The Truth about Killing Part 2


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Iain
March 15, 2004, 06:22 PM
Tonight saw the second of the two part documentary being shown in the UK that appears to be completely based on a book by David Grossman ex-US Army.

Focus tonight was more on the techniques that modern armies have used to try and up the fire rates of the infantry. First we heard from Vietnam vet B52 pilots who said that they felt their work was easier on them psychologically than the work the infantry must have had to have done. This theme was returned to at the end.

Then our reporter went to experience 'Clockwork Orange' experiments, as advocated by an American army scientist in 1974 who subsequently went missing and was never heard of again. Smith (reporter) had his eyes held open and his head clamped and was forced to watch footage the like of which could never be shown on TV. He said it had the opposite effect, he felt more horrified by the violence.

The idea seems to be all about teaching soldiers that firing is the automatic response when under threat, to sidestep and eliminate the paralysing fear response. And it works, by the Falklands the British 'firing rate' was at 95%, the Argentinians had not had the training and despite out-numbering the British they took three times more casualties.

He went to speak to Grossman who talked about weapons technology being all about putting distance between yourself and the enemy. Two practical reasons being at distance there is less risk and that it displaces your actions. As he said, when we first picked up rocks we could start to blame the rock for the kill, after all we couldn't stove a man's head in by ourselves, it must be the rock that killed him. Where have we heard this before?

Smith did some training with Grossman and with a former soldier in Arkansas and then joined the US Marines for a simunitions exercise where he got shot, and he says it really really hurt.

To return to the psychological aspect, he spoke to British para's who had been at Goose Green, one of the nastiest battles that occurred in the 1982 Falklands War. One in particular still has nightmares, he cannot sleep because he sees a young Argentinian with his brains in his helmet steaming in the freezing cold. Not surprised he doesn't sleep. 252 British soldiers died in 1982, since then over 200 veterans have committed suicide. As Grossman said 'I can train your body to kill, I can't train your mind to deal with what your body has done.'

Less controversial than last week, just as thought-provoking.

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4v50 Gary
March 15, 2004, 06:30 PM
While there is no glory in killing, it's not a dishonour to come home alive after having killed the other b******. Geez, Patton would have slapped me for saying this.:o

PATH
March 15, 2004, 06:31 PM
Some people deal with it better than others. Some go on with life with nightmares. Some are crippled. Some just put it behind them and get on with things. I don't think there is really a way to know how this sort of thing will affect someone until they are faced with it in the real world.

I do believe that it affects everyone to some degree or another. "Combat fatigue" or post traumatic stress disorder are quite real. How much horror can you see and absorb before the mind says enough? How much fear can you deal with before you are useless as a soldier any more?

It can be rather difficult to retain ones sanity in the midst of insanity.

MicroBalrog
March 15, 2004, 06:34 PM
Smith (reporter) had his eyes held open and his head clamped and was forced to watch footage the like of which could never be shown on TV


What?:confused:

Jeff White
March 15, 2004, 06:41 PM
St Johns,
How old is that BBC documentory? The reason I asked is this comment:
As Grossman said 'I can train your body to kill, I can't train your mind to deal with what your body has done.'

Because David Grossman has been training people on the pointy end of the spear to deal with this issue for several years now. He has an outstanding eight hour presentation called The Bulletproof Mind that he presents to military and law enforcement people all over the world. I was fortunate enough to attend this training a couple years ago.

Jeff

othermarc
March 15, 2004, 06:42 PM
I saw this same show. Very interesting...

Thought it was interesting how he pointed out that soldiers, after doing what we've trained them to do, don't need to come home to accusations and questions. They should come home to honor and glory.

MicroBalrog
March 15, 2004, 06:44 PM
Now: Why does Jeff Cooper, hailed by some as the No.1 expert on self-defense and guns, not believe in PTSD?

He was in WWII and Korea, right?

I mean, I don't know, but we can't disregard him, right?

Iain
March 15, 2004, 06:44 PM
Is pretty new I guess, the newest thing it references is the latest war in Iraq and the subsequent occupation. First time it has been shown on TV here.

What can you tell us about 'The Bulletproof Mind'? It may be that they cut out this aspect of his work for brevity or because it conflicts with the premise of the programme.

edited to add:

It's a Channel Four documentary btw.

And I fully agree with the comments about returning home to honour, I forgot to mention that in the original post.

othermarc
March 15, 2004, 06:49 PM
What was the premise of the show? I didn't see all of part 1 and feel I missed something. To me, it seemed like he was proving that it's not easy to kill- but with proper training and effort, humans (in general) can do it- they just can't live with it.

Iain
March 15, 2004, 06:53 PM
I didn't realise but 'The Truth about Killing' was the other thread started by me and it was revived earlier today. My first post describes the first programme in detail.

Jeff White
March 15, 2004, 07:51 PM
St Johns,

Here is the course description for The Bulletproof Mind:

Course objectives:

To do, for the mind and the spirit, what body armor does for the torso.

Psychological and Physiological Preparation for Combat

-The students will integrate, into their professions, an understanding and
application of for measures for: prevention, response, and survival in the
face of a new kind of domestic and international terrorism, as represented by the attacks in NYC, Littleton, Oklahoma City, and Jonesboro.

-The students will integrate, into their professions, an understanding and
application of the effects of physiological arousal upon humans faced with
close-range interpersonal aggression

-The students will integrate, into their professions, a knowledge of
physiological arousal in close-range interpersonal aggression in order to limit and prevent undesired physiological arousal in close-range interpersonal aggression situations.

-The students will integrate, into their professions, a knowledge of
physiological arousal in close-range interpersonal aggression in order to limit and prevent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

-The students will integrate, into their professions, a knowledge of stress
inoculation to close-range interpersonal aggression factors in order to limit
and prevent undesired physiological arousal in close-range interpersonal
aggression situations.

-The student will integrate, into their professions, an understanding of (1)
the physiological effects of combat and (2) military violence enabling
techniques, in order to explain the role of media violence (in TV, movies and video games) in causing violent crime.

I found it one of the best days training I've ever had. As to training the mind to kill, Dr. Grossman basically says it's ok to do your job. If your job requires you to kill in combat then there is nothing wrong with you if you do. He takes on the pop-psychology notion that if you have done your job that there must be something wrong with you because you've killed. He used the analogy of sheepdogs, sheep and wolves. Soldiers and police officers (and I would personally expand this definition to include armed citizens defending them selves or their families) are society's sheepdogs. They have teeth (their weapons) but the sheep (society) needn't fear them because they would never loose their weapons on the sheep, just on the wolves. <admin note, we're discussing David Grossman's Bulletproof mind seminar here, it's not appropriate to steer the thread away to why we should fear the military and police, you're welcome start your own thread to discuss that> He tells us that there is nothing wrong with feeling good about doing your job. He goes through the entire gamut of emotions that are experienced. Dr. Grossman says that there is nothing wrong with and that it's totally normal to feel a bit of elation after winning the fight. You're not mentally ill if you aren't overcome with guilt.

I found the portion on the physiological elements great. It helps to know that almost everyone reacts the same way to those situations. If you know what's coming you can develop mechanisms to deal with it. He teaches a deep breathing exercise he calls combat breathing that will slow things down and help your body deal with the adrenaline dump. Unfortunately Dr. Grossman limits attendance to military and police. I think that anyone who carries a weapon with the understanding that they may need to use it would benefit from this course.

Jeff

MicroBalrog
March 15, 2004, 07:57 PM
Does everybody suddenly have me on ignore or something?:) :) :neener:

Zedicus
March 15, 2004, 08:11 PM
not me, I only Have one Guy on ignore...;) :rolleyes:

para.2
March 15, 2004, 09:06 PM
Microbalrog:
I'll give it a try:
I don't know the good colonel's views on PTSD, but, assuming he doesn't "believe" in it, I can say that he is a combination of a product of the society in which he was raised (and trained) and one of the lucky ones who can emotionally "shift into neutral" when compelled to violence.
I can with some authority state that PTSD does, in fact, exist. I can, without getting into too much detail, further state that, while I no longer have any doubts about what I will or will not do "when the balloon goes up", a person's reactions to events, in the present moment, and in the future are as unique as that person. Identical events will affect different people differently.
In closing, I'll just say that, for me, Col. Cooper is a great source for shooting/gunfighting info, less so for psychological/psychiatric advice..;)

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