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Posts Tagged "violence"

Cross-Check

Why Gaddafi’s Death Doesn’t Fill Me With Joy

I was going to let the demise of Muammar Gaddafi pass without comment—after all, what does the murder of this tyrant have to do with science, right? But a bizarre essay in The New York Times on October 26, “Dictators Get the Death They Deserve,” by the historian Simon Windbag—I mean Sebag—Montefiore, has pushed my [...]

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Cross-Check

A modest proposal for curbing homicides: Socialism

Chart based on Gallup polls courtesy N.Y. Times and Wiki Commons

If responses to my last post are any guide—including a diss from one of my own students!—many readers reject gun controls as a way to reduce shootings like the recent massacre in Arizona and other gun-related homicides. Common sense tells me that unbalanced people like Jared Loughner, the Arizona shooter, should have a harder time [...]

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Cross-Check

Are war crimes caused by bad apples or bad barrels?

When soldiers commit atrocities, we must ask why. The question is being raised once again by reports that a handful of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan carried out premeditated killings—murders—of Afghan civilians. The soldiers allegedly took photographs of themselves posing with corpses and body parts, including fingers and heads. The alleged ringleader is Sergeant Calvin Gibbs. [...]

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Cross-Check

Our nature is nurture: Are shifts in child-rearing making modern kids mean?

Mothers and Others cover

In journalism you look for one thing and find another that confounds your expectations. It’s what make makes this gig so frustrating and fun. I went looking for reassurance in Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding (Harvard University Press, 2009) by the anthropologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy and found something scary. Hrdy is [...]

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Observations

The Empire State Building Shooting: How Can We Respond to Gun Violence?

A gunman shot several people outside the Empire State Building today. Before police officers killed the suspect, ten people were shot, one fatally. Some victims may have been wounded by police officers attempting to stop the shooter. Police are still unraveling details about the shooting, but the New York Times reported that the suspect, Jeffery [...]

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Observations

Sleep Violence: A Real Danger, Little Understood

Lady Macbeth sleepwalking, painting by Henry Fuseli

Last month, psychiatrists at Stanford University announced that sleepwalking is on the rise. More than 8.4 million adult Americans—3.6 percent of the population over 18—are prone to sleepwalking. That’s up from a 2 percent prevalence the same authors found a decade ago. And as the latest issue of Scientific American Mind notes, a subset of [...]

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Observations

Are Violent Video Games Corrupting Children? Supreme Court Says States Cannot Decide

video game, violence, psychology

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 7-2 ruling Monday (pdf) that California cannot regulate the sale or rental of violent video games to minors is the latest chapter in the long-simmering debate over the impact of aggression in the virtual world on children’s behavior in the real world. The high court’s ruling is based on law and [...]

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Observations

What are contemporary warfare’s hidden assaults on public health?

DENVER—Few human undertakings have had such apparent and ceaseless negative impacts on human health and well-being as violent conflict. War might seem such an obvious assault on overall public health that it would hardly bear discussion at a scholarly meeting on that subject. But a slew of researchers are working around the globe to uncover [...]

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Talking back

Gun Control: Searching Down Under for Change to Believe In

Barack Obama talked on Sunday night about how the children who died in Newtown could have been from Anytown America. His words hit a resonant chord. Both of the given names of my two kids—Benjamin and Madeleine—were mentioned among the list of the dead children. “Madeleine,” spelled the same way as my daughter’s name, not [...]

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