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So it seems that all the Republicans running for president (and their supporters) are ignorant about the root causes of “radicalization” and ‘terrorism”. These xenophobic (“the fear of foreigners”) politicians are, perhaps unwittingly, following the politics and punitive theologies of many other extremist right-wing notables from history, including Adolf Hitler.
Donald Trump is the GOP candidate that is currently the most popular with Republican voters, but he is in a close tie with every other front-runner when it comes to ignorance about what motivates “terrorism”. Trump says: "…the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from [and why] we will have to [wait to] determine…until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
Trump isn’t the only one guilty of willful ignorance. The two major political parties, along with the mainstream media are equally guilty. One of the problems is that nobody is asking the “terrorists” what motivates them and why they feel as they do. Doing so and then listening to their answers would be too hard to handle for uber-patriotic Americans who have been indoctrinated into the cult of American Exceptionalism.
Understanding “radicalization” isn’t rocket science, but in order to understand it, one needs more information than what is spoon-fed to us consumers of inadequate, censored, canned and often fake (“faux”) news. It seems that any information that might cause cognitive dissonance in us “sheeple” is carefully kept away from our fragile souls for political, economic or national security reasons.
And thus we are deprived of the true facts of any case that is usually exaggerated by the propagandists in charge of “public enlightenment”. Therefore we consumers are forced to either adopt the approved story line or are left to develop our own theories based on inadequate information, and cunning campaign speech-writers or their ignorant presidential candidates do the same and are tempted to inflame their voters with conspiratorial versions of what will soon become the “conventional wisdom”. So, being too busy to do the time-consuming searches for the real truth, most of us accept the propagandist’s version that is then spread about on Fox News, CNN, or even NPR, MPR, PBS or at the local watering hole.
Indeed, the issues can be complex and hard to understand, but the mainstream media has, for far too long, gotten it viewers to depend on 20 second sound bites to get their news, that they have made their reporting on complex stories undoable. When even the controlled demolition of World Trade Center # 7 (at 5:20 pm on the afternoon of September 11, 2001) went totally unreported by the vast majority of news outlets and then was also totally unmentioned in the 911 Commission report, one knows that there is something rotten going on. (Of course, most patriotic Americans don’t want to hear about what really happened on 9/11 because they don’t want to know that the White House lied to them and lied all of us into endless wars. The media has either been instructed to lie or it doesn’t know how to tell complicated stories to brain-washed consumers who have rapidly shortening attention spans.)
There Must be 50 Ways to Create a Terroris
At any rate, there has been a lot of irrelevant drivel published about the supposedly “elusive” and “incomprehensible” motivations of the many so-called “radicalized”, homicidal, religious extremists. Although the politicians want American voters to focus on Muslim terrorists, the problem of mass shootings isn’t limited to that religious group. Here is a short list of some of the many religion-based “terrorist” groups that need to be understood:
1) Fundamentalist Islamists [committing violence in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Paris or San Bernadino],
2) Fundamentalist Christians [killing “unbelievers” or “heretics” at Planned Parenthood clinics, black churches, Unitarian churches, Sikh churches and Jewish synagogues or burning of Black churches in the Bible Belt],
3) Aryan Nation/KKK-type racist Christians [terrorizing and lynching blacks all over the fascist South for the last 300 years],
4) Zionist Israelis [homicidally displacing Palestinians from their ancestral homes in 1948 and their over-the-top mass bombings and killings of innocent Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in reprisals for the ineffectual missile attacks and the irritating stone-throwing at Israeli tanks], or
5) Radical right-wing Hindus and Muslims [destroying each other and each other’s shrines in India since 1948]).
(Note that I did not mention 9/11 and the 3,000 innocent lives lost on that date as an example of terrorism by radical Muslims. The reason for that is because whatever caused the momentary kerosene fires in WTC # 1 and# 2 only caused a few hundred lives to be lost, whereas the controlled demolitions that followed were responsible for the vast majority of the 3,000. Most importantly, no Muslim group in the world was capable of planting the perfectly timed controlled demolitions of the three steel-reinforced skyscrapers on that fateful day. Any sane person with normal intelligence that has done their due diligence on 9/11 knows that the explosives that demolished the three World Trade Center towers in mere seconds had to have been planted by a group of demolition experts that had months of approved access to the towers – and that could not have been done by Osama bin Laden or any group of incompetents like the fingered 19 Arabian “hi-jackers”. (See www.ae911truth.org for the whole story.)
Is Religion Killing Us
“Is Religion Killing Us: Violence in the Bible and the Quran” is the title of a book written by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer (2003). In the introduction to the book, Pallmeyer says:
“Religion is used to justify killing precisely because issues of ultimate consequence and meaning are understood to be at stake. People frequently use God and religion to justify killing when conflicts escalate between individuals, groups, or nations. In the midst of problems rooted in land, oppression, discrimination, or any number of other historical grievances, religion is often called on the justify human violence with…reference to “sacred” tests, divine mission, or moral purpose.”
Listen to the Sociologists for a Change
Sociologists, psychologists and social workers have long understood what radicalizes normally non-violent people into committing acts of terror. However, experts in those fields are never asked by mainstream interviewers so that the rest of us might come to understand the people and issues involved. Instead, the media can’t seem to resist spending valuable air time doing human interest stories rather than using the latest violent act as a teachable moment to get at the real truth - and thus possibly prevent the next shooting.
Too often, the media goes all simplistic by broadcasting the opinions of 1) people on the street, 2) poorly-informed law-makers, 3) thought-leaders who have undisclosed conflicts of interest, or 4) punitive law enforcement or military types.
Often the talking heads even resort to interviewing fellow journalists who had just been assigned to cover mass shootings and therefore may have done some internet searches to prepare their stories. Sometimes spokespersons for for-profit companies that have an anti-terrorism product to sell are interviewed (disaster capitalism). Retired generals who spent their careers in the military, and are now living on comfortable pensions, are commonly interviewed after shootings. And of course, Neoconservative and Neoliberal politicians who have conservative or industry constituents in their contributor and voter base to mollify, find themselves throwing fuel on the fire of fear and hate, thus justifying their support for short-sighted reactionary policies that fail to address the real issues.
Why Some Terrorists Justify Their Use of Retaliatory Violence
Racial fear and hatred, of course, must be taught from an early age. Both are alive and well in the United States of America that has committed some of the world’s worst crimes against humanity. One only has to consider the mass killings, starvation and genocide of the Native Americans over the last 500 years, starting with Columbus in 1492 and getting a boost at Plymouth Rock in 1620, and one can understand why there were so many indigenous resistance movements against the White European land-stealers, treaty-breakers and oppressors, why there was an AIM movement (the American Indian Movement), why there was a Sioux Uprising and why Custer and his blood-thirsty killing soldiers probably deserved what they got at Little Big Horn.
One only has to consider the forced enslavement, deaths, torture, lynchings, police brutality and discrimination against millions of innocent Africans and African-Americans over the past 300 years, and one can understand why Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, the Council of Racial Equality, and the Black Power movements did what they did and why the Black Lives Matter movement is doing what they do.
One only has to consider the illegal invasions and occupations of Vietnam, Nicaragua, Afghanistan and Iraq (among many other militarily weak nations) and the CIA’s part in overthrowing the democratically-elected leaders of Iran, Chile and Guatemala in the 1950s (among dozens of other examples of CIA plotting and American military invasions and occupations), the widespread US government support of many pro-corporate, fascist dictatorships around the world, the indiscriminate drone killings with many innocent lives lost, cluster bombings, use of radioactive (depleted) uranium weapons (and the hideous epidemic of fetal anomalies and still-births in Iraqi babies that resulted), the “Turkey Shoot” in Kuwait, the wanton destruction (twice) of Fallujah and its innocent inhabitants, the torture at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and the CIA “black sites”, the atrocious “Collateral Murder” tape (google it) and the fact that America refuses to comply with the International Criminal Court (and thus its war criminals will suffer no punishment for their acts of criminality) and one can easily understand why some Asians, South and Central Americans, Africans, Iranians and assorted Muslims might want some payback.
”You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught
Where do “terrorists” come from? Rogers and Hammerstein provided one answer in their powerful song “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught” from the hit musical “South Pacific”. The producers, knowing that it might anger white racist audiences, tried to censor-out the song. Fortunately, the song-writers refused to change the lyrics.
Rogers and Hamerstein wrote:
“You've got to be taught to hate and fear; you've got to be taught from year to year.?It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear. You've got to be carefully taught.
“You've got to be taught to be afraid Of people whose eyes are oddly made,?And of people whose skin is a different shade. You've got to be carefully taught.
“You've got to be taught before it's too late, before you are six or seven or eight,?To hate all the people your relatives hate. You've got to be carefully taught!”
Hidden Cruelty in Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence
In 1980, Swiss psychoanalyst Alice Miller wrote “For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence”. In that seminal book and the other fine books that followed, she wrote about the roots of mental ill health and criminality, and, in retrospect, terrorism.
Despite writing long before the start of America’s unique epidemics of 1) mass drugging with brain-altering drugs, 2) easy access to highly lethal weapons that are made mainly for mass murder, 3) mass brain-altering vaccinations of children (with toxic ingredients), 4) mass entertainment addictions, 5) mass militarization, 6) mass indifference to human suffering, 7) mass historical illiteracy, and 8) mass malnutrition, Dr Miller could have been writing about perhaps the most significant factor contributing to America’s epidemic of mass murder.
“People whose integrity has not been damaged in childhood, who were protected, respected and treated with honesty by their parents, will be – both in their youth and adulthood – intelligent, responsive, empathic, and highly sensitive. (Ed note: and they therefore would be well-nourished, un-poisoned, un-drugged and not prone to violence or terrorism.)
“They will take pleasure in life and will not feel any need to kill or even hurt others or themselves. They will use their power to defend themselves but not to attack others. They will respect and protect those weaker than themselves, including their own children.
“If mistreated children are not to become criminals or mentally ill, it is essential that at least once in their life they come in contact with a person who knows without any doubt that the environment, not the helpless, battered child, is at fault. In this regard, knowledge or ignorance on the part of society can be instrumental in either saving or destroying a life. Here lies the great opportunity for relatives, social workers, therapists, teachers, doctors, psychiatrists, officials and nurses to support the child and to believe her or him.”
In my study of the roots of violence and mental ill health, I have found no exceptions to Miller’s precepts. Most of the patients in my holistic mental health practice had previously been given mental illness labels by psychiatrists and well-meaning physicians and then immediately drugged up. According to those patients none of those practitioners had taken the time to do a thorough prenatal, personal or family history into family abuse or neglect, societal abuse or neglect or brain malnutrition. In the extended workups that I did on my patients, I found that virtually 100% had been victims of any or all of the victimizations listed above, including psychological, spiritual, physical, and/or sexual violence.
Most of my patients had not realized that they were actually not, in fact, mentally ill, but rather they had been victims of some aspect of posttraumatic stress disorder, which is actually a mixture of neurological/psychological trauma and brain malnutrition that is, unfortunately, usually followed by illicit or prescription drug-induced neurological impairment that further complicates the symptomatology and is one of the main root causes of the multiple diagnoses and the cocktails of drugs that are often given to such patients. There have been many examples in the history of psychiatry of victimized patients (or their family members) trying to get revenge (sometimes with the use of terroristic acts) on the prescribing physician who may have sickened them with powerful drugs.
It has been shown repeatedly that at least 90% of the known American school shooters have been taking or withdrawing from brain-altering drugs which are well-known to provoke homicidal or suicidal violence, and it is likely that many of the supposedly “irrational” suicides (like the celebrity suicide of Robin Williams) or the accidental prescription drug overdoses also fit the definition of iatrogenic (doctor or drug-induced) injury.
Spree shooters, serial killers and politically-motivated mass murderers are likely to be sociopaths, psychopaths or antisocial personality-afflicted people (the three terms are essentially synonymous).
Sociopaths are not technically mentally ill. They are very rational and are not insane. They are not depressed or anxious and do not hallucinate. Because of their neglectful early life experiences and serious lack of parental warmth, nurturing, love and caring during their childhoods (sometimes sociopaths are pathologically indulged [spoiled]), they are indifferent to the suffering of others and grow up to become verbally, physically or sexually aggressive, serial liars, clever thieves and even cunning murderers who are incapable of feeling emotions such as compassion. Prolonged incarceration or engaging in intense or prolonged combat war can lead to sociopathic behaviors and punitive political or radical theological beliefs.
Sociopaths are extremely good at deceiving others, including doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, clergypersons and even love-sick members of the opposite sex, and they rather enjoy having such power over their dupes. They enjoy being aggressive and then experience no real guilt or remorse for their actions. To no one’s surprise, they are over-represented in the killing professions, including among terrorist organizations.
Terrorists are Often Graduates of Schools for Barbarians
In 1938, Erika Mann, daughter of Thomas Mann wrote “School for Barbarians”. The book’s rather long, but very illuminating subtitle was “How German Fascism Overthrew Germany’s Liberal Democratic System, its Public Schools, its Progressive Christian Churches, its Families, its Arts, its Civility, and its Intellectual Class by Indoctrinating its Youth to Mindlessly Participate in Racial Hatred, Believe in German Exceptionalism and Thoughtlessly March off to War”.
Mann quoted a German marching song for young Nazi boys who were being groomed to become good killing soldiers, good executioners, good racists, good sociopaths and “Good Germans” for the 1000 Year Third Reich. The song is a good example of the spirit of all shoot-em-up militaries (letting someone else clean up the rubble, human carnage and the mass poisonings from the military toxins) – whether German, Italian or Japanese fascist militaries, whether Russian, Chinese or North Korean Stalinistic communist militaries or whether American, British, French, Australian or Canadian democratic ones. The song promotes the sociopathic behaviors that are all-too-common in the killing professions when they take to the killing fields - wherever they are
“Though the whole world lie ruined around us after the day of war,
What the devil do we care – we don’t give a hoot anymore.”
Adolf Hitler and Josef Goebbels, who hated the liberalism of the Mann family and drove them from Germany in the 1930s, understood before Rogers and Hammerstein that future killing soldiers “have got to be taught before it's too late, before you are six or seven or eight to hate all the people your relatives hate. You've got to be carefully taught.”
In summary, there are many paths that can lead to what is often called “senseless” violence. When supposedly “irrational” behaviors such as American mass shootings occur (on a daily basis now) and are reported on by journalists that have only a fraction of the most important details, we will continue to be confused and totally unable to get at the truth, and thus we will be deterred from solving and preventing mass shootings in the future. That will be fine with the National Rifle Association, the gun lobby, the weapons manufacturers, the Pentagon and Big Pharma, all of whom will be beneficiaries of the half-truths with which we will be force-fed.
Dr Kohls is a retired physician from Duluth, MN, USA. He writes a weekly column for the Reader, Duluth’s alternative newsweekly magazine. His columns mostly deal with the dangers of American fascism, corporatism, militarism, racism, malnutrition, psychiatric drugging, over-vaccination regimens, Big Pharma and other movements that threaten American health, democracy, civility and longevity. Many of his columns are archived at http://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn