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Respond to Marty, ------------------------My apologies for the late posting, got caught up in some things and am working on catching up. Very interesting reads this week that gave some great insight and perspectives that I had not considered prior to reading them. To being to answer the question of the fundamental factors that lead individuals to participate in suicide bombings, I want to make a point about suicide bombings would be used at all. The advantages to using the suicide bombing is because there is much better control of the initiation, target selection, and ability to penetrate security measures (Hoffman, 2006). The ability to react to last minute changes or target acquisition because the human mind is the ultimate control and able to respond to immediate stimulation prior to the attack initiation makes this a powerful weapon of choice (Hoffman, 2006).
This still begs the question of why someone would be willing to put their lives on the line. For some of the individuals, the indoctrination begins early, from various institutions in their life, that doing extreme acts to further the cause are redeeming life qualities and something to strive for and young children are encouraged to memorialize those that gave their all for the cause (Post, 2009). A common myth perpetrated is that the terrorists have little lot in life and this is a way to fill the void. This is refuted by Hoffman in his book, Inside Terrorism, when he points out that interviews showed terrorist to be mainly of the middle-class variety who had something to lose by committing this act (2006). These interviews have the caveat that these are people that never completed the task at hand, so in way, they are deemed failures to the cause and the information could be tainted because there is no true way to understand the mind set of those that completed their task (Hoffman, 2006). A factor that can motivate an individual to go through with this act is the potential for recognition, the prestige, or for rewards of accomplishment for either themselves or for their families (Post, 2009).
Among the motivation found within future suicide bombers to do something like this is a sense of oppression or being neglected from the perceived enemy that is working to accomplish the demise of their special group or cause (Kershaw, 2010). It is easy to also see most cases of this type of weapon being used are against superior forces, either political or military, and it seems to be the only way to create the environment for the desired changes (Kershaw, 2010). Another factor on why someone would do this is to exact a pound of flesh for having lost flesh themselves (Kershaw, 2010). Terrorists can compartmentalize the horrendous acts they perform for their cause while abhorring lesser crimes against humanity because they look at their conduct as selfless acts for the greater good (Kershaw, 2010).
I think the Kershaw New York Times article, Mind of a Terrorist: An Update, describes the three types of terrorist as being idealists, respondents, or lost souls seem to identify the different rationale for people that would join a group that would plan this type of self-destruction (2010). It is easy to imagine that anyone willing to give their life for a cause may have a mental instability because it doesn’t make sense that someone in a good mental state would contemplate such an act. However it is evident that individuals are chosen for this because type of attack because for the attack to be successful, it is far better to have an individual who can remain focused and able to keep their emotions under control and in check (Canter, 2009).
Canter, D. V. (2009). The Faces of Terrorism : Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Chichester, UK: Wiley. Doi: 10.1002/9780470744499.ch1
Hoffman, B. (2006). Inside Terrorism, ch. 5. New York: Columbia University Press.
Kershaw, S. (2010, Jan 10). The terrorist mind: An update. New York Times Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/docview/434272531?accountid=8289
Post, J. M. (2009). Reframing of Martyrdom and Jihad and the Socialization of Suicide Terrorists. Political Psychology, 30(3), 381-385. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9221.2009.00702.x
Respond to Marty, ------------------------My apologies for the late posting, got caught up in some things and am working on catching up. Very interesting reads this week that gave some great insight and perspectives that I had not considered prior to reading them.