On Finding The Terrorists: A Bleak Truth.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

Here’s the scary thing no one wants to face: anyone with a grudge could be a terrorist.
That’s the only criteria. Could be a white guy, could be a brown guy. Could be a Christian, could be a Muslim. Could be left-wing, could be right-wing.
Yet we yearn in our hearts to have terrorists be a single, concrete mass.  It’s why everyone wears identical jumpsuits in fictional bad guy organizations.  We want to be able to look at a group of people and go, “There they are.  That’s what a homicidal lunatic looks like.”
The truth?  A homicidal lunatic looks pretty much like everyone else.  Some of them are intense, and weird, and withdrawn…. but so are a lot of people who don’t bomb civilians.  Some of them are well-liked in their neighborhood and sunny, and they have zero problem slaughtering anyone who gets in their way.  Some were bullied, some are bullies.  Some of are intensely religious, some atheists.
The truth is that homicidal maniacs are not a separate group, but a subset of us.  They crack in different ways, for different reasons; there’s no real unifying reason that people decide to kill others.  Anyone could do it, theoretically.  You’d have to know them real well, perhaps better than they’d let you, to realize this shit was boiling inside of them.
The real terror is that it’s fucking hard to tell when someone’s about to snap this way.  Nobody wants to think that their neighbors, their buddies, their friends’ sons would ever be capable of violence.  So we keep trying to slot the latest terrorist fuckery into some category for our comfort, going, “These are the bad guys.”  And then, having determined What Makes People Nuts, we can return to less-concerned lives, where once we deal with Those People we’ll have solved the problem forever and ever.
You can sleep easier once you’re absolutely certain that nobody you know would ever kill.  But you have to take some shortcuts to do it.

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