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DocTaotsu
The topic of child soldiers has come up in another thread and was met with my usual "Yar the world is an awful place" outrage. In said outrage I stated, incorrectly, that most child soldiers were impressed into service against their will. Promptly corrected I performed some google-fu and turned up the following:

http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/crp/index.htm
http://hrw.org/reports/2003/colombia0903/4.htm#_Toc05

In Colombia, which has one of the highest total number of child combatants (~11,000) only 10% of the children interviewed fell within the stereotypical gunpoint recruiting method. The lion share appear to have voluntarily joined although it is mentioned that volunteering is a very loose term in the face of the crushing poverty. Here is a summary of some recruiting techniques they employed.
http://hrw.org/reports/2003/colombia0903/8.htm#_Toc24

All told pretty much the same techniques people have used for years. Find pretty boys and girls, give them snappy uniforms and shiny guns and teach them to speak to the masses. Oh, and lie through your teeth. Cheap and effective. Your parents beat you? Join us and have a REAL family who cares about you. Your family is poor? We'll pay you a salary and subsidize your family. None of that may be true but it certainly sounds good when faced with the unpleasant alternatives.
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A theme I see in this and the other countries profiled is a lack of national authority. They mention that one of the reasons the FARC was able to recruit was because they were de facto police. People identified with them positively and they provided easy role models for children to latch onto. I know as a 10 year old the prospect of playing with an automatic rifle and killing "bad people" was very appealing. Which is why this thread is something more than a giant "Doc Eats Crow Publicly, Without Salt".

Z-Zones fit the bill for this sort of thing to the T. It's fascinating to consider the prevalence of child soldiers in disorganized urban areas like the Barrens. Given that Orks breed in litters and (presumably) mature much more quickly I would imagine that gangers are able to regularly stock their lower ranks with 8-12 year olds or younger. Other elements to consider is the prevalences of firearms in such areas. A 10 year old ork with a bat might be mildly dangerous but give him/her an Ak-97 and you have a real problem on your hands, multiply that by 50 and you have a force capable of tangling with even well trained security forces. Arms control must be a major issue for security corporations like Lone Star because it's not like the Barrens has toxic trees that grow AK's. Keeping weapons from flowing into the Barrens might be a lost cause but impeding large shipments from becoming common place is probably something they actually concern themselves with, or least hire deniable assets to keep an eye on. At the same time I'm sure other corps like Ares turn a tidy profit by selling their older weapons down the line and as an added bonus, undermine the credibility of their competition.

Is there any reason why there wouldn't be thousands of 12 year old Akkids running around in the Barrens? The only thing I can think of is arms control, if there are only a few real weapons to hand out you'll only really want to hand those out to people with more experience. More experience for the Barrens might mean a 16 year old but that's still a far cry from a 9 year old with a machine gun. Are there some deep seated cultural bias that couldn't be overcome? Also, magic is said to typically express at puberty but that's not a hard and fast rule is it? Is being Awakened astrally evident earlier? Could you train someone to be an effective magic user before puberty?

This also brings me to another question. Is going from the Barrens to Seattle proper like a border crossing? I've always described it as simple urban sprawl where you drive away from nice districts into progressively shittier districts until you find yourself surrounded by Sons of Sauron hoods fondling lead pipes and licking their lips. But given how potentially dangerous theses districts are has Lone Star setup distinct checkpoints to monitor the rabble and make sure no one is about to drive 3 school buses full of homicidal youngsters into Downtown?
Sir_Psycho
I see a fair amount of gangs recruiting, or even primarily consisting of young'uns. And with what you've talked about and indoctrination, I definately see it happening.

Remember the flashback scene in Terminator 1? I remember reading the adapted novel, and there was a child soldier, some-where around 10 years old, a little girl I think, crawling on her belly through a battle-field with a gun in one hand, and the other one blown off at the elbow. Kids with guns is definately very dystopian.

Another good example of this is City of God, a film set on the gangs of Rio, where a lot of them can get a gun. This is actually quite true of the real slums of Rio, I've even heard anecdotes about kids getting a gun or two, digging a hole in an abandoned road, and when the car stops, they rob anyone inside.

In my shadowrun games, there's definately checkpoints, both random and established, especially on the outskirts of Redmond and Puyallup. This would to an extent stop a truckload of AK bearing SINless kids into town (god knows WHY, of course - but for sake of argument), but the main thing that would stop that would be the fact that they are SINless. A bus full of kids with very few commlinks and without SIN's would have Lone Star's attention pretty quick. A fly-by with a police drone running a sensor suite of Ultrawideband Radar, Millimeter Wave Scanners, etc. would pick up the AKs pretty quick. Not to mention an astrally projecting mage.

The 50 kids let loose down-town could kill a fair few civilians, and maybe even some cops and corpsec, but they'd sustain casualties, and once Lone-Star's Strato-9's with mounted machine guns show up, the kids are mown down. The thing would boil into a PR dream for humanis, among other things. But then again, life is cheap, and the death toll wouldn't be over 200, which pales in comparison to LA's quakes and floods, and to almost any conflict in the sixth world.

Also, an AK isn't much to a Shadowrunner, but a SINless squatter child couldn't dream of affording one. A z-zone warlord would have to supply them, or they'd some-how have to jack a shipment of the rifles. And then I wonder why they would take the rifles and go nuts in the city.
nezumi
Why would the gangs have to do much of any work recruiting kids, when most of the parents are already part of the gangs anyway??

Truthfully though, the #1 reason not every kid has an AK is because an AK is $800. For people who are living below the poverty line, that's somewhere between 1 and 8 months of food, rent and other living expenses. Each bullet fired is a hamburger. Boards with nails are more popular primarily because they're free, and if the enemy kills the kid and takes his 'gun' (remember that intra-gang conflicts likely result in a good number of weapons changing hands), no one really cares.

I don't think there would be official checkpoints as such, but there are walls, chokepoints and so on. Real cities will oftentimes just plan the neighborhoods such that a good neighborhood has a lot of cul de sacs around the edge of the land, edged around by trees, to help prevent people from just walking through. Same here. Going from D to C, you're going to see a lot of smaller roads stop, a lot of fences, little 'parks', walls, lines of warehouses, etc. Going from B to A is going to be similar, although nicer. Chokepoints mean a lot of people are in the area, travelling through, so suspicious people will be picked up pretty soon. For the gang to get to AAA, they have to either travel by vehicle through chokepoints into C, A, etc., or go on foot around the chokepoints, which is equally suspicious.
Chrysalis
I would see walls in place. I would also see kids with AK-97s.

I would also think that for Shadowrun to be more than white kids playing gansters, I would see that Seattle has areas that are Barrens. Complete and utter lack of any services. Guns are what keep people fed. This is not about schools, this is about stealing someone's blanket or killing someone so you can fit under the roofing. A kid at the age of 12 has killed many times over.

Then you have the semi-barrens where some Shadowrunners hang out. While it looks tough and an eager beaver would find this place dangerous, this is where there is a deceptively large amount of money moving around behind the supposed facade of squallor. Kids are kids until they reach the age of 15 and that's when they reach kidulthood.

Then there is the rest of the city, all nice and shiny. Sweet 16, proms, 28 and still living at home.

Semi-barrens to barrens is controlled by choke-holds. Most go in but few come out. Semi-barrens to city is controlled by clean Lone Star employees with nasty demeanors, sharp eyes, guns, mines, and hundreds of miles of reinforced concrete wall with razor wire. Your permits get a cursory glance on the way in and are heavily scrutinized on the way out. You don't have a SIN you don't get in. You get caught with a forged SIN you get the lead lined hose.

This is not a place of toys and games, it is a hard place where a band of Shadowruner wannabes can and do get killed.

-Chrysalis

samuelbeckett
What everyone needs to consider is in most places where children are armed with assault rifles, it is either because:

a) the place is a permanent war zone, likely armed by a first world power, where a rebel group has obtained weapons either from their govermental enemy or through arms dealing. In these situations the rebellion is likely funded by a first world power with an interest in destabilising the government or the area.

b) a rebellion has been successful, and the newly institued government is short on manpower and/or claiming to represent the will of the people and therefore conscripting everyone into their militia/army to ensure control is maintained. Again, the AKs themselves are likely to have been provided by a first world power in support of a regime change.

Neither of the above points applies to the barrens of any city, including Seattle. This world is dystopian not because everyone is at war, but because corporate interests and magical events have conspired to widen the gulf between the rich and the poor and to cheapen the value of life in certain areas.

Military spec gear is unlikely to end up in the hands of a ganger child, purely due to the economics of the situation. Where is the corporate gain in providing these weapons to rival street gangs? If they are obtained illegally by arms runners/fixers, where is their gain in handing them out to 8 year old orks living below the poverty line?

Money talks, and given a retail price of the cheapest assault rifle is 750 nuyen.gif , and that the street value from a fixer is likely to be more than that, anyone who is living in the barrens is unlikely to have the funds available. If they did, they would no longer be gangers, they would be wannabe runners who are in the barrens out of choice.
Sir_Psycho
I would disagree on the walls though, I can't recall any evidence in either of the Seattle barrens actually having physical walls and fences barring traffic in and out of the barrens. But that's just me being influenced by the Seattle Sourcebook, New Seattle and Runner Havens (which I must say, from former to latter got worse - in particular reference to the maps. Seattle had good maps).

However I believe the barriers that keep the denizens of the barrens out of greater Seattle are situational. There is the aforementioned checkpoints, not to mention drone and Gridguide surveillance on any vehicles getting onto the I-5. But also, the lack of infrastructure provides a huge barrier. Little to no public transport. There might be a trainline that is slow, smells like piss, and alights into a room with not-so-concealed machine gun emplacements, to prevent riots. Hell, I imagine it like the city 17 station in Half-Life2, you exit through a fenced corridor, prodded along with batons by guards that will take you into a room, beat your sinless arse senseless and throw you back on the return train if they don't like the look of you, or if it's been a slow day.

And that's if you make it to the train station, that without a vehicle or any public transport, could take hours of walking through a place that is essentially a concrete jungle warzone (complete with destroyed buildings and bullet holes in the plascrete), There's the lowest of the SINless here, addled and demented from bad health and badly cut drugs, lying on the ground, staring at nothing, occasionally moving to swat at the devil rat gnawing on their foot. The ones with the energy to move might be able to jack a truck going to one of the nearby garbage dump and see what's edible.

hyzmarca
QUOTE (Chrysalis @ May 21 2008, 07:29 AM) *
A kid at the age of 12 has killed many times over.


That is actually mathematically unsustainable. A society most people have killed at least one other person would simply suffer a huge population implosion. Think of it this way, there are 6.5 billion people on Earth, give or take. If every one of them went out and killed just one other person then there would be 0 people on Earth. Even amongst an army in a war zone, most people never have the occasion to kill other people.

The nature of population growth also means that killing has to be, for the most part, confined to one's own generation or younger. Children consistently killing adults would result in quickly running out of adults.

Rapid reproduction helps a little. Assuming an 8:2 birth rate, a child can kill three of their age-mates without causing negative population growth in ideal conditions, though this doesn't take into account population attrition from disease, accident, and external violence. But this only holds if you assume that none of dead have ever killed anyone. If half the dead are killers then you end up with 6/5 of a person killed per person as sustainable. That would almost be sad if not for the hilarious image of a child killing six-fifths of a person. If you assume that everyone kills at least once then you're back again at everyone being able to kill less than one person no matter what.

The exception to this is the killing of your own generation's children, which is oddly sustainable. If everyone only killed their own children and we had an 8:2 birth rate and no one died from disease and accidents then everyone would be able to kill three people without exception. Except, of course, the dead kids who obviously can't kill anyone because they don't survive long enough to have children of their own, which is why such practice is sustainable.
Blade
I recall a mention of some barrier in RH. Not a full length wall but a separation anyway.

But a wall isn't necessary.
First it might not be very easy to go from the Barrens to Seattle on foot: if the only roads are high speed roads for vehicles only, you'll have a hard time to get there on foot (I faced that problem more than once IRL, having to walk a long way to get to some place because the most direct route wasn't meant for pedestrian).
Secondly, there's no public transportation and people in the Barrens are less than likely to have cars, so they'll have to walk (or maybe use bicycles) which can take a long time.
Thirdly, why would they want to go there? They'd probably get arrested somewhere, get beaten/killed/raped/all of that (in any order) and there's not much for them to do in the city. They don't have any credstick/commlink. They don't have any SIN... Begging for money? They'd most likely get beaten up by Lone Star and sent away. Stealing? They can't do much with stolen credstick or stolen commlinks, and they risk a lot if they get caught. Raising havoc? They'll get shot by Lone Star.
Lastly, I think that for most of them the city is off limits anyway. The Barrens is their home, the city is the thing with pretty lights at night that you can't reach. Going there is something they won't even think about.
Sir_Psycho
I'd love to see the reference to a physical wall. I know there was one in LA, but not so sure about seattle.

Hyz, interesting post. But given that we're only talking about the Barrens here, not every child on earth has killed by 12, but in the Barrens, it's not unusual for the kids who wind up with the gangs to have killed people, possibly to the point of familiarity and comfort. (Again, watch City of God. It's scary what those kids do to eachother)
DocTaotsu
Mmm... cannibalism, you always bring us such nice things Hyz. I think Hyz is saying that just because they're comfortable killing doesn't mean they all have five notches on their belt. Not every single child soldier in the reports I linked have killed or killed directly. After all if 11,000 children each killed a person a piece they'd decimate the opposition. Granted, the Barrens are a relatively small place and I'd imagine that it'd have a constant influx of people who just couldn't cut it in the Emerald City (or what have you). This also gets into an issue of Barrens population and whether or not it's growing or shrinking as well as why.


@Sir_Psycho=I'm pretty sure you're correct, off the top of my head I think only Detroit and Chicago have actual walls and I believe Chicago's walls are no longer manned by any official authority. I am however almost positive that there are no functioning trains in the Barrens. Or are you talking about a train that runs from greater Seattle towards the "entrance" of the Barrens?

I've always played the Barrens like the favelas in Brazil. They're off the grid, almost completely without services and filled with people living under the poverty line. I remember reading an interview with one of the cops that patrolled (in the sense that Marines patrol a combat zone) the favelas. They asked him "What weapon are you most afraid of? The Ak? The M16?" and he responded "The RPG's."

They are also the primary source of cheap labor for a given area. I seem to recall that a large portion of the population lives there (because it's pretty much the only SINless friendly place in SR) but that might be incorrect of me.

People have built lives for themselves, dug down deep and tapped water lines, snuck out to nicer districts and siphoned electricity and matrix access, etc. The deeper you get into the Barrens the more wild and wooley things get and the higher the stakes become. Drugs lords, arms dealers, even shadowrunners live out there because they know that they'll be left alone by authorities. If they need to settle a problem with a rocket launcher they can but that's expensive and usually not worth the effort. If a 8 year old ork is built like a 15 year old human then they can be armed and trained just as easily. If they die you can slap that Ak back in the hands of some other greasy meta and be done with it. All those drugs and BTL's have to come from somewhere and the lawless Barrens seems like the ideal place to set up your own little shit kingdom to lord over. Bribe the right cops, dig the right holes, talk to the right people in the Ork Underground and you have pretty good options of for getting your goods all over the place.

But that's my take on the Barrens. In my dystopian world new reports are always talking about "The ever increasing number of people who live in the Barrens" bringing the joys of third world living to the sunny shores of the nation that was once America. For that population to continue to increase they need to do something to feed themselves and making deals with drugs lords and gun runners seems like a pretty good deal.

Hey, they even send the hot elves with slick uniforms to do the talking.
Blade
Actually child with guns, just like most people with guns but without any military training, usually don't kill to many other people. I've read a paper explaining that killing isn't that easy, even with guns and even for uneducated people. Most of the time, they'll shoot above their target rather than directly at them.

When in actual combat, even when they're in danger of getting killed, untrained "soldiers" will shoot above the enemies or spend most of their time reloading their weapon rather than shooting. It's one of the reason why trained soldier will be able to fend off a lot of untrained guys with guns. This is also when armies train people to shoot they start with basic targets and gradually move on to human silhouettes, so that the soldier get used to the idea of shooting at someone, and end up considering people as mere targets. The paper mentioned that young people who were used to "killing people" in video game adjusted much better to shooting at human-shaped targets because they were already used to that idea.

What I'd like to know, though, is if that also applies to people who grew in war-zones or places where killing is common. I'd also like to know if they gets the same psychological trauma most "educated" people get after killing someone.
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Sir_Psycho @ May 21 2008, 09:17 AM) *
I'd love to see the reference to a physical wall. I know there was one in LA, but not so sure about seattle.

Hyz, interesting post. But given that we're only talking about the Barrens here, not every child on earth has killed by 12, but in the Barrens, it's not unusual for the kids who wind up with the gangs to have killed people, possibly to the point of familiarity and comfort. (Again, watch City of God. It's scary what those kids do to eachother)


The Barrens can be treated like any other individual ecology. If a wolf kills every deer in a forest, then there'll be no deer left in that forest and the wolf will have no choice but to move on leaving it empty of both prey and predators. 12-year-old Barrens gangers aren't walking to the downtown mall with their Ak-97s and gunning down middle-class shoppers. They're gunning down other Barrens gangers. If every 12 year old in the Barrens killed then there would soon be no one left alive in the Barrens.

This isn't to say that they aren't casual killers, just that the vast majority have never had occasion to kill. Means, opportunity, and motive must coincide and execution must be successful. Even when "he dissed me" is a reasonable motive for murder other factors come into play, such as getting to your target with a weapon without being killed yourself and successfully causing a fatal wound before someone else can. All of these are difficult.

Usually, kills will be shared. Several gangers with isolate and bring down one enemy or a few enemies as a team. This fits well with the earlier wolf analogy, as a pack working together and sharing the spoils will survive much longer than an individual will. This also allows individuals to statistically kill less than one person each.
Heath Robinson
People dismiss the concept of a physical wall, but let me tell you something. If the wall wasn't put up by the authorities then it would get put up by the citizens of the neighbourhoods bordering the barrens. Barrens squatters are not good company for when you are taking tea with aunt Michelle, and if putting up a wall is the best way to keep them out, then I expect members of the nieghbourhood would establish those walls themselves, even if each of the members of the properties nearest the barrens had to build their own little bit individually it would still beat getting robbed by those more deprived and desparate than you.

In fact, there are probably a bunch of walls, all established by members of communities bordered by those less fortunate than they; a series of barriers to entry between different classes of neighbourhood. Incentives are wonderful.


For the prices of weapons in the barrens; I point you to the Street Costs table on page 303 of the BBB. We can expect almost all weaponry to be used and also counterfeit (aka cheap Chinese knock-offs) or stolen (or both). That's a -40% cost modifier already; and I can see the barrens being a place where fixers funnel items they need to dispose of so we can tack on the "item used in crime currently under investigation" modifier in most cases, even though this modifier is really a choice I doubt many barrens residents will care about their weapons being unusable in secured neighbourhoods - they never go there anyway.

AKs now cost 250 nuyen. Ammo will cost 16 nuyen for 10 rounds (can't buy used ammo) and empty mags going for 2-3 nuyen each, though I can imagine street kids grabbing discarded mags and refilling them, then reselling with a premium on them to get enough food to eat. A fresh AK clip will go for about 70 nuyen at a rough guesstimate. I'm not yet including the modifiers for stolen knockoffs (admit it, they'd do it).

It's entirely possible for someone who's made themselves quite a bit of money (for the barrens) to go out and buy themselves their own AK and some ammo for it. Sure, 250 nuyen is a lot for someone who lives day-to-day but I assume that they could make the cash somehow if they were lucky.
samuelbeckett
QUOTE (Heath Robinson @ May 21 2008, 04:29 PM) *
For the prices of weapons in the barrens; I point you to the Street Costs table on page 303 of the BBB. We can expect almost all weaponry to be used and also counterfeit (aka cheap Chinese knock-offs) or stolen (or both). That's a -40% cost modifier already; and I can see the barrens being a place where fixers funnel items they need to dispose of so we can tack on the "item used in crime currently under investigation" modifier in most cases, even though this modifier is really a choice I doubt many barrens residents will care about their weapons being unusable in secured neighbourhoods - they never go there anyway.

AKs now cost 250 nuyen. Ammo will cost 16 nuyen for 10 rounds (can't buy used ammo) and empty mags going for 2-3 nuyen each, though I can imagine street kids grabbing discarded mags and refilling them, then reselling with a premium on them to get enough food to eat. A fresh AK clip will go for about 70 nuyen at a rough guesstimate. I'm not yet including the modifiers for stolen knockoffs (admit it, they'd do it).

It's entirely possible for someone who's made themselves quite a bit of money (for the barrens) to go out and buy themselves their own AK and some ammo for it. Sure, 250 nuyen is a lot for someone who lives day-to-day but I assume that they could make the cash somehow if they were lucky.


Agreed, someone who is lucky may be able to get an ex-war zone cheap knock off assault rifle which is likely to jam the moment they attempt a full burst. However, there is a reason that these places are called the barrens. Discounting the professional criminals who make their money outside the barrens and live within the barrens to avoid law enforcement (hands up at the back Mr. Shadowrunner!), the majority of the denizens of the barrens will be people so poor that they are willing to kill other people for a soy dog. They are barrens because social order and law enforcement have broken down within them, and without a steady supply of weapons from an external source, the average barrens resident is going to rely on clubs, shivs and the occasional pistol.

The likelihood that these people, even organised into gangs which prey on other people, are going to amass 250 nuyen.gif for an assault rifle, and then around 70 nuyen.gif for a clip, and then give this weapon to 10 year old gang members is unlikely to say the least. If a gang could amass this sort of money, then the leader of the gang will be the wielding it - and he is unlikely to use it in open warfare with other gangs, instead relying on the intimidating power of a fully automatic weapon to bring his rivals into line. After all, if he uses up the clip, he has to find another 70 nuyen.gif or all he is left with is a fancy looking club.
hyzmarca
AK-variants are the most reliable weapons in the world. You could leave one lying on the bottom of a saltwater lake for a decade, dredge it up, and hit it with a hammer until the rust is sufficiently dislodged for the internal parts to move and it'll work perfectly.

But I'm very glad to hear that, economic reality being what it is, gangs don't have guns.

Yes, that was sarcasm.


The simple truth is that crime pays. It doesn't pay well but it pays better than most alternatives. If it didn't then there wouldn't be any.

In some ghettos today, gangs are very much defacto governments with all of the powers that one would expect of a government, including a monopoly on the "legitimate" use of force in a territory. Like any government, the gang need weapons and it gets them. All sorts of firearms are available to them. The Barrens should be little different and don't forget that some of these guys go toe-to-toe with Lone Star and win, some go toe-to-toe with corporate security and win, and some go toe-to-toe with insect spirit hives and win.
nezumi
re: children killing people - I think it would be reasonable for most children to have witnessed someone getting killed, or believed they themselves have killed someone (most likely as part of a group - if 6 people are shooting at 1 guy and the guy goes down, each of those 6 people go away knowing they contributed towards his dying and therefore killed someone). However, even in war zones and the worst gang situations, most people have not killed another person. They have permanently disfigured people, tried to kill people, been beaten to an inch of their life, etc., but MOST people have not taken that final step (and why should they? Most people don't need to be killed to be cowed.) And most of those people who do go around killing other people will almost always kill someone who has a buddy who comes back and kills you, so actual killing leads to honor killing, which means most people are smart enough to get close, but stay short of actually finishing the job (again, it's unnecessary and it escalates things).

re: walls - I'm curious how many people actually live in cities with strong rich/poor dichotomies. I was visiting the post office the other day, and I notice the post office (which was pretty grimey) was off of an alley. The alley started with the fence of a cemetery, then the back of a bunch of row-houses, then came to a cul de sac, again, with more row houses. At no point was there an easy route for someone to get from the far side of the row houses to the post office. The same structure happened again another half mile down; a bunch of roads together form a little community, with a limited number of exits, and a few major arteries coming and going. With a few well-placed fences and road-blocks, you could easily close the community off entirely from vehicle traffic. Moving a bit farther, that ceases to be the case as the city becomes more gridlike (this is generally the case with high-density housing, which the barrens is not, and oftentimes with large middle class communities - think B and C areas). Funny enough, only a mile past that are beautiful million dollar homes - again with only a select few points of entry. From beside one of these beautiful homes I can spot the public school with lead pipes and graffiti on the playground equipment, but I can't get there without climbing down a steep incline and across a creek bed, or returning to the main drag.

In a situation like Shadowrun, where the general environment is considered hostile, we'll see both physical and matrix communities becoming more insular. These communities provide effective barriers against easy transportation. We most likely will NOT see a giant, Berlin-wall-esque structure. That's far too obvious and ultimately ineffective. Communities will just zone differently, and the rich will take advantage of that to insulate themselves.
samuelbeckett
@hyzmarca

So, you are equating modern day gang behaviour and access to firearms with the barrens equivalent in 2070? Interesting...

What you seem to be missing is that the modern day gang is funded by a range of criminal activities whose main victims/marks are people outside of the 'ghetto'. Drug sales, prostitution and robbery are rarely perpetrated on people in their own socio-economic bracket, for the principal reason that they are not profitable. Again, having money gives access to firearms. Yes, in various areas of the world there are people who do obtain firearms without funds, but these are usually places where the funding is being provided by an outside source with an interest in the area.

The dystopian future of 2070 presupposes that the rich are increasingly separated from the poor, both economically and geographically. Therefore, it is unlikely that your average barrens gang is jaunting off into other areas of Seattle to rob, pillage or sell their product. Without this source of revenue, there is no incentive for the gunrunners and fixers to provide ex-military weapons to these gangs.

The people with the weapons will be the organised crime groups that do provide/victimise the middle to upper socio-economic groups i.e. your mafia/yakuza/triad organisations. These people will be likely have some contact/affiliation with AA or AAA corps anyway, to provide an outsource for drugs or other products that the Corps want to profit on without a major PR issue. They will not be living in the barrens, unless they have managed to seriously piss off the wrong people.

So to summarise, the barrens have become so poor that it does indeed make no economic sense to provide the majority of its residents with access to automatic weaponry. Those that do have access likely have the financial means to escape the barrens anyway, and are remaining their by choice in order to avoid detection i.e. Shadowrunners.
Zak
Well, there are gangs and there are Gangs.
Let's not talk about top of the line gangs like the Ancients here, they are on par with organized crime, the only difference might be scale (but I would even disagree on that in some cases). They are not really limited when it comes to aquiring gear.

The barrens are a fucked up place and people are fighting for their survival. Yet, they have to eat, drink and take drugs like everyone else. But since you don't have a Stuffer Shack at the next corner, someone has to control the supply chain.

This is where gangs come in.

Sure, the organized crime might be making the real money, but if you can outsource the dangerous part (selling on the street) to some punks - you do it.

Do not underestimate the possible income of a gang. Weapons are cheap and there is always a surplus of ammunition.
Gangers who fight with clubs are an antique and a Trideo trope. The 1970s are 100 years ago, life means nothing and bullets are cheap.

I don't think kids with AKs are an uncommon sight in the barrens. Sure, they might have to share it with 5 other kids when they switch posts, but who cares.
Joining a gang is basically the only career option. With training on the job and a high dropdeadout rate.
hyzmarca
Well, yeah, but the demand for cheap prostitutes by the middle-class ain't going down. Neither is the demand for illegal drugs. And robbery is as robbery does. And, yes, gangs do make excursions outside of the barrens. The Halloweeners, for example, are notorious for robbing megacorp employees and vandalizing megacorp property. In fact, sticking it to the corporations is the entire point of the Halloweener's existence.

Theme gangs also serve as proxies in the proxy war of ideals. Humanis and Alamos 2k support the Nighthunters, Portland supports the Ancients, MOM probably supports the Spikes and the SOS certainly do, and Ares probably supports the Spiders but Spider is so fucking powerful that she could get them free nukes if she wanted to (and did, actually, obtain a fully armed nuclear ballistic missile submarine before Sam Verner kicked her ass).

As for lucrative business practices, the Spiders make a fair bit of money orgenlegging, the Red Hot Nukes are into protection and Insurance Fraud, the Nighthunters sell BTLs, and the Spikes are the defacto owners of Interstate 5, one of the most important ground shipping corridors in North America, and they often charge a high toll for using their road, a high toll indeed.
nezumi
QUOTE (samuelbeckett @ May 21 2008, 01:15 PM) *
What you seem to be missing is that the modern day gang is funded by a range of criminal activities whose main victims/marks are people outside of the 'ghetto'. Drug sales, prostitution and robbery are rarely perpetrated on people in their own socio-economic bracket, for the principal reason that they are not profitable.


I think you're going to have a very hard time proving that. If anything, the contrary is true. In the United States at least, the majority of crime-for-profit is directed against (or sells to) the criminals peers. This is why we're always seeing those statistics about how something like 70% of all victims and aggressors in violent crime are poor, black males, not poor black males victimizing rich, white females (or vice versa, for that matter).

People outside of their favored environs stick out, arouse alarm and suspicion, and find themselves at a disadvantage in committing crimes because of that. Additionally, committing crimes outside of your favored environment is inconvenient, and most criminals are nothing if not lazy.

QUOTE
Without this source of revenue, there is no incentive for the gunrunners and fixers to provide ex-military weapons to these gangs.


This is one of those 'prove there are no other cases' statements which, by their very nature, are almost impossible to prove.

I do agree in premise that those with access to heavy firearms don't have a lot of use for barren rats. However, there are of course exceptions. Things like drug labs, drug depots, illegal medical clinics, gambling dens, and of course centers of commerce (illegal or otherwise) in high-crime areas benefit from equiping guards with higher-powered equipment.

In other words, I do largely agree with your point, although perhaps not to the point that you would seem to argue for here.
Synner667
Hmmm, interesting...

There are checkpoints around some parts of London [after some trouble a few years back], randomly checking vehicles in and out...
...But to have them in lots of places would be impractical, not least because of the negative effect on business's...
...Tho, there would have to be something to stop the riffraff entering the posh areas.


Lots of young children with guns ??
Not very likely, apart from places like warzones, where they get them as part of their job - they don't just have them

I think the sheer economies are the main factor - got something that valuable in your hands and either you threaten people or you sell it for food...
...But if you have one, and get stroppy, other, older people will probably relieve you of it - and your life

I imagine that a young child would be hard pressed to effectively use anything like an automatic rifle - low bodymass and high recoil would get them on their arse, with most of the bullets in the air, if not broken wrists.

Orc and troll children, tho, are stronger and bigger and noted as almost fullgrown at 14 years, so might be able to do it.

In general, prized possessions, like automatic weapons, would probably filter down the hierarchy or be given as gift/prize for a job well done.


Having said that, I have a gang of youngsters, aged 8-13 running around the East End...
...Involved in prostitution, courier work, surveillance, mugging, kidnapping and robbery...
...Armed with ceramic pistols that squirt acid

The look on one of my Players when he got mugged by this lot was very funny - he's a powerful mage, able to handle himself in most situations, and was totally gobsmacked when it happened and they took most of what he was carrying
imperialus
I like the idea of implementing some sort of barrier into the urban planning of neighborhoods.

Also don't forget that the barrens arn't likely the only place in Seattle where the Sinless live and crime runs rampant. According to New Seattle even Bellevue has a couple neighborhoods with a C security rating and Everett and Auburn have a few D's.

On the other side of the coin, both Redmond and Puyallup have a couple C neighborhoods.

It's not like you cross the boarder into Redmond and all of a sudden the cops won't show up. The deeper you go, the worse it gets and I expect most barren dwellers never make it into the city just by virtue of the fact that they'd have to walk a really long way to get where they're going. Seattle's population density isn't really that high. Even Everett only has a pop density of 1106/km^2. That doesn't even place it within the top 25 highest density cities today. #25 is Denver with 1550/km^2. That means that (if the GM doesn't inflate the population as I tend to) there can be a lot of space between the different districts.

As for kids with AK's I don't really see AK's as being a terribly common sight on the streets day to day just because automatic weapons are an escalation. Not only that but they're a pain to cart around. Most gangers will probably have a pistol but the gang itself will have a stash of automatic weapons which will get rolled out if they are expecting a brawl. If the gang has kids in it, and enough AK's to go around, those kids will be armed the same as their older counterparts.
Synner667
QUOTE (imperialus @ May 21 2008, 09:10 PM) *
I like the idea of implementing some sort of barrier into the urban planning of neighborhoods.
It's not like you cross the boarder into Redmond and all of a sudden the cops won't show up. The deeper you go, the worse it gets and I expect most barren dwellers never make it into the city just by virtue of the fact that they'd have to walk a really long way to get where they're going.


I went to Hell's Kitchen a couple of years ago [bar, women, drinking - a common story] and as I walked from where I got out of the cab to where I ended up, I really noticed the state of the area - it was like the money was draining out...
...Nice and clean, then not so tidy, then abandoned cars and closed shops.


One of my friends stayed near Times Square a couple of years ago, and he said that you could turn the corner from a nice and tidy street and be faced with areas that were definitely not so nice and tidy
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Synner667 @ May 21 2008, 03:37 PM) *
I imagine that a young child would be hard pressed to effectively use anything like an automatic rifle - low bodymass and high recoil would get them on their arse, with most of the bullets in the air, if not broken wrists.


No, it wouldn't for the same reason getting shot doesn't really launch men back 20 feet like it does in Hollywood. They'd need training and practice to compensate for barrel rise, but so does everyone. Extended automatic fire might leave some minor shoulder bruising, but that is also true of everyone. They shouldn't fall on their assess or get broken wrists unless they held the weapons in absurdly awkward positions and even then it is unlikely.
http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/apjinte...08/tyneseng.htm
http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/apjinte...ages/tynes2.jpg
This picture clearly shows Saddam's "Lion Cubs" in training.

Modern battle rifles are designed for light weight and low recoil.

Here is a video of a 13 year old using an AR-15 (essentially a civilian variant of the M-16)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rzLC0oMusw...feature=related
He doesn't have any problem.

And here is a video of a 6-year-old using the same weapon.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=734wkmg8its...feature=related
She leans back way to much, but this is very obviously because the stock is too long for her and she can't hold it properly. She handles the recoil very well. She'd probably do even better if the stock were cut down to to fit her.

Here is another 6-year-old using the same sort of weapon.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTcNnVNN2lw&NR=1
Again, weapon length is a more important factor than recoil. You can see the adult has to support the barrel for her. If she had a bipod she'd be fine

Here is a 3 year old with another AR-15 variant
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGkRKT0Q-L4...feature=related
This one is a carbine that fires pistol ammunition, you can tell from the magazine. It isn't nearly as powerful as a full-size rifle but it is perfect for someone the size of a three-year-old.

Here is a little boy, I'm not sure about his age.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFFxkzLgMr0&NR=1

Here is a girl, probably a teen, with a very nice chest, wielding a belt-fed machine gun.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VM1MTXZ9cxk...feature=related

Here are some teen girls who are way too giddy about shooting a fully automatic SA Vz.58.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VazmcG0e4lg...feature=related

A boy of unknown age firing a semi-automatic AK-47 variant
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEvF5YRyWk8...feature=related
You'll notice that he doesn't shoulder the weapon, though he probably could. This is more a result of a lack of training than anything else and it is obvious that he is just playing around and isn't treating the weapon with the respect it deserves. The length of the stock might make it uncomfortable for him to shoulder, however, but that could be fixed by sawing it down.

Boy shooting full-auto
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQM4I6D-7QI...feature=related
This boy is obvious shooting a full auto AK-47 for the first time. He isn't prepared for the recoil and loses his stance. Still, he doesn't fall or break his wrist. He maintains some control over the weapon. He probably wasn't at all accurate with it.

Here is a little girl with a semi-auto AK variant.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZODNaul9DUg...feature=related

More kids shooting
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-wU94Im9dc...feature=related

An 11 year old girl field striping an AR15
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVlRdYbD07A...feature=related

A 10-year old girl with an AR 15
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yB91KFIOqo...feature=related

10 year old boy with AR-15
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvPXah5sl0Q...feature=related

11 year old boy with Ar-15
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHVdTdaQjSc...feature=related

Little boy with AR-15 supported on a bench
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkAkgwQTfjI...feature=related

11 year old boy slaughters paper
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nsEvYjq5YU...feature=related

6 year old boy probably misses
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwO_4oHtpBA...feature=related

I like this girl.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irykjLjuKo8...feature=related
She's fast.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDlodGEp_9o...feature=related
You'll notice in this video, however, that her pistol fails to cycle on two occasions which indicates that her she is "limp wristing", her grip is insufficiently firm to provide a reliable normal force to the recoil, causing the body of the pistol to travel back along with the slide. As a result, the slide only travels a short distance relative to the pistol when it must travel fully back to properly cycle. This is a problem for many adults, as well, and can be handled with training but I imagine that it is more of a problem with children.

Early teen or preteen girl first time with AR-15
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3RV--Yi8NU

Teen girl first time (Ar-15)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtS9dF_ilL4

Boy scouts with shotguns
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSA_l8b0Syc


Kids (and adults) with machine guns, assault rifles, and SMGs set to Can't You See by the Marshall Tucker Band
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpNGeyEp5kM...feature=related
Baddass - This is the kind of stuff you should see in the barrens.
Synner667
I stand corrected

You'd better let the SR developers know, so they can change their recoil modifiers - none of those pesky negative modifiers anymore.
RunnerPaul
QUOTE (samuelbeckett @ May 21 2008, 07:57 AM) *
Where is the corporate gain in providing these weapons to rival street gangs?

Live-fire field test data from an active combat zone so that R&D can make tweaks to next year's model? A large recruiting pool for not only the backroom legbreakers that are kept on the security payroll, but also for any "deniable assets" the corp may need to contract out?

And the arguments that the population would evaporate rapidly if the children were prolific killers are only vaild if the Barrens are considered to be a closed ecosystem, with the birthrate being the only source of new population. It's not. You also have to account for the fact that there is immigration from outside areas. While no one chooses to go live in the Barrens, for some people, life and circumstance make that choice for them. The Barrens is the dumping grounds for society, and as long as the success rate for living a good corporate wageslave life is less than 100%, society is always going to have people to dump.
hyzmarca
Recoil modifiers are sufficient to simulate the barrel rise which is unavoidable in automatic fire. Just because it doesn't knock people on their asses doesn't mean that it doesn't fowl aim. No one learns to fire a fully automatic weapon by holding down the trigger and spraying. Short controlled bursts are the norm for both adults and children.

SR doesn't impose extra recoil modifiers based on the size of the character firing, so it's good.
Synner667
QUOTE (RunnerPaul @ May 21 2008, 10:01 PM) *
And the arguments that the population would evaporate rapidly if the children were prolific killers are only vaild if the Barrens are considered to be a closed ecosystem, with the birthrate being the only source of new population. It's not. You also have to account for the fact that there is immigration from outside areas. While no one chooses to go live in the Barrens, for some people, life and circumstance make that choice for them. The Barrens is the dumping grounds for society, and as long as the success rate for living a good corporate wageslave life is less than 100%, society is always going to have people to dump.


Even worse, areas like the barrens "move around" - rich places get poor and suddenly there's no jobs for the people...
...It's the sort of bargaining tool that Corps like Dell use nowadays to keep getting kickbacks and preferential treatment from Cities [keep giving us a subsidy or we move, and those people are out of work and you lose the taxes]...
...Or the sort of thing that hits a city when their main business goes away - factory closes, coal no longer in vogue, etc.


There's a mention in one of the William Gibson books about a town that was laid out, but the developers didn't finish, so it's acres of building foundations and a few walls...
...And a few mentions in SR material about the changing fortunes of cities.
Synner667
RunnerPaul : "Un-numbered Hardcovers -- 1st & 2nd" ??

Care to explain how they're unnumbered ??
RunnerPaul
QUOTE (Synner667 @ May 21 2008, 04:21 PM) *
RunnerPaul : "Un-numbered Hardcovers -- 1st & 2nd" ??

Care to explain how they're unnumbered ??

The Explanation:
When FASA did hardcover first printings for First Edition and Second Edition, as far as I know, they were still full print runs, not small limited runs of just 1000 books each. As such, they did not go to the trouble to number them, put foil stamped leatherette covers on them or give them any other special treatment. Of course, since both First and Second Edition Shadowrun went into mutiple softcover printings of the core rulebook after that, the hardcovers are still rare in comparison, and a noteworthy prestige item.

Now an unnumbered Third or Fourth Edition limited print run hardcover, that'd be a true rarity. I seem to remember hearing someone had a few, but I don't recall who.
Spike
QUOTE (samuelbeckett @ May 21 2008, 05:57 AM) *
Money talks, and given a retail price of the cheapest assault rifle is 750 nuyen.gif , and that the street value from a fixer is likely to be more than that, anyone who is living in the barrens is unlikely to have the funds available. If they did, they would no longer be gangers, they would be wannabe runners who are in the barrens out of choice.



See, This part doesn't ring true to me. Sure, that's how the rules present it, but... yeah.

Here is why: The guy selling you the guns? He didn't buy them for 750 bucks. If at all possible, he didn't buy them at all. Retail prices are for legitimate buyers and sellers, and illegitimate sellers have many problems to overcome. Shadowrun tends to present this in wonky ways, but we aren't necessarily limited to presentation to discuss reality.

A guy running illegal guns for profit into the barrens is going to minimize his costs. That means he's probably going to try and jack a shipment somewhere else. Cost to him? A few thousand dollars to pay for a runner team to steal hundreds of thousands in guns. Failing that, he'll buy them from someone ELSE who stole them, probably a corporate employee with a side gig. That guy certainly didn't pay for them, he doesn't care about the actual value of the guns per unit, just is the payoff worth the risk. The LAST resort is to buy under the table from the legitimate owners of the guns who want to unload excess stock and don't want it to be known. They will at best sell for cost, which may be as much as half the value of the guns. More than that and the guy won't bother, the cost out of pocket is too high for an illegal transaction he can get from another supplier.

Now, he has a problem of a sort. He's got a bunch of stuff he ain't supposed to have. He wants to get rid of it, and he wants to make a decent profit. Aside from that he's pretty good. He'd LIKE to sell the guns for many times their value, really he would.

But: the vast majority of his potential buyers can't afford to spend 2k for a gun. Even if they COULD afford that, there are other people selling them guns, and if his prices are vastly inflated he can't sell anything at all, leaving him holding a stock of shit he really doesn't want to keep. And since THOSE buyers didn't pay anything close to full price for the guns EITHER? Yeah, the cost of black market guns should actually be LOWER than legitimate sources, not higher. The reason availability works the way it does in Shadowrun is a metagame control on players, and a sloppy one at that, not a real world reflection of urban violence or even a particularly good portrayal of an even remotely dystopian view of the future...
Spike
QUOTE (RunnerPaul @ May 21 2008, 02:01 PM) *
And the arguments that the population would evaporate rapidly if the children were prolific killers are only vaild if the Barrens are considered to be a closed ecosystem, with the birthrate being the only source of new population. It's not. You also have to account for the fact that there is immigration from outside areas. While no one chooses to go live in the Barrens, for some people, life and circumstance make that choice for them. The Barrens is the dumping grounds for society, and as long as the success rate for living a good corporate wageslave life is less than 100%, society is always going to have people to dump.



Actually I think there is a bigger factor that got ignored. Hyzmarca's numbers were built from the extremely flawed premise that those who were killed must have themselves killed someone as well. At worst, if every memeber of a given generation killed someone (and this assumes 100% rather than a statistical 'everyone' in the 80% and up catagory, AND assumes that all kills were necessarily solo kills, rather than allowing for group kills) every generation is merely halved. Given that orc 'litters' tend to range from 4 and up, orcs, at least, can keep a population GROWTH when taken in isolation. Given that an orc mother could have several litters this sort of lethality is almost required to keep the population from outstripping the available resources.

That is to say: IF Two orcs produce 8 children in their lifetime. The orc children that raise to adulthood do so by killing their brethen. If every surviving orc child killed one other orc child, then those two Orcs still can produce 4 surviving children. Reasonably, every orc is a killer and their population is still at risk of doubling every 12 years or so. Note also that by age 14 orcs are no longer children in any meaningful way, not even within orc culture. At worst they are young adults. Their shorter lifespan, at least in the novels I read and from common sense are also reflected in the fact that they have abbreviated childhoods. They live faster, if you will...

Editted to add::: 'If' for clarity.
Sir_Psycho
QUOTE
I am however almost positive that there are no functioning trains in the Barrens. Or are you talking about a train that runs from great Seattle towards the "entrance" of the Barrens?


I was talking more about Touristville, which is a crappy place, but it still has infrastructure. Maybe there's a station further in, but not by much.

I always imagine the barrens in it's worst places to be a bit like S.T.A.L.K.E.R's abandoned urban zones, but more populated with squatters huddling everywhere, dying where they sit.
WearzManySkins
QUOTE (Spike @ May 21 2008, 05:46 PM) *
Actually I think there is a bigger factor that got ignored. Hyzmarca's numbers were built from the extremely flawed premise that those who were killed must have themselves killed someone as well. At worst, if every memeber of a given generation killed someone (and this assumes 100% rather than a statistical 'everyone' in the 80% and up catagory, AND assumes that all kills were necessarily solo kills, rather than allowing for group kills) every generation is merely halved. Given that orc 'litters' tend to range from 4 and up, orcs, at least, can keep a population GROWTH when taken in isolation. Given that an orc mother could have several litters this sort of lethality is almost required to keep the population from outstripping the available resources.

That is to say: IF Two orcs produce 8 children in their lifetime. The orc children that raise to adulthood do so by killing their brethen. If every surviving orc child killed one other orc child, then those two Orcs still can produce 4 surviving children. Reasonably, every orc is a killer and their population is still at risk of doubling every 12 years or so. Note also that by age 14 orcs are no longer children in any meaningful way, not even within orc culture. At worst they are young adults. Their shorter lifespan, at least in the novels I read and from common sense are also reflected in the fact that they have abbreviated childhoods. They live faster, if you will...

Editted to add::: 'If' for clarity.

Actually the number you should be looking at is 62 breeding females in the life time of one of the original URGed ork female this is on the premise that only one female of each birthing set of 4 survives to breeding age, the males are not counted in this number, males are not important ie one male can impregnate many generations. But if you like double the number to reflect one surviving male ork of each birth set. Do the math from that point, the world would be carpeted in orks. Besides the fact that by those numbers and birth rate, female orks have better food digestion/processing than most bioware and cyberware enhancements. Another brain fart by the devs and freelancers, one of many. grinbig.gif

WMS
CanRay
RE: Gun Prices...

Also bear in mind that the guns that Shadowrunners are buying are top-of-the-line, in good condition pieces. 'Runners know good hardware, and, if they don't, they get caught/dead very quickly.

For a knock-off, or badly abused weapon, prices go down real fast.

Also, who is trading MONEY? CredSticks may be the norm for people moving in and out of society all the time, but hard cash is more difficult to come by (Unless you're deal with UCAS Dollars, but, please, who does THAT?).

Say you got a gang of kids doing a few Smash-And-Grabs at a couple of stores. Get one old and large enough to operate a stolen van. Takes it to a fixer, loaded with... Oh... Toasters loaded with Memory Space (YAY! Matrix 2.0, everything has memory space!). For every twenty toasters, he passes over a bad Afganistan knockoff of an AK-97 he picked up as a bonus on a deal with some Drug Smugglers, and a lot of ammo and banana magazines for the truck.

Then gets a Courier to drive the van to a drop-point for Da Foist Bank A Tony, who then offers a deal, a free toaster with every 100 nuyen.gif deposited in a chequing account! Said Fixer gets rid of some hot hardware he never wanted in the first place, makes good with one of the Organized Crime groups (Better than cash in some ways!), and said OC group is able to increase profit with their black bank account, and Hackers are able to build a Memory Farm using a series of RAID Toasters.

The van is then retrofitted for smuggling, and is used to courier Bliss to the Cascade Orks, and California Hots BTLs back.

Hense, the Shadow Economy of trade is born.
Snow_Fox
By bringing in kids you get them early inculcated to the society, them ilitary becomes their world and they are firecly loyal to it. That goes back to Sparta. But I do wonder with orks and trolls who mature in 10-14 years. Notas emotionally mature as elves or humans, who mature in 17-20 years wouldn't bringing orks into the military/police be the equivelant of child soldiers?
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Spike @ May 21 2008, 05:46 PM) *
Actually I think there is a bigger factor that got ignored. Hyzmarca's numbers were built from the extremely flawed premise that those who were killed must have themselves killed someone as well. At worst, if every memeber of a given generation killed someone (and this assumes 100% rather than a statistical 'everyone' in the 80% and up catagory, AND assumes that all kills were necessarily solo kills, rather than allowing for group kills) every generation is merely halved. Given that orc 'litters' tend to range from 4 and up, orcs, at least, can keep a population GROWTH when taken in isolation. Given that an orc mother could have several litters this sort of lethality is almost required to keep the population from outstripping the available resources.


It is also extremely flawed to assume that none of the dead have killed and that each killer kills only one person. And I also took into account the possibility that someone might kill a fraction of a person.
Critias
QUOTE (Blade @ May 21 2008, 09:47 AM) *
Actually child with guns, just like most people with guns but without any military training, usually don't kill to many other people. I've read a paper explaining that killing isn't that easy, even with guns and even for uneducated people. Most of the time, they'll shoot above their target rather than directly at them.

That's partially because quite a few untrained citizens of third-world crapholes around the world thing the range-adjustable sights on a rifle are a "power meter" like for a laser gun, rather than grasping that it adjusts the angle of the sights (and as such, the angle of your point of aim to compensate for range).

The knob on the rear sight of an AK has a slide to take it from 100 to (a very optimistic) 1000 meters. You slide the knob up and down to raise and lower the sight...and I know from several of my friends who've tried to help train Iraqis (and then looked into it, since, and heard the same complaint from some folks who tried to train various African soldiers as well) that that 100-1000 meters thing is seen by many untrained shooters as a power adjustment, not a range adjustment.

So they go into every fight all hopped up on khat or something, crank the little knob up to 1,000 meters because hell yeah they want to shoot really hard and they want the bullets to come out really fast, and then if/when they both to aim they're sighting in as if their target were ten or fifteen times farther away than it really is, plus they fire too fast because they're all hyped up on adrenaline even if nothing else, so pwing-pwing-pwing, they aim high to start with and they have all sorts of barrel raise from recoil, and most shots go high.

Not because they find it morally repugnant to kill, and as such are aiming high on purpose -- but because they're bad shots.
imperialus
That's pretty interesting Critias. I hadn't heard of that before.

Also might help explain some of the stories I've heard from my father out of Yemen. I guess the only times the various warring tribes ever manage to do serious damage to each other is when they're shooting at each other, literally from across the street.

That said though, shouldn't underestimate the damage an automatic weapon can cause. He told me a story once of a wedding where everyone was firing their guns in the air, some old boy had a stroke and dropped dead with his finger still pulling the trigger. I think the body count was somewhere around 6 or 7 dead plus a dozen or so wounded.
hyzmarca
The observation that many soldiers are reluctant to actually kill dates back to the American Civil War, when the weapons of many dead soldiers were found to contain multiple rounds indicating that the soldiers who wielded them reloaded multiple times without firing. The soldiers had training but they didn't have what it took to actually fire. In this case, the natural human tendency to avoid killing one's own kind was exacerbated by the fact that they were fighting there own brothers - some literally so. The fact that Western civilization acculturates people to avoid killing other people didn't help matters.

In various war-torn regions history of ethnic and tribal conflict help this problem greatly. There is often a very clear us vs them mentality and it is generally alright to kill them.





Synner667
QUOTE (hyzmarca @ May 22 2008, 07:12 AM) *
The observation that many soldiers are reluctant to actually kill dates back to the American Civil War

I suspect that a soldier's reluctance to kill may date back further, by a few thousand years...
...As I'm sure there were wars before America wink.gif

The best quote I remember about soldiers...
..."Soldiers do what ordinary men cannot or will not"
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Synner667 @ May 22 2008, 03:06 AM) *
I suspect that a soldier's reluctance to kill may date back further, by a few thousand years...
...As I'm sure there were wars before America wink.gif


Probably, but that is when it was first observed and studied.
Synner667
QUOTE (RunnerPaul @ May 21 2008, 10:36 PM) *
The Explanation:
When FASA did hardcover first printings for First Edition and Second Edition, as far as I know, they were still full print runs, not small limited runs of just 1000 books each. As such, they did not go to the trouble to number them, put foil stamped leatherette covers on them or give them any other special treatment. Of course, since both First and Second Edition Shadowrun went into mutiple softcover printings of the core rulebook after that, the hardcovers are still rare in comparison, and a noteworthy prestige item.

Now an unnumbered Third or Fourth Edition limited print run hardcover, that'd be a true rarity. I seem to remember hearing someone had a few, but I don't recall who.

Wow !!

I never knew that...
...Though I do remember one of the staff at a RPG shop talking about limited edition SR 2nd Ed Rulebooks

I would imagine they might have been produced for GenCon, or similar, for the Developers to use and show off the game
Critias
Yeah, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the "power meter" range adjustment on an AK is the only reason anyone ever shoots high. I just thought (a) it was kind of a weird/funny story, and (b) in many cases there's more to a miss than someone being reluctant to take a life.

I heard about soldiers in WWI and WWII (not sure how true the stories were) that would, indeed, go out of their way to fire high. To their buddies it still looked like they were a-shootin' at some Krauts, but they didn't lose sleep over having directly taken a life. I'd heard the Civil War thing, too (with multiple balls loaded into a rifle), but it might've just come up here before (in any case, it's always a neat read, Hyz).

However, Hyzmarca is also correct in that much of that reluctance comes from upbringing. I'd, in fact, wager there is no ingrained automatic reflex against killing another member of the species. It's taught. You're raised to respect human life, you hear "thou shalt not kill" enough times, you see murderers on TV as bad guys enough times, you read enough about Batman and Superman never killing anyone no matter what -- and eventually it's gonna sink in that there's something just innately wrong with ever taking the life of another human being.

If you're raised, instead, to know that everything that's wrong with your life is the fault of those fucksticks in the next village, you'll have a whole different idea of what counts as a human life and what doesn't. If you're raised in abject poverty amidst a ridiculously high starvation rate you might not think a single life is worth much. If you're told over and over again that you're hungry because Warlord X (from that next village) stole your food, and you're only alive because Warlord Y fed you, that'll influence your thinking, too. If you're told your water is bad because the tribe next door ruins it, you'll likely not think too highly of the next tribe over. And if Warlord Y finally gives you a man's weapon, a mouthful of stimulants, calls you a brave warrior of your people, and finally lets you loose at the ripe old age of 10 at those Warlord X assholes from the village/tribe upriver a little bit...

...Well, I imagine if you aim high it's got more to do with poor marksmanship, by that point, than with not wanting to kill anyone because you believe every person is a precious individual snowflake and every life is a sacred thing worth preserving at any cost.
Fuchs
I think the multiple bullets in a civil war rifle were more the result of a misfire which the soldier did not notice in the heat of the battle, and kept "reloading".
hyzmarca
An ingrained distaste for killing one's own kind is a necessary prerequisite for any social species. Without it, society can't develop. Everyone would be like shark siblings eating each other in their mother's womb. Interaction between individuals would be so dangerous that it would be limited to procreation. Social animals can do some messed up crap, but they all tend to avoid killing within their own group.

This is limited by how one defines their own social group but in human beings this definition is very easily malleable as demonstrated by the phenomenon of capture bonding. The thing is that as soon as you talk to another person then it becomes substantially more difficult to kill that person, unless that person is a total jackass in which case it becomes substantially easier. In the case of various genocides in recent history, authoritarian command and peer pressure were required to overcome the natural reluctance to kill the friends and neighbors who are socialized with daily and even then it was rarely perfect.

And genocides are rarely perpetrated against fucks that you never interact with. Usually, they are against friends and neighbors that you've known since childhood and with whom you have a very good relationship. You might even be married to one of them. They're people who are are generally socialized to not kill. And then one day someone says that it is your duty to kill them.

Culture is a part of it, but it is much more than just culture. It's human nature, both to feel bad about killing people and to go out and kill people with your buddies.

It happens even in societies that have strong prohibitions against killing. Gangs of "happy slappers" sometimes beat people to death in Britain just for the hell of it. Every one of them individually believes that murder is wrong, but when you put them into a group they drive each other on.


And Superman and Batman are both morons. This was pretty well proven in the 90s when ultra-violent anti-heroes became popular. The Joker can only break out of Arkham and murder hundreds of people so many times before people start getting the idea that this code against killing might not be such a good thing after all.
DocTaotsu
QUOTE (hyzmarca @ May 21 2008, 03:44 PM) *
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDlodGEp_9o...feature=related
You'll notice in this video, however, that her pistol fails to cycle on two occasions which indicates that her she is "limp wristing", her grip is insufficiently firm to provide a reliable normal force to the recoil, causing the body of the pistol to travel back along with the slide. As a result, the slide only travels a short distance relative to the pistol when it must travel fully back to properly cycle. This is a problem for many adults, as well, and can be handled with training but I imagine that it is more of a problem with children.


The notes underneath video say that they put dud training rounds into her stack so she'd have to clear her weapon due to "malfunctions".
That's uhm... cool and insane at the same time. But hey, might as well train correctly from the beginning I guess.



As was pointed out in the Grossmanian Killer thread some months back, the military has done a great deal of research on this matter and most of our training is specifically geared towards overcoming the natural "Killing is bad!" reflex.

The group mind mentioned above is something that we're trained to obey. By living, eating, and training with your unit for years you instill a sense of unit cohesion. Essentially the guy to your left and right is more "real" than anyone else out there, especially the enemy who is trying to kill the fuck out of you, and even worse, that guy or gal you count as your family. The line I like quoting is from a guy who had recently returned from a combat tour. "I love my wife, I love my children. But they didn't got to the Desert with me." That speaks of a social dynamic that most of us will never fully understand. Ask a guy to murder a person because Uncle Sams so and most of them will flip you off, ask him to do it because his buddies need him to do it for THEM and he might very well do it without a second thought. Of course this is a behavior that has to be carefully managed, there are some terrible atrocities that have been committed because five guys got together and collectively decided it was a good idea to do something utterly insane. I can't remember the term but it's like collective reasoning or something, it's the act of splitting responsibility between a number of individuals so no one person has to bear the full responsibility of taking a course of action. Kind of like how firing squads have multiple shooters so that no single person is burdened with the knowledge that they ended another persons life.
Fuchs
Mob mind? Not that a mob has a mind, usually.
DocTaotsu
Actually I'd say, without evidence at the moment, that mobs really do have minds. A single idea can propagate rapidly through a group of people and cause some very dramatic shifts in behavior.

Off the top of my head I recall some mathematically research that was done on the dynamics of applause. All these people clapping their hands together actually synchronize on their own, shift and than resynchronize without anyone directing them. I've heard people in drumming circle exhibit similar behavior.
Chrysalis
Government armed forces which used children in armed conflicts

The number of governments that used children in armed conflict only marginally declined – down from 10 in the period 2001-2004 to nine in 2004-2007.
In Myanmar boys below the age of 18 continued to be forcibly recruited into the army in large numbers and were used in active combat as well as other roles. Children also took direct part in hostilities in government armed forces in Chad, the DRC, Somalia, Sudan/Southern Sudan and Uganda. In addition, there were reports that the Yemeni armed forces used children in fighting against a militia in early 2007. The Israeli defence forces used Palestinian children as human shields on several occasions. A number of under-18s were deployed to Iraq by the British armed forces between 2003 and 2005, although most were removed from the theatre of war within a week of their arrival.

At least 14 governments also recruited, and in some cases used in hostilities, children in auxiliary forces, civilian defence groups or in illegal militias and armed groups acting as proxies for official armed forces. These included Chad, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, the DRC, India, Iran, Libya, Myanmar, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe. In Burundi, Colombia, the DRC, India, Indonesia, Israel, Nepal and Uganda children – often captured, surrendered or escaped from armed groups - were also used as spies, informants or messengers.

The recruitment and use of children by non-state armed groups

The vast majority of child soldiers are in the ranks of non-state armed groups. Dozens of armed groups in at least 24 countries have recruited under-18s and many have used them in hostilities.

Armed groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Colombia, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka, and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda are well known for having recruited and used children over many years. Others receive less international attention. In southern Thailand the separatist group National Revolution Front-Coordinate (BRN-C) recruits under-18s and uses them in various roles including propaganda and in support of military operations. In India, child recruitment by Maoist groups is reported to have increased since 2005 and there were persistent reports of child soldier use by groups in Jammu and Kashmir and northeastern states. In the Philippines and Myanmar children are associated with armed groups involved in protracted low-level conflicts with state forces.

In countries such as Central African Republic and Chad there are numerous irregular groups which are characterized by unclear, shifting alliances and activities that are often more criminal than political. In situations such as Kenya and Nigeria criminal groups involving children have been used for political purposes. In Afghanistan, Iraq, the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Pakistan, children were used by armed groups in suicide attacks.

-Child Soldiers Global Report 2008
http://www.childsoldiersglobalreport.org

---

“The army does recruit children.
Because we don’t have enough soldiers,
recruitment takes place twice a year and,
until the necessary strength is reached,
all those who come forward are enlisted,
whatever their age may be.?
A soldier, Burundi, May 2002.2

“I was detained on 18 March 2003… We
are in a very small room with 11 people…
We are allowed to use the bathroom only
three times a day at specific times. Once
a week we are allowed to take a 30-
minute recess. The prison guards force
us into shabeh position: they tie our
hands up and one leg and then we have
to face the wall.?
A 15-year-old boy, describing conditions
at Bet El detention centre in an Israeli
settlement outside Ramallah.7 Most
Palestinian children in the Occupied
Territories who are detained on suspicion
of involvement in armed attacks are held
in facilities for adults, treated as adults in
law, and denied the protection offered to
other young people under 18 years of age
in Israel and in Israeli settlements.

“I had to run away to a forest with my
friend to join the underground. I was 14
when I first held a gun in my hands. I
love to go to school but for the poverty
of my family I have to lift a gun. Now I am
earning enough money with the help of
the gun for myself and can send money
for my family also. “
Boy aged 16, Northeast India

Girls in South and Southeast Asia
reportedly joined up to escape domestic
servitude, forced marriages and other
forms of gender-based discrimination.
“I left home and joined the NPA because
I wanted to run away from my family’s
noise and I hated getting hurt.?
Sonia, Philippines.

-Child Soldiers Global Report 2004
http://www.child-soldiers.org/document/get?id=966


Recommended reading:
Returning Home - Children's perspectives on reintegration - A case study of children abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army in Teso, eastern Uganda - February 2008
http://www.child-soldiers.org/document/get?id=1299

Action for the Rights of Children (ARC): Critical Issues - Child Soldiers - September 2002
http://www.unhcr.org/protect/PROTECTION/3f83de714.pdf

Ancillary bibliographic references:
Bibliography on approaching armed groups - Child Soldiers Coalition - December 2006
http://www.child-soldiers.org/document/get?id=1167
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