On Killing Test | Final Test - Hard

Dave Grossman (author)
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. According to Grossman in Chapter 3, what does the army use in rifle training?

2. What animal was used in Skinner's conditioning experiment?

3. Which of the following is not a response to killing as described at the beginning of Chapter 1?

4. Which of the following is not a category of atrocity listed in Chapter 1?

5. In Chapter 5, to what group did the German defector interviewed switch?

Short Essay Questions

1. What changes have occurred in recent years to mitigate the psychiatric casualties of Vietnam?

2. In Chapter 6, what factors contribute to a soldier's decision to kill in the chart presented and discussed?

3. In Chapter 5, how does Grossman illustrate the danger of refusing to take part in an atrocity?

4. What factors traditionally assist in rationalization and acceptance after combat?

5. What solution did the American military devise to deal with low firing rates in World War II?

6. According to Grossman, why do young people idolize entertainment figures more than police and politicians?

7. According to Grossman in Chapter 3, what is the difference between military killing training and that provided by video games?

8. Why was combat in Vietnam particularly dirty, as described in Chapter 2?

9. As described in Chapter 2, how do children progress through increasingly violent entertainment?

10. What is the Weinberger Doctrine?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Much of the book is dedicated to the vast majority of soldiers that are naturally resistant to killing, but Grossman indicates that a small number of soldiers feel no remorse after killing. Write an essay about these natural warriors. What do they all have in common? How are their lives generally similar, and how do they interact with less aggressive combatants around them? What separates a natural warrior from a psychopath?

Essay Topic 2

At one point in ON KILLING, Grossman describes the roots of fear and group bonding that can lead to an atrocity like the My Lai massacre. Write a three-part essay on the factors that lead to an atrocity in war, using My Lai as a framing device:

Part 1) How does fear of an unseen enemy make atrocities more likely in war? Discuss the way in which this creates emotional distance between noncombatants and soldiers. How does a catalyzing event, like an attack on the unit, further increase the likelihood of this sort of atrocity?

Part 2) What form of empowerment is felt in an atrocity? Discuss how the active and powerful decision to kill those whom one suspects of complicity in suffering can empower a soldier. What sort of possible catharsis can occur as a result?

Part 3) Discuss the group cohesion that can occur as a result of an atrocity? How does killing unarmed noncombatants bond a group of soldiers together? Conversely, discuss how the decision not to take part in an atrocity becomes dangerous as a result of this cohesion.

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay about the urge not to kill over the course of history. What evidence does Grossman provide that soldiers going back to the American Civil War have chosen not to kill even in the face of death by enemy fire? What tactics did these soldiers use to avoid killing? At what point in the history of the American military did the non-firing problem become readily apparent? How did the military react to this?

(see the answer keys)

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