Monday, December 12, 2016

Audiobook of the Month: Assassination Generation

Not a happy title for the New Year, but appropriate if you have young children. ASSASSINATION GENERATION: Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman is an internationally recognized scholar, author, soldier, and speaker who is one of the world’s foremost experts in the field of human aggression and the roots of violence and violent crime. He is a West Point psychology professor, a professor of military science, and an Army Ranger who has combined his experiences to become the founder of a new field of scientific endeavor, which has been termed "killology." In his audiobook he reveals new science showing that violent games such as Grand Theft Auto 5 (which sold more than $1 Billion in 3 Days—more than then entire music industry combined) deaden sensitivity to violence, may cause depression, and may lead to some kids later joining gangs or getting involved in school shootings (esp. if exposed as pre-teens by parents or siblings who buy them the over-18 games.) He says that the difference between civilian gaming and military war games is discipline and accountability, and so if there's bad parenting and lack of love along with isolation from social contacts due to being connected for long periods (some kids playing these games constantly) American presidents will be forced to give an ever more number of school shooting speeches as part of the job (including Trump.) Playstation 4 was used by ISIS to communicate outside normal channels leading up to the Paris attacks, so ISIS was playing these games too. AMERICA'S WAR: former Col. Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor emeritus of history and international relations at Boston University, served for twenty-three years as an officer in the US Army. He is the author of Washington Rules, The Limits of Power, and The New American Militarism, among other books. His writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, the Nation, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. His premise is that jingoism has gone viral in America (especially among gamers?), with everyone waving (or hiding behind) flags in the "good-old-boy" failed school of “shoot first, ask questions later.” AMERICA’S WAR reveals that military contractors have lobbyists in Washington intent on keeping their grip on the American budget. (We currently spend more on military arms than the next top 20 countries combined.) He also reveals that vets get the shaft in these massive deficit transactions, and Pentagon brass are worried Trump may upset their golden apple cart. What will happen next? No one knows for sure, but Bacevich lays out the options. And reading on the go via listening beats McNews and the same rap or pop songs playing endlessly. (Footnote: did you see the 60 Minutes piece on Colombia, where an ad man planting messages to drug fighters to come home for Christmas "because they are loved" has resulted soldiers for the drug lords abandoning their posts? Fewer drug deaths in that country, plus a revived economy...a result far more effective than bullets. Hearts and minds.) Regarding Grossman, he is always believable as narrator, and the opening narration by Jay Snyder was a touch of genius. He nails it. He may as well have added, "Can you hear me now?" AUDIOBOOK OF THE MONTH. Order at TowerReview.com

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