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Essay about The Psychology of Terrorism

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New York City. Washington D.C. London. Nairobi. Beirut. Yazidi. Beslan. Mumbai. Lockerbie. These are the locations of some of the world’s worst terrorist attacks, resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. The culprits of these attacks were nearly always a relatively small group of individuals that were labeled as terrorists. It has been said that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. This is the problem with understanding terrorism, a word that means many things to different people. Our different perspectives make it a difficult problem to define and solve. These incidents have occurred relatively infrequently but their impact has been long term and far reaching. What could drive human beings to be so destructive of life and property? That is a question many have tried to answer yet few agree upon. Politicians and the intelligence community do not tend to focus on the individuals but on terrorist organizations and the state supporting them because these larger entities have a greater impact on the national interests of a country. Terrorist groups cannot exist without individuals choosing to participate. Understanding what motivates the individual is key to being able to stop them before they commit these heinous acts.
The main conclusions reached by scholars are that individuals are motivated by the external factors of religious zeal, political injustice, and socioeconomic strife. These explanations, along with the consideration of individual psychology create a model under which many terrorists can be categorized. There is limited research on the psychology of terrorism with it being a secretive activity and one that often leaves the perpetrator deceased, but the capture and int...


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...Sciences Press, Inc. 183-192.
Friedman, Thomas. “The Core of Muslim Rage.” The New York Times. March 6, 2012. A25.
Kreuger, Alan. “What Makes a Terrorist?” The American. November/December 2007.
Web. 14 Oct. 2013.
Long, David E. The Anatomy of Terrorism. New York: The Free Press, 1990. Print.
Pillar, Paul R. “Fighting the War in Afghanistan Encourages Terrorism.” Terrorism. Ed. Laurie
S. Friedman. Farmington Hills: Greenhaven Press, 2011. 73-78. Print
Shiva, Vandana. “Economic Problems Cause Terrorism.” Terrorism. Ed. Laura Egendorf.
Farmington Hills: Greenhaven Press, 2004. 86-91. Print.

Sullivan, Anthony. “Islam Does Not Encourage Terrorism.” Terrorism. Ed. Laura Egendorf.
Farmington Hills: Greenhaven Press, 2004. 79-85. Print.
Warraq, Ibn. “Islam Encourages Terrorism.” Terrorism. Ed. Laura Egendorf. Farmington Hills:
Greenhaven Press, 2004. 70-78. Print.



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