Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Seduction of Righteous Slaughter isn't Boring

When is it mere murder; and when is it righteous?

Jihadis see it as righteous when they slaughter us, and many of our own fall over ourselves claiming we understand their pain. I've never Seen Oprah on tv. so I don't understand the appeal. But I do understand the appeal of righteous slaughter. I even get the idea of career terrorism. Who'd want to work as an assistant fries-chef at Burger King when a world of "saving the world" is open instead? Especially so if one has permission from ones group?

Righteous Slaughter -- Katz Chapter 1
In this chapter, Katz offers an explanation for some types of murder (in another he discusses senseless killings). In many murders, particularly those between persons who know each other, people kill defending what they believe to be the "good;" thus justifying the crime in their own minds (at least at the moment they are committing it). In some cases, the public and juries have agreed with the defendant's claim that the killing was justified. Francine Hughes (Burning Bed case) couldn't very well argue self-defense, but did have a jury uphold her temporary insanity plea. She was then shortly released without receiving treatment. In the movie she is pictured as killing to protect her children from further harm, and as the only way to free herself from an otherwise unchangeable situation. Every time she moved away, he followed her. Another example is a husband who murders his adulterous wile or their wife's lover, particularly when the husband catches them in the act. He often receives sympathy from a jury. The husband is killing to defend the sacred institution of marriage from an outside attack.

Killings may also be justified in the eyes of the murderer if property rights have been violated, i.e. breaking into one's home, blocking a driveway with a car.

Overall these types of murders tend to emerge quickly, are fiercely impassioned, and are conducted with an indifference to the legal consequences. They are therefore immune to the Classical model's insistence that swift, certain, and severe punishment will act as a general deterrence. The person usually makes no attempt to escape and is quickly apprehended.

Why do such murders occur? Katz offers the following explanation:

1. The would-be murdered must come to understand the situation as one in which the victim is attacking what he regards as an eternal human truth. The situation requires a last stand in defense of a value that is associated with the individual's basic worth as a human being. The person feels they can not simply walk away from the situation without suffering a tremendous loss of face.

Katz tries to explain why the overwhelming majority of such murders occur at home or at a recreational activity (i.e., drinking at a bar). You can walk away from conflicts at work, because after 9 to 5 you are free to leave. The home is a much more difficult scene to relieve oneself from. Also, there is a much greater emotional investment in hearth and home. Recreational facilities are places people often come to as a last resort escape from other spheres of life. If one can not escape serious personal challenges there, where can one turn?

2. The particular emotion the killer is feeling (humiliation) must be transformed into rage. It is on this point that Katz's theory is most problematic? He does not assert simplistically that people are impelled by their emotions. He, in fact, states that persons who become enraged must create their own emotions first, and then allow themselves to be seduced by their emotions in order to act out violently.

0n this point Katz is in agreement with the direction being taken in the newly emerging subdiscipline of the sociology of emotions. This field is much more interested in studying verbal "accounts" rather than internal emotional states. Neither humiliation nor rage would be universal responses to the situations that righteous killers have found themselves. In both humiliation and rage the individual experiences himself as an object compelled by forces beyond his control. "I got carried away," or "I wasn't myself," are frequently heard statements to express the compulsion. However, humiliation only becomes rage when a person senses that the way to resolve the problem of humiliation is to turn on the source of the humiliation. The goal may not be so much to kill, but to obliterate or annihilate the source of the frustration. In fact, sometimes, if the person dies too quickly the sense of vengeance is not satiated. (i.e. TV soap operas have to revive characters like Roger Thorpe so they be killed again.)


Douglas Stone "Terrorism as a Career Option," American Thinker. 11 October 2008

Among the greatest underrated factors energizing the tides of history is boredom. Boredom and peer pressure and the love of personal power and wealth, and all the other mundane and often ugly personal drives that have a force that can exceed the most profound political or religious beliefs -- and for that reason have often built or broken empires.

It was partly boredom that urged young men onto ships to explore the New World and later prompted them to join wagon trains to settle the West. In the early days of the Civil War, peer pressure worked on state legislatures to prod many former Union stalwarts to embrace the Confederacy. And in our own time, in the 1960s, rioting in the ghettos and among students was often motivated by nothing more than a testosterone-fueled sense of power and a desire to loot and destroy.

In the Middle East today, it is often boredom and peer pressure, and -- among the leaders especially -- the desire for sheer power and wealth, that entices young men into radical politics. Many of the top Palestinian "militants," for example, may cloak these motivations in politics or religion, but ultimately they are little more than gangsters whose venality conveniently coincides with the prevailing public orthodoxies.

Pssst! Wanna job? You're in the occupied West Bank or Gaza; there's massive, entrenched unemployment; you're young and not particularly educated. What do you do?
How about a "job" that may after a few years yield a substantial bank account and serious power; in fact, the power of life or death. Joining a terrorist outfit is not only somewhat expected, but you can take care of your family and cousins and friends, and have women swooning in their nijabs and men shaking in their Nikes.

One of the largely unremarked facts of life in the Palestinian territories is that the life of a "militant" often isn't such a bad deal, and there's reason to believe that some of the ongoing troubles in that benighted place are due to the simple fact that for the sociopathic personality being a militant can be a great job opportunity.

A number of the terrorist leaders are men in their 40s without skills or the prospects of decent employment. What's the appeal of a clerk's job in the local equivalent of a 7-11 when you can have money and power and be in service to a nationalist political cause that makes you the toast of the Arab world and left wing salons from Paris to London to, yes, even New York.

Great job being a freedom fighter, if you can get it -- and keep it. This is often true for the leaders, of course, but it can also be true for mid-level operatives. There is no doubt that for some there is a real belief in the cause, but for many it is merely a job.

The same way of thinking that allows one to eschew democracy, lord it over one's fellows or simply to kill political opponents, is the same mentality that allows a former "idealist" simply to begin killing and stealing -- and prevents him from embracing peace.

Money. Power. Fame or popularity. These are the rewards that go to those who keep the pot boiling. Keep it boiling or agree to a settlement that will yield peace and increased prosperity for your people but to the now-ageing militants might only mean the drudgery of performing the mundane duties of a real politician in a poor backwater.

[More] http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/10/terrorism_as_a_career_option.html

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