I'm shocked after seeing footage of the Boston Marathon explosions. How can terrorists act in such a callous way and injure people who are raising money for charity? Do you think they really believe they have a point or are they just evil?
I think what we can't
avoid is that people can act
in such a callous way, given the right psychological profile,
personal history, circumstances and manipulation. I suspect that very
few people would be immune to the right combination of these, and
that most of those that actually do commit an act of terrorism, would
under different circumstances not dream of such an act. So it is
probably unhelpful to focus on the individuals involved, as if being
a 'terrorist' somehow made them alien, and try to understand the
circumstances instead. We should certainly have enough evidence to
study by now!
such a huge and diverse population in the world, and so many
political, economic and religious grievances, it is unlikely that
terrorism will ever be completely preventable. The vanishingly low
level of incidents or casualties in politically stable countries,
either home-grown or foreign, does suggest however that it can
eventually be brought down to statistically insignificant levels (as
they are in the USA). I am sure this doesn't give much comfort to the
far greater number of victims of weekly terrorism living in Iraq,
Afghanistan and Pakistan though...
acts like those in Boston are horrific, and attract overwhelming
attention in the West as a result, we shouldn't lose our sense of proportion –
after all we don't try and eliminate the driving of cars which kills
far more people! This doesn't mean of course that we shouldn't do
everything reasonably possible to prevent these acts from a security
point of view – that would just increase the number or attacks and
casualties, and be politically unsustainable. However, overreaction
demonstrably increases attacks rather than reducing them.
to the people that committed the atrocity in Boston, we have to
assume that they feel they have a point, and that they have been
deceived, (or they have deluded themselves), into believing that they will make a
difference - this is where the power of religious or ideological
'faith' is so dangerous.
I personally don't believe that any person
can be described as 'evil', although some are so psychologically
warped or morally adrift, that to all intents and purposes they
appear to us to be. The acts are evil for sure.