Natural Born Killers

Red Emma’s post brings to mind a Military Review article I read years ago entitled “Natural Killers – Turning the Tide of Battle”.  The basic notion was that some people are naturally predisposed to feel no remorse about killing; and that such personnel, properly identified & trained, could be (and often were) useful in combat.  My interest piqued, I soon made may way through Grossman’s book “On Killing” – only to discover – alas –  that it mainly dealt with killings by “ordinary” human beings who did feel remorse.

Since then, however, I’ve harbored an occasional interest in the “dark side” of human nature.  Some articles that recently made their way into that file:

1.  Coping w/ the Adolescent Psychopath – the title says it all.

2.  Origins of Antisocial Behavior – “New research on the origins of antisocial behaviour, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, suggests that early-onset antisocial behaviour in children with psychopathic tendencies is largely inherited.”

3.  Studying psychopathy via fMRI

4.  The evolutionary roots of murderous tendencies:


One Response to “Natural Born Killers”

  1. Issues such as the article on adolescent psychopaths and the heritability of anti-social/psychopathic tendencies make me very, very cynical WRT criminal rehabilitation, particularly for violent offenders. Granted, compulsory military service could provide a useful outlet for such tendencies, but only if such a program is implemented (doubtful, especially with our current political overlords), and, more importantly, if it is perpetual (otherwise, when released from the rigid discipline of the military hierarchy, they may revert to their destructive tendencies). In particular, I find it difficult to believe that individuals who have spent most of their lives without any respect for civil society and the rule of law could be taught such things in a (relatively) short amount of time – apart from the coercive methods that military service would employ, that is.

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