This Politico piece is an example of wishful thinking, agenda-driven failure to acknowledge the big picture or both in its attempt to explain away the jihadist angle in the Boston bombing.
“We found a number of people who wanted to do bad things but didn’t want to see themselves as criminals,” a psychologist who works with federal law enforcement agencies told me. “They are murderers in search of a cause. They tell themselves, ‘I want to change the world.’ Some we give the romantic term ‘terrorist.’ They are people who want to do something bad, so they say it was for Al Qaeda or a jihad.”
The above point may be valid but is missing perspective. Of course sociopaths, murderers and other thugs are over-represented among revolutionaries and political terrorists, including Islamists. What kinds of people does the article’s author think are most attracted to these roles? It has always been this way. The article also fails to consider the possibility, or probability, that whatever other crimes they would have committed the Chechen brothers would not have engaged in mass murder by bomb.
More beating around the bush:
“What encourages people to come forward, and what blocks them?” Fein asked. “I am talking about co-workers or family members. How might people who have concerns be encouraged to come forward?”
I will be writing more about domestic terrorism and threat assessment in the days ahead. But the question of “ratting” on someone is a big, human and therefore messy problem.
A threat assessment expert who has worked with high government agencies put it this way: “As parents, we are in denial all the time about our kids’ impulses. Who wants to think your kid is a murderer? Parents are paralyzed with either worry and fear, or they are in denial.”
These are reasonable points but again there is a lack of perspective. The Boston bombers’ parents do not seem to have been in denial and the mother at least may actually have been an accomplice. What does look like denial is the Politico article’s failure to address the possibility that our government’s own politically correct mandates create incentives for officials to ignore warnings about jihad-driven individuals. That is what appears to have happened in this case, the Nidal Hassan case, the underwear bomber case and others.