Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Mental Stability and Religion—A Deadly Concoction

Mentally unstable people occasionally strike out in violence, as was the case in the U.S. Postal facility shooting recently in Goleta, CA. Who knows what myriad of demons drive people to such desperation that they commit homicide? Fortunately, such incidents are relatively rare. Often the demons are unique and personal and the choice of victims is indicative of some particular stressor in the life of the killer.

Yesterday, a would be killer, Iranian Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, attempted to murder a number of people at the University of Carolina, Chapel Hill, by driving an SUV into them. This time the motivation was apparently cultural and perhaps religious:

The driver of an SUV that plowed into a group of pedestrians at UNC-Chapel Hill on Friday told police it was retribution for the treatment of Muslims around the world,…

The question that comes to mind immediately is whether or not this would-be killer can be considered mentally unstable like the killer at the Goleta Postal facility.

In addition to a political motivation, authorities likely will be looking at a psychological analysis.

On July 4, 2002, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyuptian national entered the El Al terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. He opened fire killing two and wounding four before being killed by El Al security officers. The subsequent investigation determined:
They characterized the shooting as an act of terrorism because Hadayet espoused anti-Israeli views and was opposed to U.S. policy in the Middle East,…
Investigators had concluded that he was driven by a number of other factors that day: his limousine business in California was failing, his marriage was suffering, and after his wife and children left for Egypt, he was alone and depressed on his birthday -- the day of the attack.

Based upon the choice of a target, it is safe to assume that Hadayet’s anti-Israeli sentiments played a significant part in the crime. How much of his motivation came from religion? The articles don’t say.

A strong motivating factor in the homicide/suicide bombings in the Middle East is the Islamofascist jihad promise of an eternity in heaven with 72 virgins. Given that there are tremendous sexual and cultural stressors resulting in self hate in much of the Islamic world, we begin to realize that religion can play a significant role in the killer’s motivation. Therefore, the murder of innocents might well be a logical, sane decision from the Jihadist perspective.

From a Western perspective, we judge the homicide/suicide killers to be “crazy.” Whatever motivational factors come in to play, it is safe to say that jihadist religious justification, cultural factors, and the Western definition of mental stability can combine to make a deadly concoction.

Hat Tip to Michelle Malkin.