Most seem to share a feature of a psychological condition known as the anti-social personality disorder or psychopathic personality disorder, which is an absence of empathy for the suffering of others – they don’t feel other people’s pain. However, they do not appear unstable or mentally ill. Someone who is mentally ill may want to commit an act of terror, but as most terrorism requires cooperating with others, this makes it less likely that a mentally ill person will actually carry out such an act because of the difficulty they have in working with others. Terror groups usually dislike or distrust those who wish to join them, who appear to be unstable. “It is very rare to find a terrorist who suffers from a clinically defined ‘personality disorder’ or who could in any other way be regarded as mentally ill or psychologically deviant” (Silke, 1998). It is not a coincidence that many terrorists come from places where peace is not the norm; places like the Middle East or Northern Ireland, where all the present generation of young people have known is regular, extreme, well-publicised violence. Violence could be the norm for such young people, whether it is on a wide scale or within a smaller community or family. It may come to be considered the normal response to achieve objectives. The process of becoming a terrorist is primarily an issue of socialization. The move from being disaffected to becoming an active terrorist is usually precipitated by a catalyst” (Silke, 2001). Most sociologists believe in nurture not nature and see terrorists as driven by political ideology and political grievances. Terrorists are often the products of overly permissive, wealthy families with whom they were in conflict, had inconsistent mothering or were isolated from others.
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