The mind of a terrorist is hard for anyone to understand. What could lead an individual to cause her or his own violent death is a question that’s frequently raised. A little over 24 hours ago, a Nevada local resident shot and killed more than 50 people injuring 200 in the process. Perhaps unsurprisingly, once again the authorities were caught off guard which begs the question; is the National Intelligence Unit missing all the signs of impending terror attacks?
What makes a terrorist tick?
A terror attack is meant to seize the attention of the public and paralyze them with fear. A terrorist is someone who believes in a certain radical ideology and is willing to harm or kill anyone who doesn’t believe in the same. But what kind of human being will bomb others for just an ideology? What makes him/her tick?
Contrary to the belief, terrorists are not some psychopaths or sadists nor are they necessarily people inclined to shoot or bomb. They are normal people just like you and me who have insecurities. Their insecurities make them an easy target for radicals who brainwash them into believing their cause. People who have been marginalized either by tribe, origin, religion or sexuality act as great traction for radicalization. Once radicalized, they are willing to do harm for a cause they believe in.
Social Pain & Radicalism
As mentioned earlier, a terrorist preys on fear and isolation. An example is the terror attack that took place at Bruxelles in France.
About ten years ago, Hind Fraihi, an investigative journalist warned the authorities about the growing threat of radicalization. She informed them that extremists lure the young people into joining their “deviant” groups i.e. ISIS. According to her, these young people feel like they do not belong and that they do not have a voice.
One common thing among all terrorists who live to tell the tale is their lack of remorse. They are commended for a job well done if they were successful in their assignment. Interestingly, everyone can die for the cause but never the leaders. Take Osama Bin Laden, for example, it took several years for the authorities to catch up with him — it seems he was a step ahead of his opposition. Do you see where I am going with this? Though they might not believe in democracy, all terror groups are as political as any government. Look at it this way.
Just as the governments plan for their financial year, terror groups also plan for their disaster two years in advance.
Needless to say, terrorists are consummate bullies whose actions are meant to create a connection and a following. No doubt they are still in touch with their humanity because the need to belong is totally human. Their desire for idealism fuels terror. This explains the lack of remorse because they focus on making the world ideal in line with their self-beliefs. To them, the end justifies the means hence it does not matter if they destroy millions of innocent lives in the process.
In a nutshell, a terrorist feels the sense of “rightness” regardless of their ideology. If you look at this from a psychologist’s point of view, this person is disgruntled with his or her life. Therefore, the first chance that shows up which makes him feel wanted and appreciated, he takes it and if the chance doesn’t show up he or she unleashes the terror on others out of frustration.
My heart goes to the families all over the world who have lost their loved ones due to a terror attack.