On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman - Book Report/Review Example

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“On Killing” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman Other name (s) Course “On Killing” by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman Introduction The book “On Killing” by Grossman is a captivating book that is largely based on a comprehensive analysis of the various psychological processes that are often involved in the killing of human being particularly by soldiers…
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On Killing by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
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Download file to see previous pages Summary of the Book The book begins with by introducing the three main hypotheses of the author including that humans are innately reluctance to kill fellow humans, the reluctance is normally broken down through combat conditioning techniques and lastly, that killing has a life long psychological effects on combat soldiers. Although significant evidence supporting Grossman’s theories exist in previous literature, the authors systematic examination of the behavior of combat soldiers provides a wide rage of new scientific explanations of various phenomena such as the high incidences of post traumatic stress among veterans and ex-combat soldiers and the rising cases of aggravated assault among others. Within the first few chapters, Grossman particularly uses different analogies to introduce the concepts of the book to the readers and explain human’s aversion to the act of killing. For example, he argues that throughout the animal kingdom, intraspecies conflicts rarely result in death and instead, most animals normally employ a great deal of posturing including growling, puffing up, raising hackles and clawing. He further suggests that physical confrontation in various animal species is often non-lethal, and at some stage, one of the parties normally choose to retreat or submit. In this regard, Grossman uses this analogy to support his arguments that humans are also innately inclined to follow similar patterns. In the following chapters, the author begins to examine the various techniques that have been developed by military trainers to overcome the aversion. For example, using Vietnam War as a case study, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman reveals how the American soldiers were conditioned to kill to a considerably far greater degree compared to the previous combat killings. Having successfully argued that humans possess an innate aversion to taking of life in his investigation of the combat psychology, Grossman highlights various ways of changing the scenarios of combat to limit stressful situations such as cases of up-close killing have been developed. For example, the author argues that this has been successfully achieved by incorporating machinery between the killers and the target enemy to enhance the emotional and physical distance. The author particularly looks into the military techniques such as the operant conditioning that enable soldiers to overcome psychic damage associated with the experience of killing another fellow human. One of the widely mentioned concepts applied in the training of combat soldiers to kill is the operant conditioning of their fears into automatic killing reflex. This is primarily based on the fact that when people become frightened or angry, they usually begin to loose some of their aversions to killing. According to Grossman, the contemporary operant conditioning training involves training soldiers to shoot at human shoot at objects as opposed to bull’s eyes that were previously used. These techniques were generally developed after military combat trainers began to closely study the reactions of ordinary soldiers after killing. On the other hand, Grossman also argues that the breakdown of the contemporary American, coupled with the pervasive depiction of violence ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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