Monday, November 14, 2011

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Mass Murderer or Terrorist?

There is a new link to a blog making its way around the Internet which claims Pat Brown excuses criminality and is a big leftist.

This claim always make me laugh. I have no issues with people being liberal or conservative, or even far to the right or left. I may have a rousing discussion with them but I can still like a person with diametrically opposing views. I, myself, am a conservative, a constitutionalist, pro-Second Amendment, pro-carry, and pro-death penalty. The concept that I am a big liberal/anti-gun/soft on crime started in two places. Both came from the far right over the issues of gun control and terrorism. Some pro-gun folk on a particular site got all bent out of shape over a television commentary I did on men who kill their girlfriends. I pointed out that if you are a woman and you note these three things in your fellow, you might want to run the other way: a very controlling personality, an obsession with violence, and a massive gun collection. These pro-gun folks only paid attention to the last part and saw red; Pat Brown is saying all men with a gun collection are violent psychopaths who kill their wives and girlfriends.

Of course, this is not true. I know many men with gun collections, but they don't have continual violent ideation nor are they control freaks who push their women around. What is funnier is that I own two weapons and my children own weapons, more than one weapon each. I am pro-carry. But, for years, it has been claimed I am a big liberal who wants to take everyone's guns away!

The other far right group that decided I was a big leftist went nuts after I labeled the Ft. Hood Shooter, Nidal Malik Hasan, a mass murderer rather than a terrorist. One site claims that I refused to even clarify my position, that I have some nerve to not call him a terrorist, even though I detailed three times over in the video they posted of me on FOX news my exact definitions of a mass murderer and a terrorist and why I think Hasan is the former and not the latter. I will explain it here again so somewhere on the Internet it is clear what I really believe and why.

A terrorist is someone who works with a terrorist organization over a period of time, is bred to be a terrorist and instructed on what to do by the organization. Then, the terrorist carries out the terrorist attack on behalf of the terrorist organization and its ideology. Finally, the attack itself, although the terrorist might have psychopathological issues of his own, is committed in order to forward a political ideology and coerce a government or country into making concessions that benefit the group's agenda.

A mass murderer is psychopath who has issues in his own life and wants to do something that will show the world it should have paid more attention to him, that he is someone important, and now they will never forget him. They want to go out with a bang and make all the newspapers. They may create a political ideology to justify their big day but they have not been trained nor are they working in concert with a terrorist organization.

9/11 was a terrorist attack; this is clear. So are other terrorist attacks; for example, places that blow up in India and Egypt are terrorist attacks; Mumbai, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Delhi in India, and Sharm-el-Sheik and Luxor in Egypt. Most of the Indian attacks are over who should own Kashmir - Pakistan or India (or neither) - and are committed by members of Lashkar-i-Taiba (LET). Some of the attacks are over Bangladesh. Egypt has a variety of factions trying to force the government to act toward Israel or the US in the way that terrorist group wishes. They are all politically motivated and usually involve lengthy planning and groups of operatives. The 1983 bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon was a terrorist attack aimed at getting the United States to go home. It worked. The 2004 Madrid train bombings were carried out to influence the upcoming election and to get Spain to pull out of Iraq. It worked. Most of these terrorist attacks cited are radical Islamist groups, but not all terrorist attacks are committed by al-Qaeda or their cells or Islamic radicals. There are and have been terror groups in India (some are radical Hindus or Radical Christians), Sri Lanka, Africa, South America, Asia and elsewhere in the world where other political aims or religious aims are or were at play.

In the United States we have also been subject to terrorist attacks. Jose Padilla was convicted in 2005 of being an enemy combatant of Pakistan for trying to bring a "dirty bomb" into the country. The Virginia "Jihad" Network consisting of eleven men with ties to al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Lashkar-i-Taiba was brought down in 2003. And in 2010, Faisal Shahzad was charged with attempting to blow up a bomb in Times Square in New York City. He had ties to the Pakistan Taliban from whom it is believed he received training.

These are just some of the attacks targeting the United States that are true terrorist attacks. I call these perpetrators "terrorists" because they are truly working with a terrorist group.

Now, we have a new issue on the horizon, what we call "homegrown" terrorists. These are usually psychopaths who join up with a terrorist network because they want to feel important; similar to someone joining a cult. I don't call Hasan a homegrown terrorist because he did not actually join a group and work with them.

Mass murderers just want their day in the sun and to take revenge on society, the society that didn't give them respect. The Columbine Mass Murders were committed by two psychopathic teenage boys who wanted to mow down the more popular kids, especially the girls who they didn't think would date them, and the wanted get their name in the papers. Cho of Virgina Tech fame had similar "Wannabe a Rockstar/Killer" ideation.

But, Oklahoma City Bomber, Timothy McVeigh, and Norwegian mass murderer, Anders Behring Breivik, were older and had achieved "midlife crisis" (the two major mass murder groups are teens who feel adult life offers nothing to live for and those who have become frustrated that they have not reached the level of success they wanted as adults and give up); these two men felt society had ignored them long enough. They developed a political ideology of White Superiority that propelled them to their big day in the sun and made them heroes for a cause (if only in their own minds). While they may have reached out on occasion to certain groups, gone to their websites, and read their books, they were not working with any terrorist cell. This was their big day and that big day was really about nothing but themselves. They were losers who wanted to become antiheroes and they succeeded.

Nidal Hasan didn't even work as hard as McVeigh or Breivik on any intricately developed ideology. He had moments of getting all radical Islamic when he was feeling down, but, in the end, he wanted to kill his workmates and get back at the Army he had served for half his life, the organization he felt didn't appreciate him enough. Yes, he reached out right before the mass murder to radical Islamists to give himself a better justification for his killing his fellow servicemen and he yelled "Allah Akhbar" before he pulled the trigger, but this does not him a terrorist make. He had the traits and behaviors of a mass murderer and if al-Qaeda is cheering and claiming he committed a terrorist act in the name of Allah, so be it; sometimes mass murdering psychopaths help out the terrorists.

Why do I insist on the importance between this distinction of mass murderer and terrorist? Certainly not, as this website claims, because I want to "excuse criminality" or that I want play down any radical Muslim connection to terrorist attacks. I have often labeled certain attacks terrorist attacks and if they are conducted by groups who adhere to a radical Islamic philosophy, I state this as well, and, I am hardly excusing criminality because I recommend the death penalty for either a mass murderer or a terrorist. My purpose in laying out the differences between the mass murderer and the terrorist is so that we know what to watch for and what traits and behaviors to recognize, so we can intervene before the terrorist or mass murderer strikes. This is the kind of work I do in anti-terrorism training funded by Homeland Security and TSA and in my psychopathology training for law enforcement.

Psychopathy, mass murder, and terrorism are increasing in our world. If we cannot find a way to talk about these subjects rationally, we will not be able to address and prevent these mass homicides from occurring.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown


Soobs said...

Do you consider Eric Rudolph to be a terrorist? Do you believe that the "global definitions" differ from "your definition" and if so, why do you believe you are "more correct?"

Anonymous said...

According to USC 2331. he would be a domestic terrorist.

5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

Terms synonymous would be :religious extremist, institutional extremist and so on.

SO by popular conception Eric Rudolph was indeed a terrorist.

Furthermore Rudolph had "ties to" and was affiliated with the Army of God church/cult.(they helped him during his years spent on the run hiding out in the appalachian mountains) SO his Mo, and Motivations are consistent with Ms. (or respectively misses) Browns conception of Terrorist.