Trained to Kill
A military expert on the psychology of killing explains how today's media condition kids to pull the trigger.
August 10, 1998
Why are kids shooting their classmates?
David Grossman is a military psychologist who coined the term killology for a new interdisciplinary field: the study of the methods and psychological effects of training army recruits to circumvent their natural inhibitions to killing fellow human beings. Here he marshals unsettling evidence that the same tactics used in training soldiers are at work in our media and entertainment. CT thinks that parents, the church, scholars, and the government must come together to study this question more intensely:
Are we training our children to kill?
I am from Jonesboro, Arkansas. I travel the world training medical, law enforcement, and U.S. military personnel about the realities of warfare. I try to make those who carry deadly force keenly aware of the magnitude of killing. Too many law enforcement and military personnel act like "cowboys," never stopping to think about who they are and what they are called to do. I hope I am able to give them a reality check.
So here I am, a world traveler and an expert in the field of "killology," and the largest school massacre in American history happens in my hometown of Jonesboro, Arkansas. That was the March 24 schoolyard shooting deaths of four girls and a teacher. Ten others were injured, and two boys, ages 11 and 13, are in jail, charged with murder.
My son goes to one of the middle schools in town, so my aunt in Florida called us that day and asked, "Was that Joe's school?" And we said, "We haven't heard about it." My aunt in Florida knew about the shootings before we did!
We turned on the television and discovered the shootings took place down the road from us but, thank goodness, not at Joe's school. I'm sure almost all parents in Jonesboro that night ...
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