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The Old Hack

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The Old Hack last won the day on August 18

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  1. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    Yes, but remember, a HUGE amount of these casualties came from illness, infections, poor hygiene in general and stress exhaustion. Not to mention indirect warfare. It's a lot easier to lob artillery shells at human beings than it is to actually look them into the eyes as you kill them.
  2. This Day In History

    I remember being like twelve years old and seeing James Clavell's 'Shogun' among my mother's books. At the time, I thought it read 'Shotgun.' All you do is brutally abduct them from their homes, pack them in layers in stinking ship holds with insufficient food and drinking water, sell them off on markets like slabs of meat and then put them to work under conditions that would make an early 1800s factory owner blench. And then they get all upset about it. People are so thin skinned.
  3. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    I did. Quite a few of them do, but I am unsure they are any good for the purposes of combat statistics -- these seem to be mostly books about mental disorders in combat veterans and warfare survivors. I've noted British, German and Austrian works so far. I have noticed a few civilian efforts, too, if that is helpful. Also the author has conducted a lot of personal interviews with actual combat soldiers. Even Grossman himself stated as much. I think that you are correct in that the exact numbers are uncertain. What does seem certain is that an unknown but large percentage of combat soldiers simply cannot bring themselves to kill other human beings even in extremis. He cites eyewitness accounts that confirm this, though these obviously are no good for statistical purposes.
  4. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    Dave Grossman's excellent book 'On Killing' describes the problems and cites multiple sources. I will send you some of the sources he used in a private message later when I have slept.
  5. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    Expressing my actual opinion of him would take me weeks or months and would end up looking something like 'The Oxford Dictionary of Obscenities and Vulgar Expressions'.
  6. Story Friday August 16, 2019

    I really don't know. All I know is that 640K ought to be enough for anyone.
  7. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    I have an intense dislike for Orson Scott Card but he is undeniably a skilled writer.
  8. Story Friday August 16, 2019

    Load of nonsense. After all, IBM themselves said that some stupid device for making copies of written material would never be of any use in office work.
  9. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    You might be surprised to learn that this isn't very effective either. Careful investigation of soldiers in battle showed that in an average WW2 army only 10% of the soldiers in any given unit actually attempted to directly kill the enemy soldiers. In some exceptional units this rose to as much as 20%. Humans just aren't that happy about killing one another and simply dehumanising the enemy is not enough. If it is shaped and moves like a human being, your basic person on the street will face stiff psychological resistance against killing it. What is more, even if you do succeed in killing another human being -- no matter how dehumanised that person may be to you -- you suffer psychological scars from it. A large contributing factor to PTSD among veterans is simply that they cannot process having killed other human beings. And even the best training will not protect you from that. Modern training involves convincing human beings to shoot at human-shaped targets without thinking so that when they are finally in battle, muscle memory will override your resistance to killing. When you know you are just shooting at a target, you do not face this reluctance. Constant training against realistic targets will mean that in battle when split seconds count your reflexes will tell you, "It's just another target, shoot it." And only when you are looking at a bleeding corpse will it dawn on you that you have just killed another human being -- and then, obviously, it is too late. The damage will have been done, to the person killed and to the killer. This training works, mind you. Modern armies with this kind of training sees numbers rise to as many as 50% of all soldiers fighting effectively, possibly more. All that is moot in Susan's case, though. She had NO training. She did the act anyway. And even if she had had training, she would still have suffered trauma. Your proposed method of psychological support is about as effective as offering a placebo vaccination against the bubonic plague after the patient has contracted it. Yeah, you really ought to think. I hear you get good results from that and that it results in spewing total nonsense less often. Also just occasionally you avoid doing incredibly offensive things, like taunting the person you are communicating with about how their family was subjected to persecution and genocide.
  10. Story Monday, August 12, 2018

    Sophistry. You are arguing legal distinctions. I guarantee you that no matter which of these lie behind, the victim is still equally dead. And the dependents are still equally harmed emotionally and personally. If you are for some twisted reason bringing up whether the person responsible should be forgiven or not, take that one to the survivors. They might want to debate that one with you. I won't, I stand by my position that forgiveness is an individual decision and that no-one is required to either forgive or forget if they do not wish to.
  11. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    Yeah, good luck explaining that to a thirteen year old girl who was just forced to kill one in self defence. With an axe. I am sure she is in a real mood to debate philosophy.
  12. Story Wednesday August 21, 2019

    "You'll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs, or engaged in doing complicated long division sums."
  13. NP Friday, Aug 16, 2019

    Thank you for that information. That is terrifying and scary. I can only think of two potential answers to the above questions, and they are not good ones and certainly not exculpatory. Because nobody had thought about it and because they had always done it that way. I admit I am shaped by my father's thinking. He is a medical professional and part of the work he used to do was improving safety procedures. He deemed preventing future repetition of mishaps far more important than placing responsibility for present ones and stated that if you assured those who had been part of the mishap that they would suffer no punishment for it, then you would get a much larger percentage of honest reports. Allowing anonymous statements was key to this. I do not know the full scope of the incident in question. There is such a thing as criminal negligence and I respect that. I just wanted to toss in my two cents based on my father's much more valuable expertise.
  14. Story Monday, August 19, 2019

    Susan was a literal survivor of two potentially deadly fights, one of which did result in a death -- and at her hands, too. I would not be shocked to learn if she had PTSD. It is a brutal shock to the human psyche to kill another human being, especially at that age. There is a reason modern nations outlaw the use of child soldiers. I agree with you that it probably was a much smaller shock... but part of me wonders if that might not have been due to numbness, too, and that makes me feel terribly, terribly sad.
  15. Story Wednesday August 21, 2019

    I've always gotten along well with cats. I've used the technique @mlooney describes above many times to good effect. I think part of the reason it is so useful is that you place yourself at (literal) arm's length and thus clearly respect the cat's personal space. You give the cat a feeling of safety and something new to sniff at, and then often its natural curiosity will take over. As to the rest of it, I simply give them room and wait for them to decide if they are interested in me. If they are, I begin friendship overtures. Otherwise I leave them alone. It seems to work both for me and the cats.