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Psychological Implications

Reader comment on item: Sudden Jihad Syndrome (in North Carolina)

Submitted by Paul Ross (United States), Mar 14, 2006 at 10:57

Dr. Pipes observations may shed some light on another aspect of the terrorist mind. In this case the person is described, as "He was kind and gentle, rather than aggressive and violent." The university chancellor, James Moeser, called him a good student, if "totally a loner, introverted and into himself."

This is a pattern often seen in individuals who commit violent crimes. It suggests a person whose inner psychic life is a major pre-occupation and likely full of conflict and anger while on the surface the person appears tranquil and quite. It is likely that some of the people who knew this individual detected this inner rage.

The origin of the rage need not come from the religious background, and likely stems from interpersonal issues in his life. The religious background however can give focus and direction as well as permission to act out the internal fantasies. People like this person are likely to be good candidates for recruitment by terrorist groups and one has to wonder if this is not what happened in this case.

Paul C. Ross Ph.D.
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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