I celebrate the killing of one and the capture of the other young murderers who tried to terrorize the country by killing and maiming people in Boston. At this point it appears that they were “self-radicalized” rather than operatives of al Qaida or some other transnational terrorist organization. The older brother apparently spent months overseas before his attack, and I am sure that he completed his indoctrination in that environment, but I doubt that he and his younger brother will be discovered to be part of an organized campaign or some larger terrorist organization. I could be wrong, but that’s what it looks like so far.
We will find out more as time passes I am sure.
But, the big question to me is, who becomes a terrorist? And why?
Shortly after 9/11/2011 I thought the answer to that was pretty easy – I thought terrorism was a religious tenant of Islam. There were many quotes from the Koran and from terrorists that proved to me that radical Islamists were on a religious mission to destroy Western Civilization and impose an Islamic Caliphate on the world.
But, Chritopher Dickey, Paris bureau chief and Middle East editor for Newsweek and the Daily Beast, has written an article that makes sense to me. He says that there is an explosive combination of three elements that go into the makeup of a terrorist – TNT.
First, is T as in Testosterone. Nearly all terrorists are young men.
Second, is N as in Narrative. Here he says:
“This is perhaps the most important and most misunderstood element in the shaping of a terrorist’s thinking. It is often confused with ideology, and, in the case of Islam, with religion.”
What is actually in the minds of the terrorist is a Narrative, one where he is the hero who identifies with “a People” suffering repression by Others. The terrorists are often not victims of suffering themselves, but rather see themselves as Holy Knights “righting epic wrongs.” Theirs is the narrative of a selfless hero, a martyr to a great cause, brave knights changing the course of history. He gives examples of terrorists as the Irish under Britain, Jews in Palestine before 1948, Palestinians in Israel since then, Tamils under the Sinhalese, Latin American peasants under oligarchs, and Islamists under “Jews and Crusaders.”
The Islamist religion apparently can be twisted to provide the Narrative that cries out for a Brave Knight to battle the Oppressor Dragons, but by now it is pretty clear to me that bloody, brutal, killing jihad is not really fundamental to Muslim religion. It is the motivation of men with personality problems who are manipulated by men with political aims.
And third, is T as in Theater. They need their terrorism to be on a huge world stage, seen and feared by the Oppressors, seen and admired by those they are “saving.”
This is an explanation that makes sense to me. Testoserone plus Narrative plus Theater creates a terrorist. Treat them like low life criminals, not like heroic knights storming our castles.