The wrong question on suicidal mass killersAdam Lankford asks the wrong question:
I can’t help but wonder about Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Seung-Hui Cho and Adam Lanza. If they had been born in Gaza or the West Bank, shaped by terrorist organizations’ hateful propaganda, would they have strapped bombs around their waists and blown themselves up? I’m afraid the answer is yes.Maybe. But we'd be fooling ourselves if we think that Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri, Saeed Hotari or Abdel-Basset Odeh would have become suicide bombers had they lived in a society other than the 'Palestinians,' and that is the more relevant question.
Each of the non-Muslim Americans mentioned by Lankford acted on his own. That is not the case with the 'Palestinians.' This is from a Daniel Pipes piece called Arafat's Suicide Factory.
The system works: Hassan reports that "hordes of young men" clamor to be sent to their own obliteration. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have established a process of selection based in the mosques, where "a notably zealous youth" ready for martyrdom gets noted by clerics who recommend him for selection.Lankford claims that the mass murderers suffer from mental illnesses. That is not the case with the suicide bombers.
Those who make the cut enter a protracted, highly supervised, and disciplined regimen of spiritual studies and military-like training. These adepts are taught to see suicide operations as a way to "open the door to Paradise" for themselves and their families. "I love martyrdom" says one such "living martyr."
Just before setting off on an attack, the men engage in exquisitely pious preparations (ablutions, clean clothing, a communal prayer service). Their deaths are celebrated by Hamas or Islamic Jihad by orchestrating a festive funeral celebration ("as if it were a wedding," Hassan observes) and distributing video cassettes with a statement from beyond the grave. The sponsoring organizations then make sure that the family receives both social kudos and financial rewards.
These facts tell us three things: Militant Islamic suicide killers are not born; they are manufactured. Like the four simultaneous suicide hijackings on Sept. 11, the four nearly simultaneous suicide attacks in Israel last week resulted from long-term planning by sophisticated organizations. They cannot operate clandestinely, but require the permission of a ruling authority, either the Taliban or the PA.
Previous studies have shown that most suicide bombers are religious, young, male, unmarried, and unemployed, with some high school education (Ganor 2000). A study that examined the sociodemographic characteristics of suicide versus non-suicide terrorists revealed significant differences between the two types of terrorists: the mean age of suicide bombers was 24.5 years, they were older than non-suicide terrorists, more suicide bombers than non-suicide terrorists were educated in religious schools, and the percentage of suicide terrorists affiliated with religious fundamentalist organizations was higher than that of non-suicide terrorists (Pedahzur et al. 2003). It should be noted the sociodemographic characteristics of the suicide bombers (young, unmarried, and unemployed) are congruent with those of suicide bombers in other terrorist organizations such as the “Black Tigers” (LTTE) in Sri Lanka (Gunaratna 2000) and female suicide bombers acting on behalf of the PKK in Turkey (Ergil 2000). Most of the female suicide bombers in Palestinian society are also in their twenties and single. However, in contrast to male suicide bombers, they have a higher level of education than the average population. In fact, some female suicide bombers are graduates of universities or other institutions of higher education (Berko 2004; Yaffeh 2003).These people are not mentally ill. Many, if not most of them, believe that they are helping their societies.
But perhaps the biggest difference is in the third factor cited by Lankford:
The third factor is the desire to acquire fame and glory through killing. More than 70 percent of murder-suicides are between spouses or romantic or sexual partners, and these crimes usually take place at home. Attackers who commit murder-suicide in public are far more brazen and unusual. Most suicide terrorists believe they will be honored and celebrated as “martyrs” after their deaths and, sure enough, terrorist organizations produce martyrdom videos and memorabilia so that other desperate souls will volunteer to blow themselves up.But suicide bombing attacks commonly take place in public. Most importantly, in American society, people like Adam Lanza are shunned and scorned, whereas in 'Palestinian' society, suicide bombers are praised and lionized. While Columbine shooter Eric Harris may have "fantasized with his fellow attacker, Dylan Klebold, that the filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino would fight over the rights to their life story," among the 'Palestinians' that sort of thing actually happens. While Lanza had to murder his mother to get her weapons, a 'Palestinian' mother is thrilled that her child would become a suicide bomber. Maybe that's why an Adam Lanza is a rarity in the West, while for every 'successful' 'Palestinian' suicide bomber, there are tens, if not hundreds more who are caught before they can do their deed.
Other Muslims share the 'Palestinians' admiration for suicide bombers. More here.