehumanize the enemy, making them much easier to kill from a psychological perspective. Humans, as a default, are social creatures. From an evolutionary standpoint, any true violence between groups is a threat to their survival, hence the prevalence of posturing, ceremonial battles, proxy fighting, etc.

I think it may be helpful to step away from a discussion that centers around "soldiers vs warriors" and focus more specifically, and fundamentally, on "humans that can kill without suffering crippling emotional trauma vs humans who can't." If we recognize that basic distinction, then we can begin identifying the underlying characteristics that separate these groups from one another.

The main traits trained into a group of individuals that are expected to kill another person as part of their duties (military, law enforcement, etc) are:

  • the ability to dehumanize the enemy,
  • the ability to overcome the physiological response brought on by imminent interpersonal violence,
  • the ability to sustain an appropriate response after the act of violence has been committed, and
  • the ability to consistently engage in this behavior without an exceptional extrinsic motivator (like somebody threatening your life or your loved ones' life, a heightened emotional state like anger or hatred, etc).

    I think it would be fair to say that many people can exhibit one of these behaviors, but the application of all of these together requires extensive training in desensitization, stress-response control, and muscle memory.

    Killing is an unnatural state of affairs for most people, especially in our fairly evolved social behavior models. That is not to say that people are incapable of violence when presented with no other choice; and also not to imply that there are way more confounding factors than can be explored in a Reddit comment (mental illness, cultural tendencies, extreme hunger/poverty/trauma, etc). But I think it is important to recognize the common threads that tie violent acts together.

    I'm definitely not going to try and refute every single point you've made, since

  1. I'm not a sociologist, just a former cop/soldier, and
  2. This debate is very far from being resolved within the professions that perform this type of research.

    I just read an article that contradicts much of what I've read on the topic (and what I've said here!), but the argument is still quite heated and lively.

    So, anyhow, this is my opinion, and I'm glad we can discuss this openly. Cheers!

    ^(BTW I love your writing.)
u/RandsFoodStamps · 3 pointsr/Military

I was an enlisted soldier working in Army mental health (loved by few, hated by many), so I'm sorry I can't give you any tips on the training pipeline for officers. However, I can answer some questions about what type of work you're going to do.

Standard reading in my unit was On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. I've seen some of the raw data questioned in military forums, but the overall book is still good.

I've talked to countless people who have killed and this book describes the psychological impact of it. There is also a brief history of the training techniques that the military has used to squelch our instinct to not kill others. Very interesting overall.

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/DebateCommunism

I think the difference between structural violence and "killing" is known. I read an interesting book from a military psychologist called On Killing that talks about the long effects of such activity. It is deeply troubling.

I am not saying I am against revolutionary violence, but having shared some very troubling experiences with veterans, I can say that there will be a cost paid for the participants. If the entire situation turns sideways, generations will bear a new type of suffering distinct from simply having a boss yell at them.

So, in sum, I think I am merely saying that violence and killing are not to be taken lightly. The consequences may be unknown or vast.

u/19Kilo · 3 pointsr/politics

Without even looking at any of the "Vidja Games are Ebil" shit coming out of The White House recently, I knew Fucking Col Grossman was involved.

It's not just these days though. He was pretty prominent all through the 90s and 2000s with his anti-video game crusade. He's pretty much the driving force of it.

It's kind of a bummer too, because his first book was actually really interesting when I was a young soldier.

u/sammysausage · 3 pointsr/news

> The problem is how much easier guns make killing. Pulling the trigger on a gun doesn't seem very violent in itself, even though the chain of events that follows are. On the other hand, stabbing someone is extremely violent and much harder, both physically and mentally.

This is false, actually. People hit and club easily, but the hesitation to shoot and stab are about equal. This is based on centuries of observing soldiers in combat; very early on they noticed that the soldiers were mostly shooting to miss. It isn't until you move up to crew operated weapons, like artillery and belt fed machine guns, that that hesitation starts to melt away.

Check out On Killing by Dave Grossman. A lot of good insights on the subject.

u/joxxer42 · 3 pointsr/movies

This book goes into a good bit of detail on the subject. Eye opening read for sure for those of us fortunate enough to not have to deal with having been in that situation. I think the author is mixed in terms of reception in the services but I thought it was quite a read.

u/WordGame · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

you sound young a naive, not receiving or perhaps accepting the respect and acknowledgment of your families love - not realizing it yet, that love of the self and life. Really loving life. Maybe because you have not come close to death, I mean really close to cold, dark, death. More so, you sound like all fresh and stupid young boys do right when they leave high school; assured of their understanding of the world, an understanding that drastically changes every three to five years. Until one day, thirty years from now you look back and say, "I knew nothing when I was young". It's then that you realize this was all a feeling. One long feeling you had, that lasted days and years, as time seemed to slip by so painfully slow. Where a gut feeling of needed mobility took over and forced your fate into a position that only forgiveness and toughing it out can save for. A feeling of longing; Longing for adventure and a chance to prove oneself - a man's journey or hero quest. This feeling in men (and women) has been known since ancient times, only they had positive ways of promoting such innate human drives. Today, we have fraternities and the military, the factory or gangs. All shadow concepts of masculinity, all captivities shaded in brotherhood and silly concepts of sacrifice.

This is what the US military hopes for, besides all the other young and stupid children who knocked up a girlfriend and need money, or inner city kids who need a direction outside of gang life. The world you live in has been designed this way. To take the poor and wanting, and to place them in the machine. You're not going to fight for freedom, that fight belongs at a poll, and in protest, in letters to senators and special interest groups. The only freedom you'll find toting a gun in some foreign land is the same freedom men from constitutional nations always find, a small stipend to spend while corporations colonize foreign markets and people who would never sit by you at a table bank on your ignorance and hard work. You will be yelled at and broken, all for bits of ribbon or a tab. Told you're finally a man now, that you have found discipline, that you gained 'leadership skills'. All the while these traits were inside you, never on the outside, waiting to be emboldened and brought out of you; waiting for a moment of maturity and expression.

The only thing you seek in the military is a chance at expression, for something that is already there, just waiting for an outlet. If you don't want to die, don't be a soldier. If you're patriotic, then your nearest fight for liberty is at home against corruption and greed. If you want to be a man, become one of peace - because I assure you wholeheartedly, there are plenty of ex soldiers who are now men in pieces. Broken, berated and disturbed by the horrors that is war and a tighter bottom line.

Coast guard, if you must. But remember, all your life you will be searching for some semblance of inner peace, and that will never be found holding a weapon.

Works to consider:

u/Eragar · 3 pointsr/Showerthoughts

Jeff Cooper created a "color code" to help people in potentially dangerous situations get into a fighting mindset. The system has since been bastardized to instead represent different levels of vigilance or situational awareness to potential threats and is now in widespread use among military, law enforcement, and self defense communities.

Condition White is where most people are most of the time--completely unaware of changes in the environment around them. If you're staring at your phone, have your headphones in, or are otherwise engrossed in work or leisure you're in Condition White and you're probably gonna die if an active killer shows up.

Condition Yellow is where an alert and aware person is when they haven't detected any specific threats. You're head comes up when someone enters the room or moves into your line of sight. Condition Yellow is where you ideally want to spend most of your time.

Condition Orange is the point where you've identified something specific that might be a threat, but you aren't completely sure yet. Something unusual has caught your attention and you are now consciously paying attention to it (example would be two men entering a store late at night with masks covering their faces--not necessarily dangerous, but it very well might be) and looking for pre-attack indicators. This is the point when you'll start moving to a more tactically advantageous position (either to run or to fight). Normalcy bias will prevent many people from ever reaching Condition Orange.
Staying in Condition Orange creates burnout very quickly, and you want to identify whether or not what you noticed is actually a threat so that you can move back to Condition Yellow or escalate into Condition Red (as appropriate).

Condition Red is the point where you have confirmed an imminent threat and the object of your attention is now a potential target. You are either drawing your weapon or running the fuck away.

Some people have also added a Condition Black, which can refer to either the moment you actually attack, the aftermath of the situation, or a number of other things.

If you want to learn more about the subject I highly recommend the books The Gift Of Fear by Gavin De Becker and On Killing by Dave Grossman.

u/Ekkisax · 3 pointsr/ProtectAndServe

No book will prepare you for law enforcement, it has to be touched, smelled, heard, and seen. If you're already a cop then the best thing you can do to be better is to be a well rounded human being and books can help with that.

Here's the recommended reading from some of the prior threads I was able to find in the sub.

  1. On Killing
  2. On Combat
  3. Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement
  4. Intro to Criminal Evidence
  5. Blue Blood
  6. 400 Things Cops Should Know
  7. Cop: A True Story
  8. [Verbal Judo] (
  9. [What Cops Know] (
  10. [Into the Kill Zone] (
  11. Training at the Speed of Life
  12. Sharpening the Warrior's Edge
  13. The Gift of Fear
  14. Deadly Force Encounters
  15. The Book of Five Rings

    I've read a good portion of the above listed. I highly recommend Emotional Survival and going to see one of Gilmartin's talks if he's in your area. Below are a few of my personal suggestions.

  16. Meditations
  17. Blink - Not sure if I buy it, but interesting to think about.
  18. [Armor] (
  19. Iron John: A Book About Men
  20. The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics
u/warmwaffles · 3 pointsr/texas

That is not cheaper unfortunately. The person pulling the trigger still has to live with that guilt.

Hanging still sucks. I honestly don't think there is a way to perform an execution without the psychological costs associated. Not to mention the possible therapy required for the person who enacted the execution.

u/Canadian_Infidel · 3 pointsr/AMA

You should read the book On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Lt. Dave Grossman. It might help somewhat.

u/freak920 · 3 pointsr/pics

The first time I saw it was on the cover of [On Killing] ( It's an incredible book which talks about the psychological effect that killing and learning to kill has on people. The author does get a little preachy about video game violence, but aside I highly, highly recommend it.

u/INT3J3r9 · 3 pointsr/Military

In Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the undoing of moral character, Dr. Jonathan Shay examines the additional situational elements that are predictors of the likelihood an individual will develop PTSD.

LtCol Grossman has also written on this subject in On Combat and On Killing.

Shared experience, supportive debriefing, command climate, fatigue level, witness to/participation in crimes or atrocities, cover-ups, moral conflict, relationship to wounded/killed... all of these things shape the experience.

A well-trained warrior may have no regrets or disturbances at having killed numerous enemy troops or even losing comrades if he was well cared for and supported by his command and unit.

But an under-prepared & overly fatigued warrior who saw injured children, or was involved in actions that terrorized civilians, while a member of an abusive command and separated from his buddies may experience moderate to even severe PTSD.

There is much more to PTSD than the volume of fire to which one was exposed or the MOS and duty assignment that may be reflected in paper records.

u/Anzel360 · 2 pointsr/guns

I knew someone was going to beat me to posting that link. Its a VERY good read. I would also recommend you read On Killing if you are going to carry.

u/rjohnson99 · 2 pointsr/history

As far as being hesitant about killing fellow countrymen there is an interesting section of the book "On killing" that deals just with that.

The book said the accuracy of shots in battle was something like 60% less accurate than the norm. It also talked about the increasing accuracy and willingness to kill over the years as the military progressed to targets that looked more and more human-like.

Not all history but very interesting read.

u/heartpunch · 2 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

I would suggest you read On Killing by Dave Grossman. It costs about $7 used, plus shipping. It's pretty good.

u/findimpossible · 2 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

This is really interesting. Do you have any responses to what Lt. Dave Grossman writes in his book? In case you haven't read it, you can pop in to a book store and catch the first couple chapters if you like; that's the part I'm referring to. I really would love to hear something from someone who disagrees with him and actually has an experience to back it up instead of an armchair opinion.

u/gomer11 · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

I was a soldier for five years in the U.S. Army several years ago. Fortunately I never was placed in a position where I had to kill anyone directly. The absolute best thing you can do is read this book:

It will put you way ahead of the mind games they are about to pull on you in your training. You will still be effected. You will still be changed. This will just let you know how and why.

I hope it helps you. It's not Buddhist in any way. If you can't afford it, let me know through PM and I will get it for you.

u/Dawn_Coyote · 2 pointsr/bestofthefray

It depends on your psychological makeup. People who end up being snipers and racking up lots of kills tend to be less susceptible to trauma resulting from their actions. Close kills cause more trauma for the average soldier, and the messier and closer the kill, the deeper the trauma. Really, the best way to kill your neighbour in this circumstance would be to get a bunch of other neighbours together and kill him by firing squad, through the living room window, where you never see the blood or the body afterwards, and you don't know who got off the killshot.

Edit: Ref.

u/mediasnipe · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

This book takes a close look at the emotional effects of killing (esp on soldiers). For people who are curious enough about the topic to read a book on it, I'd recommend this one.

u/culraid · 2 pointsr/HistoryPorn

As you have an interest in how war affects the warrior, may I draw your attention to 'On Killing' by Lt.Col.Dave Grossman; you may find it to be of interest.

u/Binkleberry · 2 pointsr/guns

I'm not entirely sure if this is something you're looking for, but Lt. Col. Dave Grossman is a psychologist and a veteran who has specialized in researching what makes shooters tick. His two (the only ones I'm aware of at this moment ... both great reads) works are titled On Killing and On Combat.

If anything they may be able to point you in the right direction of more research and studies that have already been conducted.

u/my_penis_is_normal · 2 pointsr/navyseals

Haven't read this book since high school, but I think it might touch on some of what he's talking about:

u/StrangeGibberish · 2 pointsr/writing

Reccomended Reading: On Killing by Lt. Col. David Grossman.

It's a book about the psychological costs, consequences, and ramifications of killing, atrocity, and wartime stress. It goes into details about causes, prevention, and all sorts of details. It's a must read, even if you don't need to research the topic.

u/The_Roz · 2 pointsr/news

There's a book I strongly suggest you read: On Killing

The fire rate (actually engaging the enemy) went from 10% in WW2 to over 90% in Vietnam.

u/Akerlof · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Part of it was technology. Not just rifles, but artillery and machine guns were at least as important, if not more so. Even 1860s artillery didn't have particularly effective fusing. But by WWI, you had artillery that could be shot from miles away, hit accurately, and be lethal tens of meters from the impact. That made massing groups of soldiers in the open useless.

Machine guns could be set up in static, protected positions and simply traverse at a set height while firing. This, again, made massing troops in the open useless.

But, training was also a huge impact. People always under estimate the accuracy of smoothbore muskets. Sure, they're tremendously inaccurate by modern standards where even a bad rifle can fire a 3" grouping at 100 yards. But, an enemy soldier is not a bullseye, and smoothbore muskets were more than accurate enough to have been absolutely devastating at the ranges they were used. I think it was in Napoleonic times where they did testing, running a sheet 5' tall the length of a battalion in the field, and then had a battalion of troops fire at it as if in combat then counting the number of hits. At, I think, 100 yards, they got something like 70% or 80% accuracy. At the 30 yard engagement ranges you see in the Civil War, one volley would have erased a regiment, rifled muskets or no.

But, shooting at targets and shooting at other human beings are two very different things. It turns out that there are very strong psychological aversions to killing other people in most humans. Strong enough to even take effect when those people are trying to kill you. Interviews and other evidence (dropped rifles with multiple rounds loaded, for example) indicate that only around 10% of soldiers who came in contact with the enemy during the Civil War actually shot at the enemy. Most soldiers simply shot high, or low, or even faked it.

Two important things fall out from this: First, the military becan applying psychology to their training. By WWII, about 50% of soldiers were firing at the enemy when they saw him, and it got up to about 90% by Vietnam. One example of what they do is that they teach soldiers to think of their enemies as inanimate objects: It's not shooting the enemy, it's servicing the target. They're Tangos, not enemies. Etc.

The other thing is that the farther away from actually harming someone, both physically and emotionally, the more likely you're actually going to shoot. Firing an artillery piece is more an act of operating machinery than aiming at another person and pulling the trigger. There has never been the same problem of not shooting among fighter pilots who are shooting at another plane, not a person. Crew served machine guns aren't aimed at individuals, they simply traverse and fire along an axis.

So, we end up with two separate trends that were at best just hints in the mid 19th century but really came into their own and were reinforcing each other by WWI.

On Killing, by Dave Grossman does an excellent job of explaining this, with references to the original research.

u/photenth · 2 pointsr/videos

Do some research on killology and maybe read

There is a reason we have to train even soldiers to kill.

But let me ask you this. If you think terrorist ideology is intrinsic with Muslims and they all get a nice time in heaven if they die fighting jihad. Why do you think are there only a handful of Muslims actually committing terrorist attacks? What do you think is the reasoning behind that?

u/learnwithrachael · 2 pointsr/HomeworkHelp

First, what kind of research are you using? This will help you pull your key ideas from the evidence you actually have.

One text I'd look into and which is in most every US library: On Killing by Lt Col Dan Grossman.

I believe it is the last chapter when he discusses the consequences of violent video games in a society-at-war. You should Google him!

u/cwbonds · 2 pointsr/totalwar

If you haven't read "On Killing" it goes into this concept of Wolf and Sheep in human populations. I don't really buy the 'Wolfdog' concept it advances, it feels like a justification of actions to me - but hey I'm not a bestselling author. I was more trying to make a point that certain aspects of the mindset are still around and more approachable.

Here's the book. Worth a checkout from your local library:

u/gwrgwir · 2 pointsr/Military and

May be good starting points, depending on your particular variation of Christianity. Note that the latter isn't from a Christian perspective so much as it is a psychological.

The way I see it, the job of the military is to protect and serve - killing is an occasionally necessary aspect of same, much as a shepherd and (his) flock, albeit on a larger scale. Yes, it's a bit of a dehumanizing viewpoint to take, but that's partially necessary to overcome inherent inhibitions.

In regard to "a mere man in Washington said we have to or our way of life will end", that essentially goes back to the "render unto Caesar" argument, combined with the oath of enlistment - it's not about liking the orders, it's about following them, and having some measure of trust/faith that the highers have a plan (that you can't see/understand most of the time).

u/the_straylight_run · 2 pointsr/TrueReddit

As I originally stated, you characterised my points in a way that greatly oversimplified them. In effect to make them mean something slightly different than how I meant them.

Here's what I actually said:

> The military trains soldiers to do exactly two things without thinking:
> Obey the orders of a superior
Find the guys who are trying to kill you and kill them first

I intentionally added the part 'without thinking'; it wasn't careless use of language.

'Without thinking' I then described as a kind of 'personlessness', a programmed response to stimuli, based on repetitive training and indoctrination. It is the intentional replacement of critical thinking and self-determination with military equivalents and culture.

To go back to my original statement, it's about re-learning how to open doors, such that the new way of opening doors (by not standing in front of them) becomes habit and replaces the old way. Ditto for aggressive driving, aggression, and us/them thinking. We see this in pretty much all of the behaviours that make returned soldiers a danger in many cases to the general population.

And I was trying to raise the point that this is intentional. The military modus operandi is to entirely replace the culture of a person with their own version. And in terms of combat readiness, to remove any qualms about killing anybody superiors say needs to be killed.

If you look at data from previous wars (WWI, WWII, Vietnam), each one taught the military something important. In this context, the number of soldiers who didn't fire their weapons in combat was seen as a psychological barrier to winning, and it was something that they looked at solving.

And they did. Over the years, the indoctrination of new soldiers got progressively better at de-humanising 'the enemy' and removing what is IMHO a natural impediment to killing. There's an excellent book called 'On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society which describes this process.

In the current theaters of operations (Iraq 2.0, Afgh) the combatants killed by soldiers in war were often not what they expected. Farm boys (conscripted), children, local townspeople etc. Not the seasoned, trained, fully equipped bad jihadists we see on videos on tv. And the worst part of that is that you know the family had little choice to but to send their kids to war or face the backlash of the jihadists running the area.

The above in combination with what you call 'moral qualms', and I call 'why am I killing townspeople and children', a number of people develop psychological misgivings about their involvement. These are the people I would guess who are the most resistant to indoctrination. How many? I don't know. I don't have data because I didn't stick around afterwords to ask, and because I"m not sure that anybody is collecting this kind of data.

In other people, it's not a problem. In some cases, it even becomes habitual. The public at large having little to no understanding from the outside to what service involves on the inside these days doesn't help. They think it's the noble warrior defending freedom. It's actually a lot more like the psychopath Bradley Cooper plays in American Sniper (Chris Kyle) inventing reasons to kill people as combatants that nobody else seems to encounter.

When you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail, so to speak.

All of that makes it very difficult to redeploy and to re-engage with a population who thinks in a very different way. In fact, it makes it very difficult to engage with people who are halfway on the inside anyway. Just look up the statistics on divorce, spousal abuse, domestic disturbances, and suicide with military members, and it's pretty clear that something is going seriously wrong.

And all of that, going back to my original thesis, is directly attributable to how we program soldiers to fight and operate by replacing the parts of their mentality that limit their effectiveness.

u/irresolute_essayist · 2 pointsr/Christianity

WONDERFUL article.

I read this in my "Religion and Violence Class".

Since taking that class, I've come to the conclusion that Aquinas and, to some extent, Augustine were right-- violence is morally neutral. And there is a hard path ahead when you try to categorize violence as either "religious" or "secular" because WHAT exactly is religion?

I think Christianity has a role to play not in protesting all wars, because I believe there may be times when war is needed, even the right choice rather than the "lesser of two evils", but seeking we act justly and humanly as we do.

The secular state probably won't listen to constant calls to pull out of all conflict altogether but maybe Christians can have an influence on ensuring we conduct ourselves as honorably and Christ-like as possible in battle. Christ-like in battle? Yes. Loving your enemy even as you fight them. Treating them humanely even as they are captured. Recognizing they are made in the image of God, even if you must slay them.

Here's a book: Just War as Christian Discipleship by Daniel Bell

You may have heard of On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society in which Dave Grossman lies out the horrible consequences of training someone, who does not wish to kill, to kill. The psychological impact can be awful if we manipulate the mind to do such things (although the soldiers DO become more effective. Grossman found that many soldiers would shoot into the air rather than kill another man. The military has designed techniques around this to make people more comfortable with killing but it can have bad psychological damage attached to it.) Think shell-shock.

Grossman cites primarily evolutionary reasons for the psychological damage phenomenon. But I suspect there may be religious reasons. Especially in the Civil War. On both sides, these were deeply religious men (read their journals!) who probably had great qualms about shooting the men who were once their brothers and countrymen, who worshiped, and, of course, were made by the same God. Religion, I suspect has a large impact on resistance to killing.

So violence is much more nuanced than it seems. It may be morally neutral, a tool for good or evil, but that is not to say it doesn't have its extreme difficulties attached.

Where Cavanaugh has it right is that recent, modern, efforts to paint religion as something inherently IRRATIONAL and VIOLENT itself ignores secular violence, legitimizes the nation-state against religious belief and creates a dichotomy which, in truth, does not exist.

Plenty of skeptics and atheists will tell you of their fear of religion because it promotes senseless violence by unthinking faithful people. The sad part is, it is not religion responsible for foolishness. Religion is not inherently irrational. Secular minds can, and have, used violence for just as much evil. Once again, the dichotomy of religious/ secular does not exist because religion, to define precisely, is impossible. Even the secular person, and a completely secular person is difficult to find, will have spiritual or religious trappings to them.

Don't fall for the lie.

Cavanaugh's article rules.


u/afosterw · 2 pointsr/AskReddit
u/Takingbackmemes · 2 pointsr/politics

I haven't read the book you mention, but here is another excellent book on the subject

u/Reingding13 · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

I am genuinely interested in human behavior and societal norms. I just started reading a book on how we respond to death, and how that has changed over time. It's called On Killing. I can't wait to read it, and then expand my knowledge more.

u/halfascientist · 2 pointsr/news

No, we're talking about PTSD, and we're talking about veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, not those who've merely served during the GWOT era. This PTS/PTSD distinction, by the way, isn't one used medically or scientifically. Most of the time, when we say "posttraumatic stress," we're talking about PTSD. The VA system sometimes uses a kind of made-up non-diagnosis called "PTSS," for posttraumatic stress syndrome," denoting a subclinical level of posttraumatic stress symptoms. There's also plain old acute combat stress, which is different in lots of ways and not really at the level of something we'd call a mental illness.

And it isn't anywhere close to "one quarter of our units personnel" suffering--the figure isn't point prevalence, and since most people recover, you don't have anywhere close to that figure actually exhibiting it at any given point in time. Additionally, many of those guys are out of those units when things are getting bad. You see most of it later on--most of the time PTSD symptoms don't show up until they get back stateside for a bit.

Also, regarding:

> For that matter, the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan have seen almost never-ending war since the 1980s. If your numbers were correct, then those nations would be full of nothing but mental cases by now.

Lifetime prevalence of PTSD (not to mention other mental illnesses) among civilians in conflict areas in the middle east is indeed very high--somewhere from double to quadruple what we see here, depending on the area. However, these things don't fit together in some kind of neat way that would support your reasoning. Pathology does indeed increase with exposure dose both in terms of population frequency and individual severity, but not linearly. Additionally, not all traumatic events or kinds of traumatic events are equally traumatogenic. A lot of research suggests that the combat experience, in which one either kills or perhaps simply readies oneself to kill if necessary, is uniquely traumatogenic--Dave Grossman in particular has an interesting account of it.

u/Dutchess_of_Dimples · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

On Killing by Dave Grossman is an interesting one about the psychological trauma of taking another's life.

u/MerryPrankster1967 · 2 pointsr/MilitaryHistory
u/10001110101abcd · 2 pointsr/asoiaf

Random thoughts:

  • Jon's blood and filth caked face and thousand-yard stare was blood-chilling. Reminded me of the cover of this book:

  • Jon was sitting at the council table in Winterfell in the Lord's seat in the next episode previews, while Davos appealed to him for justice, not Sansa.

  • I thought Dany being a dragon riding conquerer was going to be cheesy and lame until last night. Seeing the three dragons in action was beautiful and I love how they showed the other two dragons breaking out of the pyramid in that overhead shot

  • Tyrion put into literal practice something Tywin once said: "When your enemies go to their knees, you must help them to their feet."

  • I loved how they showed all of the Vale riding down Ramsay's shield wall. They didn't just show up, smash one flank, and cut out to the pursuit, they showed the full destruction of the Boltons.

  • Sansa is going to be a nightmare to deal with from here on out.

  • The shield wall was pretty historically accurate from what I know. They had lockstep discipline and fought back with short swords at close quarters.

  • I wish Wun Wun would have gotten more screen time in the battle. He could have stomped on a Bolton spear or kicked a shield and caused a breach in the wall that some of the fighters could have exploited.
u/Pyromonkey83 · 2 pointsr/IAmA

If you want a truly good read, and one that explains this phenomenon, read On Killing by Dave Grossman. [link] (

It is extremely interesting to read, and helps explain the devastating impact war has on the human psyche.

u/rvncto · 2 pointsr/SFGiants

I’m so excited for timmy day. I’m kind of torn. If he throws 95 again. Then everyone will want him. But if he still sucks then I guess we won’t want him. It’s bittersweet. But exciting. Until Charlie Morton I don’t know a pitcher could regain velo.

Currently reading on killing the psychological cost of learning to kill. Interesting book/study
, maybe only one of a few that deal with the subject. Makes me feel sad for the Vietnam vets that got totally hung out to dry by their own nation. Very insightful book until the end where the author goes off on a bunch of made up sounding strawmen anecdotes blaming video games , horror movies (Freddy Krueger and jason lol) for the epidemic of violence in our country. Saying we are doing to our kids via operant conditioning worse than what was conceived of in clockwork orange. Or any weird military experiments. U/beautifulunusual you are a trained psychologist have you heard of this book and have any problems with his conclusions?

u/moremittens · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Read On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Lt Col David Grossman. He is a former West Point psychology professor, Professor of Military Science, and an Army Ranger. And sorry, he's on your dad's side, not yours.

u/VaeSapiens · 1 pointr/history

I will just refer you to The book "On Killing" it's 400 pages long. I tried to get a digest of the main points.

Here is a link

On Killing is required reading at the FBI Academy and is on the United States Marine Corps' recommended reading list. If you don't want to - Here is a short review with counter-points.

u/HickSmith · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

Never in any military, but these are some that I've read that I enjoyed.

On Combat and On Killing by Dave Grossman.

Something a bit more fun. the SAS survival handbook.

I've heard that some military studies include the book of Joshua in the Bible.

u/PreviouslySaydrah · 1 pointr/politics


One way terrible things can happen is for many people to take on small pieces of responsibility for making an evil thing happen. This is all hypothetical and blind guessing with no research into how this hospital happens to be run, so don't take it as analysis, but as a thought exercise, let's say that the hospital is owned by a corporation and the Board of Directors tell the CEO that his job is on the line if he doesn't reduce costs.

Does the CEO say "dump patients?" Does the board say, "CEO, dump patients?" No. The CEO says "Our corporate goal is a XX% reduction in the costs of treating uninsured patients across our network of hospitals."

The CFO now analyzes which facilities have the highest costs and through a chain of intermediaries, tells this facility in Vegas, "YOUR goal is a greater percentage cost reduction, because your costs are overrunning by more than the other facilities' costs do. You are to get this done, period, and it comes directly from the CEO."

The hospital director knows his job is in danger, so he gathers the staff and says, "We need you all to impress upon your teams that the cost of treating uninsured patients must be reduced dramatically. We will reward teams that reduce their cost overruns for uninsured patients." Nowhere in that meeting does he give more than a token mention to the hospital's code of ethics or the Hippocratic oath -- of course, it's a hospital, if you asked him he'd say it went without saying, but the managers hear, correctly, "Forget ethics, we MUST meet this goal or this facility may be closed as too costly."

The department heads go back and tell their teams, "Anyone who is running up big bills for uninsured patients is in danger of being placed on a Performance Improvement Plan. You need to be more cost-conscious. We're spending too much. Find ways to cut costs."

Then in this environment, an uninsured schizophrenic walks in the door for the 17th time off his medication and self-harming again. They know he has family in Iowa. They know the last time he came in, he ran up $35,000 in costs that were denied by Medicaid and were never recovered and written off. Night nurse looks at night doctor looks at night orderly looks at custodial staff, and somehow it's decided that they'll put him on a bus to Iowa, because everyone just got an ass-chewing about costs and someone's going to lose a job if a $35,000 bill that will never be paid gets run up tonight, and then who's supposed to care even for the patients who can pay?

The night staff say, "It wasn't our fault. We just did what we had to do to keep our jobs to keep providing patient care."

The department heads say, "It wasn't our fault. We just told them to watch the costs. We didn't tell them to dump patients."

The director says, "It wasn't my fault. I expected our department heads to explain that the cost-cutting goal wasn't an excuse to violate our Code of Ethics here."

The CFO says, "It wasn't my fault. I just crunched numbers and told them what numbers to hit. I'm just the math guy. I don't make the decisions as to how you hit numbers."

The CEO says, "It wasn't my fault. I just set an ambitious goal to deliver shareholder value by reducing cost overruns throughout our network of care facilities. That's what I'm here for. I'm very disappointed that facility made the decision it did."

The BoD says, "It's not our fault. We invested our own money in this corporation. We just want value for money. All we asked is that the CEO do what we hired him for, and get this business growing by reducing costs."

The President says, "It's not my fault. I tried the public option, and I had to trade it away to get anything at all, because insurers wouldn't budge."

The insurer says, "It's not our fault. We pushed for a national insurance mandate so we can cover every patient. It'll be in effect soon. There may be some continued challenges in delivery of care in the meantime."

The voters say, "It's not our fault. This is all too complicated to understand, and there's nothing we can do about the influence of money in politics. We can't afford higher taxes--we need to save and scrimp already in case we ever need health care, so we don't end up in that position."

And nobody takes responsibility, because nobody made the whole decision, and the person who looked a patient in the eyes and gave him a bus ticket instead of care sleeps soundly thinking they're just a victim of the system--and unfortunately, they're right, because even with a nationwide nursing shortage, the quickest way to lose your job as a healthcare provider is to take personal responsibility for patient outcomes, because that creates costs and liabilities to the hospital.

References/suggested reading:

On Killing

Black Edelweiss

The Sociopath Next Door

Confidence Men

Note that none of these are about the health care industry and only one is about politics at all. They're just about how people work and what kinds of people can do bad things.

and for the record I don't have any connection to any of the authors or publishers or anything similar

u/Soundwavethrowaway · 1 pointr/videos
u/blindtranche · 1 pointr/conspiracy

You are right that guns make the physical act of killing easy. There is a seminal book on the psychological difficulty of taking a human life called On Killing.

From the author Dave Grossman's research:

" During the First and Second World Wars, officers estimated that only 15-20 percent of their frontline soldiers actually fired their weapons, and there is evidence to suggest that most of those who did fire aimed their rifles harmless above the heads of their enemy."

Unfortunately, Grossman speculates that TV and video games make killing easier, so I don't buy his conclusions, however interesting his data. Still, it is considered an important work.

u/fievelm · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I think we all know someone that has been to war and taken a life.

These are people that were, without a doubt, fighting for their very lives. In a situation where it is absolutely kill or be killed, where these men and women have been psychologically trained to hate and kill their enemy, 98% still come back troubled by the lives they have taken.

I believe that without a doubt he regrets that night, and probably even pulling the trigger. It takes a cold blooded killer to not be affected by something like that.

If you want a really fantastic book regarding the mindset of people that have killed, check out On Killing by Dave Grossman. It will give you a whole new respect for cops, soldiers, or anyone that has ever had to pull a trigger.

edit: forgot to make my point

u/Nichijo · 1 pointr/Documentaries

Nope, but I found a lot of pages from Google stating 30.4%. Maybe these are sites copying one another which is the norm. I got my figure from a book. Possibly On Killing by Dave Grossman.

It's important to understand that when there is a draft going on, the word "volunteer" loses a lot of its meaning. Whether draftees actually comprised the majority of casualties is true or not, the widespread belief was that you would be a lot better off in terms of training and assignment if you enlisted for a 4 year hitch, than a two year draft. The military had more reason to invest in advanced training if their man is going to stay in longer.

u/ortho_engineer · 1 pointr/WTF

You know..... I read stuff like this about badass WWII military men - and it's cool and all, I can only hope to have a fraction of the courage this guy had.... and Yet I then read articles and books specifically devoted to analyzing the act of killing and its 'ease' as our culture progresses over time - such as this book, [on killing] (

Did you know that up to and even including WWII the vast majority of soldiers never actually shot to harm? This book even goes on to say that the estimate is 70% of all bullets shot in WWII were done so out of guns that were purposely aimed over their foe's head.

So what does this mean in the grand scheme of things? This book and many other sources portray detailed accounts on how the military has specifically developed methods to rid their soldiers of this trait; to desensitize them, if you will. Does that mean the only reason I think it is badass that Baker went down with guns blazing is because our culture as a whole has progressed to this point of violent desensitization?

Does this mean that Sergeant Baker was an anomaly.... does that mean in his time he was an animal?

u/azumah1 · 1 pointr/TwoXChromosomes

I'm so sorry for your loss and how painful this is. Thank you for sharing.

I don't know if this fits here, but I'd like to share a book ( It discusses how training soldiers has changed so much since WWII and makes a pretty strong point as to why suicide among veterans has skyrocketed so much since the Vietnam War.

Given how much training has changed it has become so much harder for our veterans to adjust. We have to recognize this and drastically increase the services and support that we offer. Their lives and service is too important for us to consider anything less.

u/nicholaszero · 1 pointr/gaming

Here you are: On Killing by LTC (ret) Dave Grossman. It's good, I recommend it.

u/dugenstyle · 1 pointr/books

On Killing is one of the most fascinating non-fiction books I have ever read. It deals with a person's natural resistance to killing their own species, how it has affected warfare, how these resistances are overcome, and the cost of overcoming them. It's an incredible read.

u/rerun_ky · 1 pointr/AskAnAmerican

I don't think there is a coherent "Republican" opinion on why. When I have asked most state that the US and Britain have the same murder rate they just don't use guns which is not true. I believe its a bit of cognitive dissonance.

About 60% of homicides are firearm related which is a significant portion. If you believe what was written in on killing ( the ease of use of a weapon plays a large part in being able to kill. So of that 60% if guns were not available a significant # would not translate into death by other means.

u/GalantGuy · 1 pointr/AskReddit

You might be surprised how difficult it is to shoot someone with a gun. I started reading a book called On Killing which talked quite a bit about how difficult it is to kill other people, even with guns during war.

Its worth noting that the author is a former Army Ranger, and taught psychology at West Point.

u/akpenguin · 1 pointr/truegaming

I read this book. No one tries to wound, they try not to hit the other guy at all.

u/hiigaran · 1 pointr/writing

Came here to find "On Killing" and here it was. This needs to be upvoted more. That book is phenomenally insightful into the mind of people who have killed and had to live with it.

I iterate: read "On Killing"

u/ElfFey · 1 pointr/AskThe_Donald

Military parades are proven to dramatically inhibit the development of PTSD in returning servicemen.

I am so surprised that with all the talk of needing better mental health services in this country this isn't a widely known fact. It is a chapter in the heavily researched book [On Killing.] (

If this parade became a regular thing it could be a step in saving countless veterans from suicide and depression.

u/GodOfDucks · 1 pointr/bestof

>Changing the tool used to commit violence doesn't help us

You might want to do some reading on this, kid. Start with military experts, for example:

u/dfnkt · 1 pointr/pics

The only part of the government that is going to need "stood up to" is law enforcement and then military, you won't have senators and house reps doing jack. LEO and Military both are filled with staunch 2A supporters.

Do you really see tanks rolling through neighborhoods firing with wild abandon to quell an uprising? Remember it takes people willing to kill their countrymen over an idea that they themselves may support, some might be able to pass it off as having taken an oath but most will not.

It might be easy to kill people from another culture or another race because it's easier to see them as subhuman but when you're fighting someone who looks like your family or friends, it's a whole different ballgame. Grossman talks a lot about this in his book.

u/mahollinger · 1 pointr/Theatre

Another great book, if interested in the psychology of combat and fighting is On Killing by Dave Grossman.

u/oljames3 · 1 pointr/CCW

Army field artillery, enlisted and officer, for 34 years. Welcome home, brother. Infantry was some of my favorite customers ... always so appreciative.

These books have helped me understand the process.

u/ovoutland · 1 pointr/pics

Not sure if you've had therapy for this, but here are a couple books. On Killing is mostly about killing in combat but the impact is universal. The Body Keeps the Score is an instant classic on dealing with trauma. Good luck to you, take care of yourself.

u/GreySceptic · 1 pointr/MilitaryHistory

Not a memoir, but On Killing by Lt. Col. Grossman is a "landmark study of the techniques the military uses to overcome the powerful reluctance to kill, of how killing affects soldiers, and of the societal implications of escalating violence" and might be of use to you. It's more psychology than philosophy, but could still certainly lend itself nicely to a philosophy paper.

u/tasslehawf · 1 pointr/politics

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society

u/BlackApache66 · 1 pointr/history
This book talks about the natural aversion we have when killing another human and the study they did after WWII and how they learned to train today's soldiers to kill more effectively. The main method is the use of life-like targets from silhouettes to mannequins. Also the use of video like games for training, they learned this from the kids who played "Duck Hunt". The kids who grew up playing "Duck Hunt" significantly cut the learning curve how to shoot a pistol and hitting the target.

u/rerational · 1 pointr/PublicFreakout

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society

u/frankjank1 · 1 pointr/memes

Go ahead and give this book a read.

u/CombustableWishes · 1 pointr/AskHistory

It might seem a little removed and certainly doesn't answer all your questions, but I would suggest On Killing by Lt Col Grossman . Most libraries seem to have an ecopy of it and its follow on book On Combat these days.

Neither of these books answers your questions in totality, but they certainly give the basis for a strong argument for why a military force would spend time (a precious commodity) to train individual skills and confidence. I tried typing out the arguments but had trouble unmixing and it wasn't very readable.

As an overview, all groups are made of individuals, all individuals choose on some level to be part of a group, and most humans will not bodily harm or kill someone they view as a human. So making individuals responsible to the group and giving rote actions (push-step-stab-lock) versus telling them to kill resulted in much more effective forces. As an example we have data on, look at the firing rate among WWII riflemen (the majority did NOT fire their rifle, even when being fired at, and even of the firing group most did not aim to kill) but machine gun teams were wildly effective at killing in comparison. There are other ways to physically and psychologically distance oneself from the kill. The most obtuse I will point out would be training to parry spear attacks, it gives the spear man a reason to think he didn't kill anyone, as everyone has trained to deflect a stab.

u/kestrel4077 · 1 pointr/relationship_advice

Lt Col GROSSMAN in his book has fight / flight and posture / submit

u/BrownWallyBoot · 1 pointr/pics

Read the book "On Killing" if you'd like more information on what war does to people. Pretty horrifying stuff.

u/83cats · 1 pointr/serialkillers

There is a great one of a kind in depth book on whys and hows of killings - On Killing by Dave Grossman

u/tacknosaddle · 1 pointr/pics

The point is that while there are lots of first hand accounts there is no corroborating evidence of it happening which calls those accounts into question. Lots of people claim to have seen Bigfoot, aliens and the Loch Ness monster but there is no proof of those either. If it was as widespread as the many later claims that were made there should be something from that time backing it up yet so far nobody has found it. Even if not a photo or footage there should be something that was written at that time which would mention it given the barrels of ink that were used writing about the domestic turmoil the war caused.

So, while it is impossible to prove that it never happened the lack of evidence makes it seem as though it is a figurative stance that many people take as literal. In my opinion that figurative spitting was done more by the government than the population when the soldiers came home. On Killing is a good book on the psychological toll that many soldiers were left to deal with on their own, it gets a bit repetitive in places but it's a good read.

u/frankie2fngrs · 1 pointr/Nodumbquestions

Destin and Matt should read On Killing

This book was basically required reading in my platoon (1/4 Wpns, Errrah) back in the day.

u/MyLoveHammer · 1 pointr/technology

Could you kill a man in cold blood?

You'd be surprised the changes a mind undergoes when it learns to kill.

u/UnavailableUsername_ · 1 pointr/videos

>Do some research on killology and maybe read

"Educate yourself shitlord" is not an argument.

It's a cheap deflect people that like to make up numbers (99.99%!!11) use when they cannot prove what they say.

>Why do you think are there only a handful of Muslims actually committing terrorist attacks? What do you think is the reasoning behind that?

There are also people aiding them and inciting others.

France close down 3 mosques - 334 war grade weapons found - 223 arrests.

Islamist extremists hide huge stockpile of weapons near German mosque.

There are plenty more of links of other mosques if search on google...this fact alone proves that your idea of "just because they believe it's good doesn't mean they do it" is wrong.

Are you going to say this was just a "coincidence"?

That they aren't being helped by the local mosques?

u/UncleGeorge · 1 pointr/conspiratard
u/Combat_crocs · 1 pointr/videos

On Killing by LTC David Grossman has a chapter about how after the First World War, the US Army changed the way it conducted marksmanship training, by switching out "pie plate" targets for more human-shaped ones. It increased unit lethality 10 fold in WW2. He cites the whole "dudes missing on purpose" thing as one of the reasons for change.

u/PattonPending · 1 pointr/AdviceAnimals

We're expecting them to be easy to put through conditioning and be turned into the most effective fighters, developing good combat reflexes and executing orders under stress. The officers and NCOs leading these kids tend to at least be in their mid twenties.

The logic is you take the most effective age group and make them the most effective fighters and that way you minimize casualties.
This book is a good read and covers a lot of the psychology of it.

u/Middge · 1 pointr/news

20% of all U.S. soldiers were involved in wartime action with their personal weapons (rifle or sidearm) that resulted in an allied or enemy death during WW2. This isn't even factoring in combat from airplanes and mortars or otherwise "impersonal" warfare that might have occurred, which should account for a MUCH larger percentage. That is huge. Statistically, that means you had a 1 in 5 chance of shooting or being shot by an enemy just for enlisting. Your odds were even WORSE if you count potential injury or death from bombings.

There is speculation that the 20% figure is completely wrong and way below what it actually was; see some of my sources below. Either way, even if 1 in 5 was true, you cannot possibly argue that it wasn't brave to enlist.

source 1
source 2

u/sonovel · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Dave Grossman has a book about this:

Dunno if it's any good.

u/US_Ranger · 1 pointr/politics

I agree with a lot of what you're saying and that's why you should read this book. It's easier to convince people you don't have a lot in common with them when there are glaring differences such as cultural, skin color, belief structures, etc. In the United States, we don't have as much of a difference as we do with another country half way around the world. That's why it would be a stretch to assume the military, with family and friends all over the country, would execute these same people because someone convinced them they should.

That's like saying I could convince you to kill someone because I'm somehow smarter than you and you're too stupid to see through it. Does that sound believable? Somehow though, when it comes to the military, they're too retarded (according to people here) to realize that shooting their own friends/family is a bad idea.

u/sonnyclips · 1 pointr/guns

The book On Killing would likely be a place to find this stat. In the book he points out that throughout history most weapons fired in battle have not be aimed at anyone. He looks at the number of muzzle loading weapons left on battlefields in the Civil War with rounds packed on top of rounds because soldiers were going through the paces without firing on the enemy. Behavioral psychology was tasked with solving this problem in the latter half of the twentieth century in the US.

u/Toepes · 1 pointr/gaming

While I disagree with the stance of violent media contributing to violence in culture, I recently came across the only substantive argument to support this message. On Killing is a book written by an army psychologist that talks about PTSD, the science that has developed the modern soldier into one of the best killing instruments in history, and in the end focuses on how violence inoculation used in training permeates into our culture. There aren't any causal relationships put forward, but he certainly provides some depth to the debate about violent video games and movies contributing to societal violence you never hear from politicians or preachers.

u/silver0bullets · 1 pointr/gaming
u/Eori · 1 pointr/IAmA

In Dave Grossman's book "On Killing"
he asserts that PTSD has more to do with the trauma of dealing with having killed in combat, rather than on having been in mortal danger. Thoughts?

u/anotherclevername · 1 pointr/history

Great book, even if it's not exactly what you're looking for.

u/winnie_the_slayer · 1 pointr/WTF

3% of men feel no empathy and have no trouble killing. Check out Lt Col Dave Grossman's book "On Killing". Research was done by the US army.

u/Intrinsically1 · 1 pointr/guns

Using knives is simply more difficult on a physical and mental level to both inflict mass casualties and actually carry out the act of killing. Even highly motivated psychopaths can't inflict as many casualties - the only benefit is the degree of stealth it allows the perpetrator (e.g. gunshots allow groups to know which areas to flee from).

There's a great book on the subject called On Killing by Dave Grossman that explains our basic resistance to killing people and how de-humanizing the process by making it a less personal process makes it easier. An intuitive argument that killing someone with your bare hands is much more difficult mentally than as a predator drone operator, but a great read nonetheless.

u/Entropy-7 · 1 pointr/PurplePillDebate

I'd have to recheck my numbers but I thought they are in the majority, and certainly the more common abusers.

In any case, murderers are a very small portion of society, either men or women. Men are more physical and violent generally, but actually killing someone? I'm ex-military and can tell you as a fact, lots of guys might bar brawl but only a few percentage points would go the distance and kill someone unless and until they are trained (by modern, military indoctrination).

I mean, the vast majority of WWII vets did not fire their weapon; something like the 80/20 rule was in play where roughly 80% of the killing was done by 20% of the soldiers, with the rest getting ammo, tending to the wounded or just cowering and pissing their pants.

It was only in the Viet Nam era that they figured out how to get human beings - men - to kill other human beings. It was a rough start so Viet Nam vets have a reputation for being really fucked up.

Just as a guess, modern combat vets have better training and return support; a bunch of my buddies have done multiple tours in Afghanistan and don't seem more crazy than before. They have wives and kids and functional lives.

For more information, read On Killing.

The reason we as a species have been so successful is that we tend to cooperate rather than kill each other. We enjoy playful - but dangerous - competition.

u/sunsetpark12345 · 1 pointr/dataisbeautiful

I have it and have done a lot of reading on it to understand what's going on with it. If you're interested in the subject, here are a couple of books:
First is considered a seminal piece on trauma and its treatment, second was nominated for a Pulitzer.

The second one is more directly relevant to what you're talking about. Highly recommended!

u/shabby47 · 1 pointr/politics

You might enjoy On Killing then.

It does not deal directly with the tech (although the updated version might) but it studies the most basic element of war - how we are trained to actually kill other people. It is interesting how they have found civil war muskets packed full of musket balls which shows that many soldiers were pretending to fire and reloading on top of an unfired weapon to avoid having to kill. By Vietnam that had changed drastically.

u/speakertothedamned · 0 pointsr/todayilearned

It's a very interesting read and I suggest you check it out. Very few soldiers in combat even, actually take a life. The psychology of warfare and killing in particular is not so cut and dry ESPECIALLY when dealing with conscripts who perhaps didn't want anything to do with the war in the first place.

u/MeatCarpet · 0 pointsr/AskReddit
u/eleitl · 0 pointsr/Military

> Whenever I'm back in the US I end up feeling outraged at small things. I don't really remember what its like to be a regular person.

u/Bortron14 · 0 pointsr/knives

I don't know if I agree with that 100%. I guess it depends where on reddit you say something like that. If you go into one of the SJW subs with pro gun rhetoric you are not going to get a positive reaction. In this sub on the other hand, most of us are probably pro gun more then most.

Edit: I should add, there might be some psychological reasons for the trend you are seeing. In "On Killing" by Dave Grossman he talks about how the difference in killing methods changes how acceptable they are to us. For example a gun is considerably easier, from a psychological perspective, to use than a knife. So, perhaps people are sub consciously repulsed by the idea of using a knife more than a gun. I would definitely recommend that book if you are interested in the topic of PTSD and the psychology around killing.

u/monochr · -5 pointsr/australia

Killing anyone with bear hands is nearly impossible.

There's a whole book[1] on how much resistance there is to this. The only way to teach this was found in British advanced SAS training. They used a finger to push out an eye, the training was tying half orange to the head of someone and having another person come up behind and poke around until they had turned into into orange juice. The first person would be screaming bloody murder the whole time. Turns out this caused more people to drop out proportionally than anything else in their training. Try it out with a friend.