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Self Defense/Do humans intrinsically enjoy violence but are only dissuaded because of consequences? Is there an inner-beast in us eager to go out and kill our next door neighbor for fun?


I'm not sure whats the best way to write up this question but I'll quote one another user asked.

You mentioned in the link humans are wired for conflict.

OK some basic statements to go onto the larger topic.

Today the notion of someone going around in public and gunning down random people for shits and giggles is considered a horrific crime only evil and insane people would do.

For years I've played Grand Theft Auto. In case you've been under a rock, the GTA series is one in which you go around ina  city doing whatever you want. However most people who play the game simply get shot guns and start blowing people they see in the city away.

In fact its the ability "kill anyone you see" in the game that makes Grand Theft Auto so beloved a franchise.

Hell I cannot tell you the countless numbers of hours in which I had a blast getting a rocket launcher and blowing up cars across Vice City or machine gunning down people in a bar  in Liberty City.

To go a long with this, some critiques have bashed GTA as being a pointless series because the game's really just created to kill people for fun. Up until the 4th game, there is no real story, no true objective other than the quests (which most people ignore because its more fun to start gunning down people in a park), no real substance in gameplay mechanics (as in there is no skill required and playing the game is as simple as tapping one button).

Other games (often far more violent and gorier) such as Ninja Gaiden which the OP mentioned in the above link actually have far more complexity and substance.

But simply because you can go around killing random people in a simplistic gameplay system, GTA is one of the bestselling titles.

Now however once I began reading the above link (which I just happened to bump upon in a random googling) and in turn discovered you writings, it makes me curious about one thing.

I already mentioned the notion of killing random people walking on the streets is an unforgivable evil. Yet people find it fun as hell to do in Grand Theft Auto.

You also mentioned conflicts are a natural part of human nature in addition to violence and without wars, murders, and even genocide, there can be no advancement in mankind.

Even without advancement, mankind is so violent that we need to exert some aggression in order to survive as a species at least one book you wrote said.

When I think about the GTA series along with your writings, it makes me wonder.........

Is the only reason we aren't seeing much real life rampages that Grand Theft Auto players love committing is because of the external consequences?

I mean suppose all policemen disappear some day, would we suddenly see more people lose control and start say setting people on fire in public?

I mean now that I think of it looking back, I can't hep but wonder if there was an animalistic side in me eager to hack someone with a chainsaw everytime I played Grand Theft Auto? As in its only morality combined with the law that prevents me (and every other GTA player) from actually going around in public and killing other people in town with a knife.

I mean I swear if you played the game you'd suddenly feel a hidden aggressive side come out.

As my theory from GTA, are we humans at the core "sociopathic"?  I mean in every human society that ever existed before the advent of mass entertainment fighting sports always existed and even nonviolent sports like horse racing was often considered an essential thing for a boy reaching manhood to learn.

Even women in cultures that forbid them from engaging in athletic activity often attend large scale events with violence such as Gladiatorial games or at least risk of injury (even if there is not hitting) such as soccer and track and field.

I never realized it before but I can't help but wonder if GTA (and sports in general) is simply a way to put human violence out without actually hurting someone? If we live in a society without action TV and other violent entertainment or aggressive athletic activity, would murder be far more common?

GTA is a lot like zombie movies as it is venting one's frustrations and striking out at others without remorse. It is in a sense giving oneself permission to act -- without actually hurting someone. Or risking getting hurt yourself.

Your question is difficult to answer because -- well, you've grown up in a unique period of human history.

If you've never 'stepped off the grid' you'll never truly understand how different modern, civilized people's 'thinking' is from our ancestors. You lack experiences, limitations and hardships that your ancestors simply dealt with and never questioned. Why? Because if they wanted to live, they had no choice

For example, have you ever killed and eaten something?  If you have, you are in a minority of people in the US today. However, if you've ever been in a situation where if you didn't kill something you didn't eat, you're now in a micro-minority.

Now, consider this. until a 100 years ago (less in some areas), killing a chicken for dinner was a child's job.
That's right, from the time you were old enough to swing a blade, you would have been killing animals for food on an almost daily basis. It wasn't a horror, it wasn't a trauma. It was dinner. At the same time you'd kill a coyote or a stray dog (hell even your own dog) that threatened those chickens -- because that's your food.

Now where does your food come from? The store.  But have you ever considered the industrial magnitude of the slaughter? I -- and I'm not making this up -- went to the Spam Museum in Austin Minnesota. It was part of the Hormel Spam plant (it is an industrial complex of several square miles.) While there I was talking to the curator. He told me that every day, 18,000 living pigs go in one door and come out as 100,000s cans of Spam sometime later. But you will never see that. All you'll ever see is canned meat that you walk by in the grocery store.

Humans are the most effective killers on the planet. We're so good at it, we've stopped being predators and industrialized it. Yet at the same time, the average person has NEVER taken a life of a higher life form. Sure they kill bugs. Hell they might even put out mousetraps.

And how much trauma drama does that cause? Hell, my wife worked with a woman who couldn't take her son's pet gerbil that had died out of the cage.

The way most people have been conditioned and socialized it's actually impossible for me to answer your question without you misunderstanding the answer. Killing is a part of life. It always has been. But modern civilization takes us away from that reality and then tells us all kinds of happy horseshit about what killing is. It's way way more complicated and more simple than can be understood through the conditioning you've been indoctrinated in.  

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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