years until overwhelmed by the Boers' greater numbers._As to internal violence, the !Kung's homicide rate, Lee found, is 29.3 per 100,000 person years, some three times that of even the United States. Disagreements in !Kung groups escalate through the three recognized levels of talk, fighting and deadly fighting. The talk stage also has three sub-levels. It starts as argument, moves up to verbal anger, and ends in za, a mode of pungent and personal sexual insult. These fighting words lead quickly to physical aggression. At that point, or shortly after, the poison arrows come out.
When hit with an arrow, the !Kung quickly cut around the wound and suck out the poisoned blood and lymph; chances of survival are 50-50. Puzzled at the high risks of this kind of conflict, Lee asked the naive question of why men didn't use ordinary arrows instead. "To this question," he reports, "one informant offered an instructive response: 'We shoot poisoned arrows,' he said, 'be cause our hearts are hot and we really want to kill somebody with them.'" The anthropologist gained another insight into !Kung methods of conflict resolution while conducting interviews about hunting success. Having asked four !Kung hunters how many giraffe and deer they had killed, Lee reports, "it suddenly occurred to me to pose the question: 'And how many men have you killed?'
"Without batting an eye, 4 Toma, the first man, held up three fingers; ticking off the names on his fingers, he responded, 'I have killed Debe from N4amchoha, and NN%, and N!eisi from /Gam.' "I duly recorded the names and turned to Bo, the next man. 'And how many have you killed?'
"Bo replied, 'I shot //Kushe in the back, but she lived.'
"Next was Bo's younger brother, Samk"xau: 'I shot old Kan//a in the foot, but he lived.'
"I turned to the fourth man, Old Kashe, a kindly grandfather in his late sixties, and asked: 'And how many men have you killed?' "'I have never killed anyone,' he replied.
"Pressing him, I asked, 'Well then, how many men have you shot?'
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