It is claimed by some that the movie The Men Who Stare at Goats is based in fact. Supposedly the US military funded an experiment that lasted for twenty years and included testing the idea that you could kill an animal or human at a distance by psychic power alone.
What would the world be like now if the experiment had been successful, i.e. soldiers had really discovered how to kill the enemy just by psychically staring at them?
Please assume the following:
- The experiments threw up a few people who genuinely were able to stop someone's heart just by staring at them.
- This knowledge escaped into the public realm.
Such men (they were all men in the experiment) became in demand as partners and/or as sperm donors.
Through artificial insemination, the ability is spreading throughout the world. Especially worrying are the attempts of some dictators to breed whole armies of such warriors.
ADDED RULES in response to comments:
It is only possible to kill one person at a time. You must stare at where their heart should be. Anatomy lessons are necessary. It takes a lot of mental effort so the killing rate is slow. Perhaps one person per half-hour. Clarification: The actual killing takes about five minutes and the recovery period is another 25 minutes. Small animals take less time, larger animals take longer. A mouse could be killed in about 30 seconds with a proportional recovery period. An elephant might take the whole half hour or more and the assassin might have to give up through tiredness. It depends on the size of the heart. Multiple people could combine their psychic power to kill a larger foe or a normal one quicker.
Although some children are born with the talent, it takes at least a year of education to develop it. Children aren't automatically aware of their ability.
Clarification: Direct line of sight of the person (or their heart) is necessary. No viewing purely through TV or through walls. It works through clothing and armour or even solid rock but the attacker must be able to accurately guesstimate the position and distance of the heart. You can't randomly 'fire' and hit someone - there must be at least some visibility of their actual form for the whole 5 minutes. It doesn't work on robots that look like people..
(a) How would this affect warfare?
(b) How would it affect the detection of crime? (Would there be any detectable psychic signature for example)
(c) How would it affect the meat industry and pest-control industry as far as commerce and ethics are concerned?
(d) Men and women can both have the ability. Would they tend to use it in different ways? (preferably-science based on actual crime statistics of men and women using different weapons)
(d) What other implications are there that I haven't thought of?
My question is different from the similar one that has been indicated.
I am interested in the spread of the ability. It isn't universal. The other question assumes a sudden magical event whereby everyone has this ability. I want to know how people will inherit it and which people. What will be the interim effects.
The other question insists that you must know and be able to identify your target. In my question those with the talent can kill people they don't know.
Implied in the other question is the ability to kill people even if you cannot see them - you simply have to wish them dead. In my scenario you must have the person clearly in your vision in order to kill them.
The other question assumes that the killer cannot be identified. I want to explore how crime-fighters might be able to identify the perpetrator.
The other question assumes that everyone including children can do it immediately. I assume that it is a difficult skill to learn, even if you have the ability, and takes at least a year of education and practice to develop the skill.
I'm planning to put a sizable bounty on this question. I'll do it when all the bugs have been ironed out. Please feel free to give comments in the meantime to clarify the rules. When I do award the bounty I'll make sure all the rules and all parts of the question are clear in my question. If you want to give answers now, please feel free. You can always add another answer later or edit your answer. I'll give the rules for awarding the bounty later when I've decided how best to do it. (I haven't given one before.)