Monday, January 4, 2016


On Saturday we finally had a break in the clouds so my wife and I went out to get some sun. My wife wanted to browse the local Barnes & Noble. One of the nice things about bookstores is the ability to shelf browse. I've been reading more non-fiction lately, so I went over to the History section where I came across an interesting book. ON KILLING: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. The book is paperback in one of those larger or odd sizes that seem to proliferate lately. It's an update of Grossman's original 1995 work to include information on 21st-century military conflicts, recent trends in crime, suicide bombings, school shootings, and more.
The good news is that most soldiers are loath to kill. But armies have developed sophisticated ways of overcoming this instinctive aversion The psychological cost for soldiers, as evidenced by the increase in post-traumatic stress, is devastating. The psychological cost for the rest of us is even greater: contemporary civilian society, particularly the media, replicates the army's conditional techniques and directly contributes to our rising rate of violent crime, especially among the young.
An interesting topic and a controversial thesis. Grossman is a former army Ranger, paratrooper, and psychology professor at West Point. This book should be interesting.

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