MENTALLY ILL TERRORISTS: BREIF THOUGHTS ON THE LABELING OF VIOLENT OFFENDERS
I've got a fairly disorganized (read poorly and hastily written) and thoroughly opinionated post here regarding the labeling of violent offenders as either "mentally ill" or terrorists/criminals. Feel free to read it. My apologies for its lack of coherence at times. My brain doesn't always work in a linear fashion.
I want to talk about the most recent violent attack in London. Specifically the violence that took place at/near the Finsbury Park Mosque regarding Darren Osborne who drove a van into a crowd of individuals after they left worship. I'm not looking to start an argument here. I guess I'm just trying to look for broader thought...
Living in America has shown me a population that vehemently divides their opinion of violent offenders between the mentally infirm and terrorists/criminals. Can there not be a crossover between those two labels? Is it not possible for something as deeply engrained into a person's identity as their political or religious beliefs to be in conflict with a society's status quo? R.D. Lang's book, The Divided Self discusses how it is possible for a perfectly healthy, reasonable person to suffer hardships and complications to such an extent that they experience a mental fracture, so to speak. In America it seems as though politics are treated almost as seriously as religion. The old adage of not talking about religion or politics during a family gathering largely holds true.
The history of mental illness as laid out by Michel Foucault in his book Madness and Civilization seem to indicate that anyone whose ideologies stray too far from the standard quo of the majority of the population are deemed mentally infirm. But what is the status quo? If it is largely based on reason then can't religion be somewhat counter to that? And what about long term conditioning (or what some call "brain washing")? Conditioning can be self-administered internally by an individual or imposed upon someone by an outside party (individual or institution (e.g. governing body, culture, religious organization, etc...)). So doesn't it stand to reason that someone who feels so greatly identified by their affiliation to an institution such as religion, or politics could be conditioned to the extent that they feel they need to act out in radical fashion?
If we look at society as though it is a living body we see that it functions reasonably well when able to maintain functioning within the acceptable (relatively fluid) limits of the status quo. However, when a free radical is present due to toxic influences such as (radicalized) religion (Christianity included) or political ideologies that malignant body is then deemed to be either a terrorist or mentally infirm, as though those are the causes, the reason for their action. The causality doesn't end there, though. A person's religion does not inherently set them out on an inevitably fated course of action, just like a person's political ideals do not do the same. It is not until some conflict either acutely onset or compounded over a long period of time do they decide to act out violently. So why then is it an either/or situation? Why can't a person's religious or political ideals be in such contrast to the status quo that he be deemed a mentally ill person who is also wished to achieve a goal through means of terror?
I suppose the greater question is why are we satisfied with the word terrorist or the phrase mentally ill as somehow being the end of the discussion? Why don't we look to see what caused this radical behavior? I don't believe that a chromosomal disorder (or something of the like) is a sufficient end result into our own personal investigations as to why someone would act out in such a radical way.
It has since been reported that Darren Osborne suffered an inability to maintain meaningful relationships, had difficulty maintaining employment, and deeply identified himself with political ideologies. He was in a perfect position for a mental schism, but he still knowingly carried out a targeted (and seemingly well pre-meditated) act of violence that seemingly aligned with his strong political ideals. If he is to be considered mentally ill, he is a mentally ill terrorist. If he is to be considered a terrorist, he is a mentally ill terrorist. It does not need to be either/or. Why aren't we more interested in the "why?" Why was he like this?
Not completely sure what I'm trying to say.
#terrorism #crime #religion #politics #London #londonattacks #terrorinlondon #religiousextremism @religionexposed @ellowrites