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On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society
AuthorDave Grossman
PublisherBack Bay Books
Followed byOn Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace

On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society is a book by Lt.Col. Dave Grossman exploring the military psychology of the act of killing and the military and law enforcement establishments' attempt to understand and deal with the consequences of killing.

The book is based on SLA Marshall's studies from World War II, which proposed that contrary to popular perception,[1] the majority of soldiers in war do not ever fire their weapons and that this is due to an innate resistance to killing. Based on Marshall's studies the military instituted training measures to break down this resistance[citation needed] and successfully raised soldier's firing rates to over ninety percent during the war in Vietnam.

Grossman points out that there are great psychological costs that weigh heavily on the combat soldier or police officer who kills if they are not mentally prepared for what may happen; if their actions (killing) are not supported by their commanders and/or peers; and if they are unable to justify their actions (or if no one else justifies the actions for them).

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