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Theories of Terrorism

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The threats imposes by the terrorists has increased with time while their recorded activities are reducing. In an effort to define terrorism, three points are noted down. It is politically motivated, directed towards noncombatants and is committed by a sub national group. Charles L. Ruby added that it is meant create an extreme fearful state of mind. He recognizes the role of behavior in the study. Theories to explain how individuals become terrorists include the political, psychological, cultural, rational choice and religious theories.

The psychological theories are based on: the mental processes, person-group relationship and abnormal psychopathological disorders (Newman B1). This theory is based on some propositions as I will discuss in the next paragraphs.

Pathological Terrorist Personalities

The theories in this category try to look t the effects of poor upbringing of children. They include: Pathological Narcissism- due to lose of both parents, Paranoia Personality Disorder –due to distrust of the leader and Authoritarian Personality – resulting from harsh and punitive child rearing practices.

Non-psychoanalytic psychological theories:

Cognitive Theory

The variations in the style of thoughts, feeling, and other aspects of lifestyle lead one into joining a terror group.

Frustration- Aggression Theory

This proposition suggests that violence is a result of frustrations and feelings of aggressiveness (Ted C1).

Psychoanalytic psychological theories:

Narcissistic Rage Theory

This theory observes the terrorist as mentally-ill persons who would do anything while out of mind. It associates the terrorist with characteristics such as arrogance and lacking regard for others.

 Negative Identity theory

This theory suggests that the terrorist take a negative personality to become terrorists. When denied the desires of the heart, an individual feels helpless and low thereby sorting to identify with terrorists as a result of lack of an alternative.

Absolutist/Apocalyptic Theory

This theory looks at terrorists from the constructive view. It suggests that those who join and practice terrorism have an idea of transforming the society into a pure new social order. They claim to be moralists who only work to be reformists neglecting the fact that they could be causing some disorders.

Terrorist Motivation

The main focus is on the nature of terrorist way of thinking, their causes and costs, and their implications on the recruitment process, philosophy, leader-disciple affairs, organization, resolution making concerning the targets and strategy, boom of sadism, and attempts made by disheartened terrorists to find their way out of the terrorist group.

The process of joining the terror group

The psychological theories suggest that individuals who join terrorism are normally unemployed, socially alienated persons who have been dropped by the society. Those who have little or no education are terror recruits as a result of being idle. To escape their boredom, they choose to have themselves recruited into the terror groups. Studies show that most of these people are youth age between 17 to 35 years of age. In Most western countries, persons who become terrorists are scholarly and idealistic. Potential members normally start off as sympathizers of the group. They normally feel that the group is suffering from a pressure and is alienated and afterwards find their way into it. Other recruits come from support organizations such as student activist groups and prisoners. Most have a bad past experience with the police or other governmental official thus join to act against their stalkers. However others join as a result of being overwhelmed by the performance of a group. They think that the group is really achieving.

Based on the psychological theory of terrorism, I have come up with two propositions as will discuss in the next paragraphs.

In the conscious defense theory, I denote that some individuals had by accident committed crime. An attempt to live this experience secretly leads them in a situation in which they think and thereafter overlook themselves as criminals. This kind of mindset leads them into the need to repeat the same crimes. Henceforth, they become terrorists. This is related to Newman’s direct conditions. It applies to an individual.

The second theory, the emulation theory is based on the kind of people one admires from the youthful stage. It fits well in Newman’s catalytically conditions. It’s based on the fact that one often wants to live what he or she likes from childhood. Therefore a child who has admired a terrorist can finally become one. This applies to both individual and society.

The first proposition can help us understand more on Newman’s horizontal conditions while the second one will help us understand the leader conditions that make individuals join terror groups. The end result will help to curb terrorism.

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