Can Identifying Mental Illness Stop Terrorism?


There’s a growing body of research that suggests that mental illness and radical ideology are not mutually exclusive.

New studies have challenged several decades of thinking that psychological problems are only a minor factor in the making of terrorists. The research has instead found a significant link between mental problems and “lone wolf” terrorism.

Now academics and law enforcement officials are working to turn that research into tools to prevent deadly attacks.

“It’s never an either-or in terms of ideology versus mental illness,” said Ramon Spaaij, a sociologist at Australia’s Victoria University who conducted a major study, funded by the U.S. Justice Department, of lone wolf extremists. “It’s a dangerous cocktail.”


It would be tough because most mentally ill people don’t become terrorists, and mental illness isn’t always easy to diagnose.


Workmates of the Sydney seige Iranian man, say ‘he is the maddest man I know’. This man was obviously on a path to terrorism for years, as he was prosecuted for sending hate mail to the families of fallen soldiers killed in the Iranian war. The man came to Australia as a refugee in the late '80s early 90s.


Define “Radical Ideology”.

Whoever defines the term, defines who is mentally ill. Think about that.

Defining mental illness would actually be a good start.


This guy did


No. People close to the mentally ill ( a huge and diverse group) in a lot of cases are not going to sell out their loved ones to highly suspicious agencies which might lock them up. Most of the time these mentally ill people don’t broadcast their plans either.


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