It has come to my attention that early this year a training class for law enforcement officers was held in our community. The instructor was Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman. His biographical statement modestly describes him as one of the “foremost experts in the field of human aggression, the roots of violence and violent crime.” The Lt. Col. is a former Airborn Ranger and Infantry officer. He was a psychology Professor at West Point and a former professor of military science at Arkansas State University. He has written a book called On Killing: the Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War. It is described in his biographical statements as “a study of the societal implications of escalating violence and the techniques used by the military to overcome our natural reluctance to kill. He has written a second book called Stop Teaching our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie, and Video Game Violence.
The titles of his books, which I have not read, sound good to me. They seem to indicate that the Lt. Colonel, who is an expert on war and violence, is against killing. But it has come back to me that he delivered an ominous message before out law enforcement officers. The message was that the police would most likely find the next domestic terrorists among those of us who are protesting the violent war policies of the Bush administration. This sort of message to local officers, combined with the administration’s “unleashing” of the FBI from previous controls due to its past practices of infiltrating and fomenting violence within opposition groups and framing political dissidents for violent acts they did not commit (see, for an example, Sandra Ahten’s article in the September 2002 Public i that tells how the FBI and Oakland police framed environmental activists for supposedly planting a bomb), is not a very promising one for people who use their constitutional right to protest against the violence that the Lt. Colonel claims to abhor. Is it possible that our pacific military man is suffering from cognitive dissonance–at the expense of our civil rights