Monday, September 25, 2006

Answering Questions asked in Class 9/25

I wanted to post about the discussion questions in class today. I believe in Browning's theory that ordinary men can kill under social pressure. I think the environment and our surroundings can influence a person's actions as well as social pressures, thus forcing people to commit evil actions or giving them a choice to do so. In our readings we read about how the internet influences people to take actions, by becoming a member in a sort of community online. People need to feel as if they belong somewhere, and exist for some purpose, and such hate groups attract the people that need that feeling in their life. Cults can do the same thing, they're breeding grounds for hate and violence. Ordinary people can be influenced to kill under social pressure ... and we all admitted that today, when some people said they would kill the innocent civilians to save their own life ... we were all asked if we would shoot the 100 or 50 people for injuring just one German life ... and people came up with scenarios, like if they had families to think of, but no matter what other circumstance, I believe to kill the 100 or 50 people just because one German was killed or was wounded is going along with the actions of 'evil' ... I would rather die than 'go along with' the command or keep living knowing what I had done was wrong. It's not even about being a martyr, it's about not following the evil actions of others, and standing up for what one believes in, since I know we all think killing and murdering innocent civilians is wrong. I think it's easier for youth to be brainwashed, since children look up to adults and mimic their actions. Children need to be taught the ways of the world, and once they get old enough can decide for themselves, but take the Hitler Youth for example, Mr. Schulz was 10 years old when he joined, innocent and naive. He said that his older brothers did not believe in what Hitler preached, because they were older, but he did because he was young. Children still have so much room to acquire knowledge, whereas adults take more time to learn new things or break/change old habits, in general. I think it's a sad fact of life thus far in the world that people turn their heads and pretend the bad things of the world don't affect them. Just because a situation may not directly affect a person, a state or a country doesn't mean it's not their duty to intervene. Instead of thinking about us vs. them, it should be all of humanity, as one, working to protect and help one another. As far as getting rid of the Holocaust Memorial Day and desinating a Genocide Memorial Day, I think any genocide should be remembered, separately. Each deserves a day of rememberance, and because the Holocaust was such a horrible event, the day should not be taken away. I can only hope that the people who need to find a place of belonging do so in a way that actually helps them, and can only hope that people start to see that we are all connected, because we are all people.


Rme said...

Regarding the question about getting rid of "The Holocaust Memorial Day," I think that by having only a day to remember the Holocaust we are disregarding other significant genocides that have occurred.
All american children are taught about the Holocaust in school at a young age, but how many elementary and high school students know about The Rape of Nanking, and Mai Lai? Even today, much of the american public is uninformed about the genocide in Rwanda and in the middle east. I sometimes think that americans believe that the holocaust was the first and last case of genocide. By having a holocaust remembrance day we are discrediting that genocide still happens, and that it is a continuous struggle.
By having a Holocaust memorial day we are implying that if genocide doesn't occur on a scale as grand as the holocaust than it is not worth remembering. I think we should have a "Genocide Memorial Day" that remembers all of those who have been victims of genocide, especially since a significant number of american immigrants come as refugees.

morgan marks said...

why not have a day for each ... remembering them all? maybe in a span of a week, a few weeks ... I understand the idea, but just one say doesn't seem to do it justice - there were too many lives lost ... 24 hours doesn't seem to be enough time ... or just enough effort ... especially if the point is to gain awareness.

Elle said...

Morgan, I think that you are extremely naive. I think that all the people who said they would rather die than kill others are very naive. Dozier talks about the repto-mammilian part of the brain and its role in survival. If the brain can evolve so severly to keep a human being alive, I think that it would certainly take over in such a situation. In the heat of the moment, with the adrenaline rush and fear of the situation, I think that any human would choose to have others killed rather than themselves. Lets face it, we are all afraid of death in our own ways. To the brain this is the ultimate price to pay because it terminates survival. I wish that more people could demonstrate this heroism, but I think that physically and emotionally it is just not possible.

morgan marks said...

Naive. maybe. maybe not. Maybe just hopeful. To clarify ... I said that ordinary people are influenced to kill under social pressure to save their own life, proving Browning right, since people did raise their hands to say they would rather kill than be killed. I also said that I would rather die than kill those people. Maybe the majority would go along with it... and so be it, but if you're right, and you can say you would kill ... well, great. That proves your point, that you would have been one of those kids in the tape today, and someone who would have obeyed orders. It's about standing up for what you believe. It's not about heroism - it's about humanity. It's not about one life, it's about many. It's about doing what's right. If you can tell me you could live with yourself after you watched 50 or 100 people die in front of your eyes, because you pulled the trigger ... good for you. I can't say I could live with myself.

jamie s said...

I am going to have to agree with elle. Is it social pressures that push us to kill someone or is it that socialization creates enough guilt that we feel we should sacrifice our own lives. I believe that social pressures create the situations that turn humans into cold blooded killers, but doing anything it takes to save your own life is the most natural instinct there is.

I also think that if nobody would ever know of the choice you made, some people might have a different response. Morgan, bless your soul that your decision wouldn't sway, but there are many who would.

I still dont really know what I would actually do in that situation.