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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

How do torturers deal with their craft?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26843points) September 4th, 2013
26 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

How is it people can torture others, be it slapping them with a phonebook, or open hand, to more evasive methods like applying electrodes to sensitive parts of the body, using belt sanders on the soles of the feet, etc. How the person administering the punishment does it, be able to eat or sleep soundly without nightmares, or block out the screams and the blood?

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Blondesjon's avatar

In this economy a job is a job. You just don’t take that shit home with you.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I just watched an executioner on 60 Minutes this weekend saying he had nightmares and it really affected his life, so I assume that some are pretty scarred from it. Just like military and PTSD.

Berserker's avatar

Read this thing on Unit 731, where one of the scientists, just about 90 years old, was interviewed about the shit he did. He said he was told to perform a Y incision on a live man, and as he did, the man started yelling and all, and the scientist started crying and freaked out. They gave him like, two days off, and when he came back, he had to do the same thing, except at that point, it was like he did it all his life, and there was no trouble fucking people up from then on. He admitted it himself in the interview.
I suppose you get used to it and adapt, like how they say a soldier who kills someone has problems at first, butt then he can do it after that first time, like it was nothing.

That said there must certainly be psychological problems that occur, a lot of guilt and everything. The world is cruel but I don’t believe that humans are completely devoid of sympathy or feeling. Apparently, Nazis were often counseled, and sought therapy after pulling off their shit. Maybe not all of them, but many. But I suppose people can do this easy enough when it’s all around you and becomes the norm, and in many places in the world throughout history where torture is involved, this has, and is, the case.

rojo's avatar

I wonder how much time they spend thinking about new and inventive ways to make others suffer.

ps. I accessed this from the “older” tab at the bottom of my page

rojo's avatar

Kind of scared to look what with the NSA and Google and stuff but do they have their own website, FB page or e-mag with articles about methodology and equipment?

Blondesjon's avatar


“Now the first time you kill somebody, that’s the hardest. I don’t give a shit if you’re fuckin’ Wyatt Earp or Jack the Ripper. Remember that guy in Texas? The guy up in that fuckin’ tower that killed all them people? I’ll bet you green money that first little black dot he took a bead on, that was the bitch of the bunch. First one is tough, no fuckin’ foolin’. The second one… the second one ain’t no fuckin’ Mardis Gras either, but it’s better than the first one ‘cause you still feel the same thing, y’know… except it’s more diluted, y’know it’s… it’s better. I threw up on the first one, you believe that? Then the third one… the third one is easy, you level right off. It’s no problem. Now… shit… now I do it just to watch their fuckin’ expression change.” – James Gandolfini as Virgil in the movie True Romance

Berserker's avatar

@Blondesjon I believe I have read this quote before actually…but I have not seen the movie. ;/

KNOWITALL's avatar

I wonder if they psych themselves up by imagining they’re child molesters or something.

rojo's avatar

I read something recently but cannot find it online now about German soldiers during WWII taking entire villages into the woods to shoot them and how it affected them. Some couldn’t do it, some could and did but did it because they were ordered to and were anguished over their actions
As I recall, toward the end of the war it was no longer even a question, they just went out and did it without questioning the rightness or wrongness of the action.
These were not Rabid SS troopers who truly believed in the Nazi cause, they were just ordinary draftees, probably the same as you and I and our next door neighbors.

1TubeGuru's avatar

They have to treat the subject as a object and ignore the fact that they are human.

CWOTUS's avatar

The worst torturers are those who are convinced in the absolute rightness of their cause, and believe, despite your qualms, that they are doing objective good in the world.

Read about the Inquisition, and the stories of those who directed the “confession rituals” in order to “save” people’s souls. Undoubtedly many of the people directing the inquisitions were sociopaths, pathologically evil, and derived a certain sick enjoyment from the things they did, and were drawn to the cause in order to indulge their twisted natures. Some, presumably a majority, also believed that they were functioning in much the same way that doctors work today: inflict a little pain “for the greater good”. Those are the ones to watch out for.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@CWOTUS Sadistic personality disorder crosses all boundaries.

Pachy's avatar

It’s pure torture just thinking about this question.

Berserker's avatar

@CWOTUS As far as the Inquisition goes, a lot of the procedures meant to judge someone of heresy or witchcraft were meant to be completely and ridiculously failed. Anyone accused of such things was pretty much fucked, like it was decided ahead of time. The judging and the tortures seemed like a sick game, rather than genuine faith practicing. (put a woman on a giant balance against the weight of a Bible; if the Bible is heavier, the girl is cleared of all accusations; obviously…)
I can’t know what their intent was, besides being assholes, but I personally do not believe that people back then were as God fearing as we’re led to believe. Must have been more of a fear inducing thing meant to control governments and acquire more land. Just theorizing here, but Christianity did pretty much take over three quarters of the world throughout its history.
Sad to say but I don’t think people in the Inquisition were all crazy madmen, there was a method at hand here, and the whole thing was well organized, and powerful, with something in mind besides just doing it for the lulz.

Then again, we have Hitler, and by the end of his career, that guy was doing stupid moves, like controlling regiments that no longer existed, and spending all his funds killing Jews when he should have been fortifying what was left of his army. People can be very cruel without having to be crazy though, I wouldn’t dismiss all human cruelty to people just wanting to live out their sinister urges.

I’m just thinking, something like Inquisitions of the middle ages though, they couldn’t have been that crazy, and especially not when you consider how hardcore everything was back then. Seemed to well organized to be a mere congregation of crazy fuckups.

ucme's avatar

The dude who sticks the pins in voodoo dolls, bet he feels like a prick.

FutureMemory's avatar

It’s been my experience that as long as you can get over those initial feelings of guilt/remorse you feel the first time you do something bad, you can then continue doing that horrible thing as if it’s perfectly normal.

talljasperman's avatar

I would ask my sister but I’m just getting out of her bad graces.

Coloma's avatar

Probably with humor.

My daughter, who is 25, recently took a moonlighting job doing recovery work for a local mortuary. So far, she and one of her colleagues have accidentally tipped over a body and it fell off the gurney in the mortuary. Kinda sucks, but…you have to laugh too. haha
Apparently another body was face down in the freezer recently and it was mentioned at a meeting that the persons face was pretty squished from being chilled face down.

It was a very large person and they could not roll them over into the cooler slot.
She told me the other day that now, every-body she sees she thinks to herself…

” Could I move him/her by myself?” lol
So know that out there in the world, you are being “sized” up by mortuary recovery people who think to themselves..” Jeez, I could NEVER move your buffalo butt by myself.” lol

majorrich's avatar

In an experiment at Yale University in 1963 Dr Stanley Milgram created an experiment (now banned) testing this very subject. Here is a brief synopsis of the experiment.

wildpotato's avatar

Sometimes they talk about how they did it. I found some of these accounts by asking this question a few years ago. @Zuma’s answer was the most helpful. I also found a good account in this book.

@1TubeGuru‘s answer seems to be the correct one, from my research.

filmfann's avatar

I think a lot of them detach themselves from it, and just let the Devil take over, and go for a ride.

zenzen's avatar

Slapping with a phone book is a new one for me. I wouldn’t mind torturing the OP – I’ve endured so much torture from his questions over the years.

CWOTUS's avatar

One of the hardest parts, I expect, is keeping current in the technology, and maintaining certifications. After all, these guys don’t hold conventions or publish a newsletter (that I’m aware of), and the regulations for torture vary so much from one jurisdiction to the next. Plus, things that are considered torture in one area might be luxuries in another.

It’s a tough life, I’m sure.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@KNOWITALL I wonder if they psych themselves up by imagining they’re child molesters (_add whoever you hate here) or something._
You need not have to be one who had sex with a minor, for one that distinction varies as you travel around the globe. What could de-humanize a person to the point another person has enough hatred or apathy as to see them as no better than an animal could be:

• Non-Islamic
• Being non-catholic (at least during the Inquisition)
• Being gay
• Being transgendered
• Being African American (more so in the South during Jim Crow than now)
• Being Croat
• Being Bosnian
• Being of the wrong tribe.
• Being of the wrong gang.
• Stealing from a criminal organization
• (I am sure you can think of a few more)

They may have to psych themselves up, at first, but I believe there are different motivations for it. After they get use to it, if they do, they might even enjoy the fact they can cause terror in another person; giving them a feeling of omnipotence.

@1TubeGuru They have to treat the subject as a object and ignore the fact that they are human.
I know people from the US have tortured if only other US citizens. How people here who seem incapable of viewing horses, cats, and dogs as mere animals suitable for the dinner table if need be, to reducing a human as less than a dog is beyond me.

@zenzen I wouldn’t mind torturing the OP – I’ve endured so much torture from his questions over the years.
First you have to cobble some quality hemp that has never been spun into rope, consecrate it with 5 gallons of virgin olive oil. Then enroll in OP beating college and take Whip Waking Techniques 101. Upon getting a passing grade you have to do 3 years apprenticeship under the lion tamer at Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey circus, then come talk to me~
IF you are so tortured, you must love it because you keep coming back for more

Berserker's avatar

IF you are so tortured, you must love it because you keep coming back for more

Indeed. If some peeps don’t like your questions, perhaps then, they should not click on them.

Paradox25's avatar

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Many aristocrats operating in brutal regimes probably are blinded by their own self-righteousness, and they likely have a fondness for hurting others anyways. These aren’t jobs one gets by chance. Also, if someone has to make a living torturing others, I’d hope that person would die themselves.

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