Sunday, November 28, 2010

Terrorist or Sociopath?

The lead of the article from the AP said this:

A Somali-born teenager plotted "a spectacular show" of terrorism for months, saying he didn't mind that children would die if he bombed a crowded Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, according to a law-enforcement official and court documents.
Reading over the article and news about this incident I wondered the very question I put in the title above. At least at this point as I write this, there doesn't seem to be any big link between this teenager and any major terrorist plot. It may only be a crazy (VERY CRAZY!) kid who has dreams of seeing death and destruction like on TV, the movies, or video games. That doesn't mean that lots of death and destruction is minimized by it. Not a chance. In fact the aimless, purposeless, cold approach just to have "a spectacular show" is downright more scary than an Al Qaeda plot. "Homegrown" terrorism is harder to understand.

Unless one looks at it from the view of psychology. We're talking sociopath. Officially, antisocial personality disorder. It often starts in adolescence as oppositional-defiant behavior. Sociopaths have no remorse, no thought to the consequences to anyone else of what is about to happen. There is no understanding of morality as most of us understand it. There is no need to justify, explain, or even want to recognize their actions. It just happens!

Sure, sociopaths will make good terrorists and there may be a connection between terrorism and sociopathy. The results are the same- terror, fear, death. But we should be careful to make sure we don't think that all sociopathic acts are acts of international terrorism. Yes, this one may turn out to be more than it seems today, but let's not jump to any conclusions. Sick sociopaths are not interested in international politics. International terrorism may sometimes get them excited, but they are not one and the same.

Above all with this situation, I am grateful that it didn't happen anywhere but in this sick kid's head.

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