RE: virus: All bark but no bite, unless trained: the human condition

Sodom (
Tue, 30 Mar 1999 13:31:16 -0500

My recommendation for anyone with Phaith in "the goodness of humanity" actually read the book they are insulting. I've been mentioning it for 2 years here, but have you even looked yet? Here it is again, it is a great read _Demonic Males: Apes and the origins of human violence_ Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson.
you seem to be missing the point entirely. The issue is NOT: Will the person suffer remorse, or the like. The issue is NOT - does training help people to kill. The issue is: humans can and do kill often, sometimes for pleasure, and it is natural behaviour in all societies. Unless your military man below is an anthropoligist or sociologist or the like, then I doubt his "worldview" permits him the type of look at human behaviour to be objective, but at least I'm willing to look at and consider the evidence.

Just a note too, I know maybe half a dozen people who have killed others, all in the military, and all say they received no counseling and they feel pretty good about what they did, are downright proud. They all have war trophies - one has an entire Samuri outfit and sword taken from a man he shot. I am sure there are those that have a hard time - not because their genes, but because of their memes.

Im sure all the people with machetes in Rawanda need counseling now right? They needed lots of training to hack up their neighbors? The 8 and 10 year olds that helped, were trained from birth to deal with it, right? Reed justified genocide a hundred years ago becuase the concept didnt exist and the people of the time thought that people differnt from them weren't really people. I wonder how many of the Indian killers had a hard time sleeping, or had shell shock and needed counseling.

I hope very much to live on the planet Reed and Eric live on, where all the people are nice, the criminals walk into jail because they realize that they did wrong, and madmen running countries stop their genocidal ways because their goals are legitimate and they want to negotiate peace.

Bill Roh

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf
> Of Reed Konsler
> Sent: Saturday, March 27, 1999 4:10 PM
> To:
> Subject: virus: All bark but no bite, unless trained: the human
> condition
> My recommendation to anyone who erroneously believes
> that human beings, including "demonic males" are naturally
> violent: A book by a military officer studying exactly what
> it takes to train a human being to kill another, instead of
> simply making a chest beating threat display. Conclusion:
> humans, like every other animal, are quick to posture and
> bark, but loath to actually enter into a conflict which could
> be damaging or lethal to either party. We are, in short,
> all talk. Great book.
> _On Killing :
> The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society_
> by Dave Grossman
> (November 1996)
> Little Brown & Co
> ISBN: 0316330116 ;
> >From Booklist , October 15, 1995
> What makes soldiers kill--or not--animates this intriguing survey by a
> psychologist and
> former U.S. Army officer. Grossman reveals that only a
> fraction of soldiers
> kill during
> warfare (and feel revulsion when they do); the rest (about 85
> percent in
> World War II)
> resist by missing the target or refusing to fire. With an eye to the
> military command's
> imperative of overcoming that innate resistance, Grossman
> quotes numerous
> anecdotes
> that exemplify the phenomenon and studies that examine it. With such
> knowledge, the
> military has implemented training that gets firing rates up
> to 90 percent
> of soldiers, but
> the psychic cost of blazing away for real is heavy.
> Individually, a killer
> goes through
> thrill-remorse-rationalization stages; socially, the killer needs
> reassurance and if it is
> not received, will suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome,
> characteristic of
> Vietnam
> veterans. Grossman concludes his findings of "enabling
> factors" in killing by
> identifying them at work in the rampant violence afflicting American
> society. A book
> that requires some steely fortitude to finish, but once done,
> On Killing
> delivers
> insights on human nature that are both gratifying and
> repelling. Gilbert Taylor
> Copyrightę 1995, American Library Association. All rights reserved.
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
> Reed Konsler
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------