How Do People Become Radicalized…?

Dear Editor,

How do people become radicalized?

1. They are seeking an identity or peer group.

2. Many are loners.

3. They are looking for something that gives their life purpose.

4. They feel a need to be noticed.

5. They feel rejected by the culture around them.

6. They feel disenfranchised (feel deprived of power, right and privilege.

7. In order to cope with rejection they become angry and full of rage at the direction those around them have chosen.

8. They may have been traumatized.

9. They may feel ostracized.

10. They have a void to fill.

11. Radicalization happens when they meet with a radical leader who makes them feel included and valued.

12. Most are fascinated with the idea of becoming part of a “small brotherhood of superheroes who avenge their brothers/or communities.

13. They are motivated by the promise of capturing headlines.

14. They feel marginalized because their perception is that people treat them as insignificant or belittle their beliefs.

15. They consider others traitors or weak who do not think as they do.

16. They seek out likeminded people and withdraw from society.

17. They gather a community of people who share their views.

18. They feel others see them as insignificant.

All of these reasons can be applied to many different forms and factions and many different causes. Whether I am speaking of ISIS, the Redoubt Movement, alt-right groups, the Constitutionalists or the KKK, these groups exist because there are people in every walk of life who feel their lives, lifestyles, and things they hold near and dear to their heart are being threatened. It just takes a few loud and persuasive people to get out in front of them and yell, “The sky is falling!  Can’t you see it? Join us before it is too late.” And voila, you have a movement.

The interesting thing for me is that radicalization can be applied to almost any group. Whether you consider them good or bad is not relevant to this article. They all start in a very similar way, so let’s speak loudly of peace, kindness, charity, and tolerance. Let’s accept others religious differences and value and notice everyone. Maybe we can radicalize enough people to start our own movement. May there be peace on earth and let it begin with all of us.

Marlene Petersen
Sandpoint

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