“Killing is a drug to me”

So says an infantry veteran of the war in Iraq. He wrote an essay for a class at a community college in which he talks about being addicted to killing. Subsequently, he was banned from the school pending a psychological evaluation. The local media picked up the story and you can read about it HERE. (I have some reservations about the legitimacy of some of the claims he makes in his essay, but for the sake of the argument I’ll grant he’s telling nothing but the truth.)

In his phenomenal book On Killing, Grossman talks about the natural aversion we have to killing and some of the ways the military gets us to “get over” that hangup, but he goes on to talk about how people can come to actually like killing. For anyone interested in the psychology of killing, or “killology,” with its impact on society… I heartily recommend the book. It IS the definitive resource on the topic.

While I am one who certainly thinks that sometimes someone needs a good killin’ and in those times the best thing we can do is kill whomever it is that needs killed, I think it is disgusting to be “addicted” to killing as if one has given himself over to has most carnal and destructive instincts like a Viking or something. 

What I find the most aggrivating is that this guy would dare insinuate that him becoming “addicted to killing” is either the fault of the Army, or even the war, or that it is a natural reaction to either of those things. Please note that just because the military wants troops to be able to engage with and kill the enemy without hesitation, that does NOT mean that it is desired or wanted that troops should get their kicks from killing.

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