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BadBone

Psychology of killing.

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The real test of today's soldier is whether or not to hesitate to pull the trigger on anyone, anywhere and at any time when the fight is on to save his own life and the life of his brothers.

Problem being with war nowadays, the enemy doesn't wear a specific uniform.  He intentionally blends in to the masses of civilians.  A weapon means nothing, as it is local law where we are fighting that everyone has the right to have one.  And beyond that the weapon they carry isn't always visible.  Today the battlefield isn't just filled with men carrying rifles.  It is laden with women and children strapped (not always by choice) with explosives.  Family cars turned into bombs with the families in them.  Today's soldier has to be ready for doing even the unthinkable, in the face of death.  

We are taught repeatedly about target ID and things to look for in an attempt to save innocence but what it comes down to is a millisecond of reaction time.  You yell, you shout, you may even fire a warning but if someone doesn't stop what do you do?  They keep coming and you die...you kill them and find they had nothing and were just scared.  So were you.  It becomes more of being able to live with it afterwards.  

Can I do it?  Yes.  Will I?  Most likely.  Will I be happy about it?  Not at all, but it depends on whether me and all my brothers come home afterwards.  You enlist for country.  You fight to come home.

Real war isn't a cut and dry series of questions like the thread suggests.  Not at all.  But I do appreciate that it allows those of us that understand to enlighten those who haven't had the experience to see what goes on in our minds.

That is the one thing that no game/sim can't ever recreate and who would want it if it could?  Kind of makes you laugh at all the times in-game when someone gets TK'd and the dead guy complains about target ID, doesn't it?

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Just out of interest, I'd like to know how many of the folks who've responded to this thread have actual military training and experience.

Probably almost nobody.

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Just out of interest, I'd like to know how many of the folks who've responded to this thread have actual military training and experience.

Well the military training and experience I have all comes from the military service I did in the Finnish Defence Forces.

I don't have war experience and I don't want it. I feel sorry for those who have such experience.

The number one reason why we have a military here is to make it not worth it for anyone to attack us, i.e. to show that your losses will be so high it would be stupid from you to attack us (if only J.Stalin would have understood this before attacking...). In other words, our goal is to not get war experience.

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Just out of interest, I'd like to know how many of the folks who've responded to this thread have actual military training and experience.

US Army here

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Well it kind of depends. If there was say another civil war, I probably would still do it, but still I would think about it. Now, over in Iraq/Afghanistan- for example- I'd have no problem killing terrorists and insurgents with AKs and RPGs in hand, at all.

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Well first of all I think the web page you refer to really is only speculating and not showing how it ends up in such conclusions. I mean, did they count the number of bullets fired in a war and then compared that number to the total casualties? Like, if a bullet didn't hit anyone then the person who fired it didn't want to hit anyone? Quite nonsense in my opinion... also the point "Some pilots didn't shoot down a single enemy plane." really tells us nothing, it could as well be that the pilots that didn't get any kills just were not engaged in such battle situations, or they were so bad they couldn't hit anything even if they wanted to. That article really doesn't give us proof to back up its arguments. It just throws some "facts" at us but doesn't tell how those "facts" were found to be true. Significant problem with the reliability of this information source, I say.

But to answer the question: I picked #1 but with a condition.

I would have to be serving in the Finnish Defence Forces and facing an enemy which is trying to invade our country or something similar. So I would do it only as a defensive measure and when my actions are backed by our legislation and government. I have given an oath in which I promise to protect this country and as part of fulfilling that oath I would need to kill other people if that is what the commanders of our country are telling me to do in an event of war.

As a civilian I will never shoot anyone, I am confident about that. I am by nature a person who does not want to hurt anyone. You can force me into hurting other people but as I said, it requires our nation to be under direct threat. If I get into a "to kill or not to kill" situation as a civilian, I am more likely to choose "not to kill" and find some other way out of the situation, as the "to kill" choice would most likely get myself into prison for a long time and that's really not what I want.

If I had to shoot someone in a war, I am sure the nightmares would disturb me for the rest of my life. So I believe that I would have conscience problems despite of the fact that I now say I could kill someone while at war. I would do it for my nation but it would have a high price, there is no doubt about that.

No its not nonsense, that article was just the 1st google hit i choose to go with my poll, its a well known documented fact.

Have a google yourself and you will see.

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I think this poll is pathetic. You have to be in a situation like that before you know...

I think if you killed something, you'll never be the same... and thats not in a good way... A lot of veterans are traumatized, and wake up everynight with that face in their mind... thats not cool... It just F**** up your life.....

If you saw a guy, scared, screaming for his mother, shitting his pants... would you shoot him?

Well thats my point. band.gif

Quote[/b] ]If you saw a guy, scared, screaming for his mother, shitting his pants... would you shoot him?

would you? You've been given an order to open fire. Answers 1-4. Thats the reason of the poll, im not asking if there are cold blooded killers amongst us, im asking if you  happened to be in the situation that you are in ArmA but in real life, could you indeed do it?

I didnt ask if you would be f****d up in the head after.

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Read On Killing by Lt. Col. David Grossman. It is a pscyhological text written primarily for veterans who have seen direct action. Whether you can kill or not depends on your training and other factors. Few soldiers have a problem with killing at the time in modern warfare because the military takes great pains to ensure that conditions are right for it. Few people don't have a problem with it afterwards, though. According to Grossman, it is a guilt that many veterans take to their grave.

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I voted number 2. It really depends on the situation though - if I was a soldier, and I knew I had to kill the other guy or he would kill me, I think I could pull the trigger.

But I could never kill another person for any other reason than to protect my own life or that of my family and friends. I'm very sure of that.

I'm from London, England by the way.

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"Playing CTF last night, and popping rounds into peoples heads as they stuck out from behind a wall got me thinking about how many ArmA players would be able to do this for real."

i like shooters games like RTCW, MOHAA, OFP, COD, ARMA but this is just a game

i hate and despise all criminals, killers, rapist, pedophile, burglars, such person i would kill with pleasure, thats why was going to police service some years ago, i am also for death penalty, if someone says about human rights for killers - i say, if someone not respect other, i don't respect him, eye for an eye

but i say that killing can be "good" only when it is in self defence against criminal, or troops invading my country

i never have been to army, because i hate to be offensive other countries, army should only defend its land, Polish troops are in Iraq, i am totally against it, because it is not our land

but if other troop will come to my home, i would kill him without any remorse, because i believe that people should live in their houses without fear that somebody cames to told them "now you will live with new rules(our rules), now you are belivingin other god, now you are ... etc "

but i would never agree for invasion of other country to take somebody raw materials like oil, because for me this is selfishness

killing if it is in defense morality, is for me okay

killing as invasion to other land, is for me crime, like Hitler did it in the past, because he wanted his country to be strong, no matter on other countries , in history of world we had colonies, slavery , since many years some countries in world are wanna build their power and wealth by invading other and making them obey - this is horror

so for the questions of author of topic, i say it depends what such man did to me , but only on my own territory , because every man in the world has his home and his family is for him most important

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I could easily kill someone providing there is a condition like I am in combat and this guy will start shooting if I don't kill him first.

However with that said I don't think I will be forgetting about it any time soon. Good guy or a bad guy - in the end they are still human.

But who knows, if the time ever came up, we may act totally different then how we thought we would have.

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"The enemy 

of the massed working class

is my enemy too

inveterate and of long standing."

Option 1 is for all Bushists, Blairists, Hitlerists and other people who use the working class as cannon fodder in order to secure markets and profits.

Option 4 is for the rest.

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Alot of people in this topic have been saying things such as "if they're terrorists or attacking my country I would kill them".

The problem with this however is that it is easy to boast about it to your friends behind the lines or at the base, and while you're in control of your own mind. The real issue arises the split second that it takes to have your brain send the signal to your hand to pull the trigger. You see the guys face, wonder what his girlfriend looks like, how sad his parents will be to hear about his passing etc. These thoughts are hardly ever voluntary, but rather a product of the human nature, resistance if you will, to kill another human being.

Like an experienced officer said on a documentary that I saw about the mental issues regarding combat kills, "the easiest first kill is a long distance kill where your view of the enemy soldier is partially being obstructed" (to break up the distinct human shape). That way you won't see the guys face every night.

Anyone who kills without ever giving his line of work a second thought is either a sociopath, or really lucky, regardless of the necessity of his actions.

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Quote[/b] ]"if they're terrorists or attacking my country I would kill them".

first of all - why there is a terrorism ?

Kreator on his latest CD has such lyrics "terror is a shadow of a fear"

yes it is

if one nation was treated as slaves, as cheap workers, as those he prevents very very rich fat pigs to earn more Maybachs, Rolls, Lexus, so such nation is taking revenge

the most sad is situation in which some people pay for sins of their grandfathers

i know what Germans and Rusians did in their history, but we all should make new history/future of world better

but there are some nations in world that cannot forgive, they are not ready yet, thats why there is a terrorism

for me this situation looks like follow:

once upon a time man A kicked man B and forced him to work for free and took all his goods

now child of B kicked child of A

and child of A says "he is bad, he kicked me" and young boy A forgets that some things he has were stolen from old B

having some to do in Police i know this philosophy

thief stole wallet of man, this man kicked him, and thief has claims that he was forced

in Polish language we have proverb "kto sieje wiatr zbiera burze"

"one who started wind, has storm"

of course terrorism is very evil, but you cannot vanish it without vanishing causes

it is like giving painkillers instead of healing , sickness won't disappear

terrorism is deep problem, of course there are some insane religious madmen , they are mentally ill and they should be eliminated,because they are too ill to stop things they do, sick man will kill other if he is not locked or killed

insane man is like rabid, there is no other way

most problematic is how to convince large groups to peaceful life

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I voted the 2nd option.

No military training/never had to kill a human.

Although tests have shown that playing games can take away (a part of) the fear to kill someone else, i think too many people here voted the first option (overestimating themselves).

You may be able to when you have no other choice, but 'no problem'? Alot of people i know cant bring themselves to kill an animal, so i doubt that >50% of the people can kill someone else without any problems.

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This is odd, if they are your enemy, they will kill you if you hesitate. I could never understand why anyone would hesitate, maybe I will learn someday.

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Quote[/b] ]I voted the 2nd option.

No military training/never had to kill a human.

Although tests have shown that playing games can take away (a part of) the fear to kill someone else, i think too many people here voted the first option (overestimating themselves).

You may be able to when you have no other choice, but 'no problem'? Alot of people i know cant bring themselves to kill an animal, so i doubt that >50% of the people can kill someone else without any problems

killing animal ? only if it attacks me (or insects)

hunters for sport - never , i would never go to the hunting :/

what poor deer or rabbit did o those men ?

i love animals, in winter time i feed wild birds , now on my window sill there is also some seed of sunflower for tits or sparrows, i cannot imagine take life of such beauty

i have never been fishing too

of course as a human i have to eat vegetables, milk and meat too

for me criminal : burglar, rapist, thief, pedophile or ex-SS man is less worthy than cat or dog

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Hi all

The following is a very simplified precis.

Killing our own kind is something that we genetically programmed not to do. Any species that easily kills its own kind is on its way to experience a Darwin award. Read On Aggression by Konrad Lorenz.

That said about 2% of the population are sociopaths who can kill without remorse or empathy, most of these are conditioned by society not to kill and their normal social conditioning prevents them from killing and they live normal healthy lives, a few don't take that conditioning and are the people who become sociopathic murderers. This 2% are the people most armies weed out with their psychological testing. They do not tend to make good soldiers.

Another 2% to 3% are those who can kill without training or conditioning but do so with empathy and remorse. These are the people who tend to be heroes and win medals. They are good at war because they can see the reason behind the need for violence. Their actions tend to be reasoned and considered. This 2% to 3% are the people most armies look for with their psychological testing they are also the people who end up being leaders in the military.

5% Are those the who cannot kill no matter the circumstances they make good medics and firemen though as they will often risk their own life to save another, their empathy levels are so very high. They are also the people who become conscientious objectors

The rest of us are the 90% are normal every day people; using operant conditioning most of those can can be taught to kill. This 90% are the people who most armies psychological testing show they will have to train a lot in order to make them kill. Modern military training is very effective at doing this.

Operant conditioning overrides our basic instinct not to harm our own kind; it is achieved by the following methods:

1) Continuous training and drilling to the point where the order is obeyed by the unconscious thought before the conscious thought can mediate the action

2) Associative memory conditioning by using human-shaped targets rather than the of bulls-eye type targets used in rifle competition, also of relevance here is the use of high fidelity simulation to give a very real representation of the human movement and even the reaction to being shot.

3) The so called firing squad principal; of distribution of responsibility for the act of killing throughout the group, thus reducing the stress and pain of killing.

4) Mob mentality. Encouraging pack thought and action so that the pack reacts violently to a threat. This has to be sharply controlled as it can very easily become displaced into lynch mob behaviour My Lai Massacre anyone. This tends to the most primitive conditioning form and most modern armies tend to want leave it alone.

5) Displacing responsibility for the killing onto an authority figure, i.e. the commanding officer and the military hierarchy this is what caused apparently normal people to comply with the Holocaust and is the subject of the Milgram Experiment recorded in "The Perils of Obedience", the 1974 article by Stanley Milgram the man who got people off the street to electrocute someone they did not know if they did not get questions right. I am sure you have seen the archive film.

6) Inure the person to violence via exposure to violent experieces and culture such as fights, violent images films, games and language. In military training they try to compatmentalise this so that it can be triggered on demand via orders and situations.

On top of all this we have peoples fear reactions most of us when exposed to extreme violence, threat, or emergency for the first time just feeze up or run away as our conscoius mind has nothing to fall back on; not having experienced this before. Operant conditioning also makes use of our midbrain to make us act in these circumstanses by suplanting our conscious thoughts with a set of trained subconcious reactions.

The real problem with operant conditioning is that even if you can be trained to kill the psychological damage it does is the biggest part of PTSD.

You may think most soldiers who come back complaining of PTSD from war are those shocked by the violence they have seen and for some that is true, and in a way is very true it is violence they have seen up real close because they have done it and most of us are that 90% for whom violence is not something we will do consciously and willingly.

For those who want to know more go here:

http://www.killology.com/

Kind Regards walker

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In iraq, in nearly all cases you don't see what you're shooting at, you are just firing in the general direction of the enemy...

If it was in the military and killing whoever was in my sights was in the interest of me and my colleagues, then I wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger obviously...

The only thing holding back most people from killing someone that they want to, is that it wouldn't be worth it to get locked up for the rest of their life.

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I kill fluffy animals almost daily.

There are side effects.

To start with I felt a sense of victory. Mastery of my weapon. Superiority and domination over my victim.

Thousands of animals later, I still get that feeling.

As a teen that feeling was the overriding one. To point where I was killing any old thing to achive that mastery.

But things have moved on, now when I kill things there is an associated sense of guilt.

By mistake one day, I shot one of my owls.

My eagerness to become a successful shot led me to fire without first confirming my target.

An unpleasant lesson that left me feeling post adrenalin sick.

That's when it all changed.

I try not to dwell on it, but now when I take life I'm aware that thing I killed left behind a family who will be missing it.

The same feeling I feel when my girlfriend has gone. The same feeling I feel when my pet has died.

An empty bed. No arms around me. No warm body next to me. Alone.

Occaisionally when I botch a kill or when I don't get a clean one, I watch the animal die.

At this point it is impossible to avoid the sense of guilt.

And there is something else.

I know what it feels like to die. I can see it in them as they go.

It's blind fear. They are just desperately trying to get away from the danger. To escape death. the only thing they can think of is how to get away. But they can't.

I listen to their screams of terror.

This is how I will die. This is how my 85 year old father will die.

Without dignity. In fear. Not just fear. Terror. Uncontrolable fear. Overwhelming fear. Fear that dominates every conscious and subconscious element of your mind.

I don't like to dwell on it. But the more I kill, the more I do.

It blackens the soul.

Many times when I look out over my beautiful garden, instead seeing all the beautiful flowers and lawns and tree's, all I look for is something to kill.

Death surpasses beauty in my mental process. It becomes an obsession that overides the appreciation of life.

I become beauty blind.

One particular summer after I had shoot 300 or so rabbits in the space of a month or two, killing had become the overriding mental process in my life.

I spent more time thinking about killing and death than about anything else in the world.

I had to take a holiday to get it out of my system. If you asked me what I had been up to, I would talk about killing and this wasn't doing my social life any great wonders either.

People who are not living in an enviroment where it is necessary to do this really can't empathise.

They don't understand and they don't agree with you for doing it.

In fact they radically disagree and will take issue with you.

They don't understand the guilt, they haven't felt it themselves, and like little children keep poking you with it because they don't understand how it feels and how black it is to think about it.

At the same time it's catch 22, you don't want to hear about it, but it's all you've been doing and you want to talk about it.

I could easily kill some one. All I need to do is be in the circumstance where that is the correct course of action.

I could easily kill many people, but living with it on my mind, reliving some of those moments would not be so easy.

The more I kill the more I dislike it. The harder to do so, it becomes.

In the end, I give up completely and go soft. I let them all live.

And then they do so much damage either I have to start again, or another member of my family must take over the responsability. They won't like it either. The same way it makes me feel, it will make them feel. Rather me than them at the end of the day.

I try to maintain a thick skin. To remain hard and capable of killing.

To not dwell on the dark side but instead focus on the mastery of the weapon, the thrill of domination.

It takes mental discipline, Zen, and it never works 100% of the time.

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Quote[/b] ]I voted the 2nd option.

No military training/never had to kill a human.

Although tests have shown that playing games can take away (a part of) the fear to kill someone else, i think too many people here voted the first option (overestimating themselves).

You may be able to when you have no other choice, but 'no problem'? Alot of people i know cant bring themselves to kill an animal, so i doubt that >50% of the people can kill someone else without any problems

killing animal ? only if it attacks me (or insects)

hunters for sport - never , i would never go to the hunting :/

what poor deer or rabbit did o those men ?

Well i was talking about putting birds/mice out of their misery after the cat got bored playing with them, and killing animals in order to survive (from starvation/self defence/...). Although the latter doesnt happen alot anymore*.. tounge2.gif

*Except for those millions of cows/pigs/chickens/sheep/whatever we consume, but we dont kill those ourselves, so that doesnt count.

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It is clear that many of you have no idea what you are talking about. This thread is like a bunch of virgins talking about sex (myself included).

According to ongoing military studies on efficacy, the rate of soldiers that participate in killing activities at close and medium ranges is about 90% only because of training techniques. The rate of soldiers doing the same thing in world war 2 was about 20%. This training bypasses a person's natural resistence to killing using operant and classical conditioning techniques. The psychology of the soldier is left unprotected. The 'I would kill someone coming at me blabitty bla bla' stories you tell yourself would be useful AFTER you've already killed when you try to rationalize what you have done. You have little to do with the decision to kill in modern warfare. It has everything to do with the expectations of your group, the proximity and reputation of your commanders, your training, the attractiveness of your target, and most importantly, the amount of physical and cultural distance between you and the target. Let me state clearly that all this propaganda and other prejudiced behaviour such as the blanket 'terrorist' categorization and the military convention of calling their enemy slopes, gooks, niggers, hadjis, and other pejoratives serve a purpose to dehumanize your enemy and make them more attractive targets by taking away their likeness to the shooter. It would be easy for anyone in this forum to kill someone in the military under modern military conditions. In fact, it would be difficult not to. The repetitive simulation of killing might make it slightly easier for someone in here to do the same, but any untrained idiot on the street (like most of us) would have a tougher time, and a much tougher time afterward.

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It really depends on how much 1 side hates the other, if you hate the other country then its gonna be allot easier squeezing the trigger than a guy that has no idea what hes doing there and is told to kill someone that he has no feelings toward.

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If you became soldier you have to kill, with no questions asked, when order is given or enemy is infront of you. Or you will be dead.... simple as this..

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