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A terrorist attack, loosely defined, is the use of violence with the primary purpose of extending ideological or political aims at the detriment of the general public. Joscelyn (2013) states that terrorism takes several forms and has many reasons that are always larger than expected. Mainly in religious, political, or social tensions, terrorism has its origins. Typically, it arises as to the other faces injustice by a particular culture. The groups who oppress their populations, for instance, ISIS, AL-Shabaab, Boko Haram, and AL-Qaeda (Cohen et al.2014). In comparison, certain terrorist attacks are single incidents related to various historical moments. For example, the assassination of Austria’s A. Franz back in 1914 effectively touched off the occurrence of world war one (1) (Borum, 2014). Cohen et al. (2014) elaborate that other terrorist events and attacks have become part of the ongoing campaign that has been lasting for years. For example, the terrorist attack in the Northern Ireland during 1968-1998 century (Joscelyn, 2013). But what causes individuals to engage in terror attacks? This essay focuses on psychological and behavioral factors leading to acts of terror by individuals. Moreover, the study focuses on the efforts that might be effective in successfully encountering the mental and behavioral factors causing terrorism
Psychological and Behavioral Factors Causing Terrorism
Understanding psychology and mindset of the terrorist is the key to understanding ways in which an individual becomes a terrorist and why they engage in such illegal activity. In explaining this, in his study Joscelyn (2013) argue that theories of a terrorist’s behaviour outline terrorism activities to occur from two psychological behaviours. These include the outcome of disorders or side effects in an individual’s personality structure. Another aspect is the regular mental activities. Moreover, Borum (2014) outlines that these issues become the psychological and motivational mechanisms to successful engagement in terror activities. These behaviours are further sub-dived into the following units as discussed below
Necrophilia or attraction to death-It is believed that terrorists are not protected from deaths by an objective of survival. According to Cohen et al. (2014), the cognitive processes uniting necrophilia and fanaticism for involving in terror attacks include rigidity of belief, the perception of a globe which reflects on the closed minds. The act also occurs through the unwillingness to disdain and compromise for the alternative views of other people. Borum (2014) includes additional like the tendencies of seeing things in white and black perspectives.
Self-identity-Majority of the individuals has self-identity with respective terror groups. The identity seems to be inherited from the religious, next generations, or the lifestyle of the terrorists. As a result, self-identity becomes a behavioral factor that leads a person to join the terror group. According to Gill (2015), the self-identify can be eliminated through the elimination of terror groups and activities. Factors associated with self-identity that enhances terrorism include self-ends, self-assertion, the youth heroism and romantic appeals. Moreover, Cohen et al. (2014) argue that the ideological absolutism and critical challenges to the estrangement are crucial leading behavioral and psychological elements that continuously ignite terrorism activities. The individual behaviors that led them to engage in terrorism have significantly been identified to emerge from political, religious, and socio-economic factors.
Cohen et al. (2014) argue that these elements are within the internal and external environments of an individual. For example, those joining Al-Qaeda and ISIS groups believe that they are participating in these organizations since they want to engage in more killings to join the Supreme Being as outlined in their religion. Joscelyn (2013) argues that rather than seeking significant causes of terrorism, a considerable approach is through determining conditions making terror possible. Therefore, not only do the behavioral factors ignite terrorism but they also contribute towards the behavioral and psychological traits of members of the terror groups.
The suspicious behavior of individual-The transitional terrorism is characterized by wider-reaching impacts. However, in his study Gill, (2015) elaborates that domestic terrorism has become more frequent in the United States and other countries across the world. The engagement in domestic and transitional terror occurs from the suspicious behaviors of an individual. Borum, (2014) elaborates that these acts include the individual amassing significant quantity of machinery, chemicals, or other possibly harmful objects. Individuals not authorized as security officials but conduct surveillance using instruments such as video cameras, and binoculars highly become members of the terror groups.
Efforts in Encountering Factors Leading To Terrorism
Fighting terrorism is the responsibility of every citizen of a country to help in controlling their behaviors that are likely to lead them to terror activities. In managing their practices, individuals must be aware of their potential threats and various alerts to the different categories of extremism (Cohen et al.2014). When this happens, the citizens are supposed to report the suspicious activities that are related to terror or make the active online reports to the concerned security officers. Managing terrorism has not been an easy task for the majority of the nations such as Somalia, Iraq, Nigeria, and United Arab states with severe terror attacks (Gill, 2015). Moreover, the task becomes difficult due to variation in the psychological and behavioral factors of individuals that occur due to different situations. But despite these challenges, several nations have established strategic mechanisms and approaches to encounter these factors. These include governments resisting from arming the terrorist. Arming terrorists increases their chances of forming more groups as they fear being eliminated in the systems.
Governments must stop torturing and mass surveillance of individuals suspected to be terrorists. Senior interrogation and terrorism experts within various nations have agreed that torturing individuals create more groups of terrorists. But in their study Cohen et al. (2014) argue that it is significant to offer other co-curricular activities for individuals to stop them from participating in terrorism. Indeed, the Al-Qaeda and ISIS leaders are continuously being motivated by torture imposed on them by the united state government. Currently, Paris terrorist told the court that terrorist’s leaders are not radical until they learn the U.S torture of the Abu Ghraib prisons in Iraq. Therefore, if the governments want to stop the creation of new terrorists, then they must stop the torturing acts.
Government to stop the drone assassinations of the innocent civilians-Most security officers have agreed that the use of drone strikes in the US and other nations increased terrorism. For example, Corner and Gill (2015) elaborate that the CIA agent responsible for the drone strikes briefed president Obama that the drone assassinations is likely to increase terrorism in American and her neighbors. Similar to this act, Gill (2015) argues that the US government officials accepted that 9/11 is mainly a state-funded terrorism act and they failed to agree on which country was responsible for the law. Therefore, it must be stopped to control the psychological and individual behaviors of increasingly participating in terrorism (Cohen et al. 2014). The security agencies must recognize various diverse forms of extremism that occurs within the society and nations.
Improving the social conditions-It is believed that some acts of terror occur due to poverty and lack of adequate social conditions for the individuals. Borum, (2014) elaborates that these social conditions must be continuously improved to engage members of the public in constructive activities away from terrorism. These include supporting charities which successfully fight the global poverty. For example, Gill (2015) outlines these to cover the interaction, action against diseases and debt, and the kids in the distressed situations (K.I.D.S) charities are substantially reducing the participation of individuals into activities that lead to terrorism. According to Borum (2014), there should be no discrimination of people or a section of the community based on age, sex, color, language or nationality. Bias creates solitude and elimination of significant people in the society who avenge through joining the terror groups.
Terrorism is the act of using violence by an individual or a group to meet the set political or ideological obhectives.it occurs from different factors that include religious, political, social-economic, and lifestyle of the terror groups. The terror leaders believe in various tools such as faith, next generation, and efficient use of technology as the critical tools for promoting terrorism. Moreover, there are psychological and behavioral factors that lead an individual to join terror activities. These include necrophilia or attraction to death, self-identity, and suspicious behaviors of an individual. As a result, terror activities lead to massive destruction of property and loss of lives. Moreover, the security systems of the country become questionable hence leading to declining in the economy of the nation as many sectors are affected. In encountering terrorism behaviors, the states must stop torturing individuals suspected to be terrorists. Increasing social conditions and preventing discrimination are the factors for battling the behavioral elements making an individual join the terror group
Borum, R. (2014). Psychological vulnerabilities and propensities for involvement in violent extremism. Behavioral sciences & the law, 32(3), 286-305.
Cohen, K., Johansson, F., Kaati, L., & Mork, J. C. (2014). Detecting linguistic markers for radical violence in social media. Terrorism and Political Violence, 26(1), 246-256.
Corner, E., & Gill, P. (2015). A false dichotomy? Mental illness and lone-actor terrorism. Law and human behavior, 39(1), 23.
Gill, P. (2015). Lone-actor terrorists: A behavioural analysis. Routledge.
Joscelyn, T. (2013). Global al Qaeda: Affiliates, objectives, and future challenges. The Long War Journal, 18.
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