Would-be terrorist Chiheb Esseghaier is clearly insane, but should that even matter in court?

The small interesting fact that emerged from the ongoing trial of Chiheb Esseghaier, convicted of terrorism in the Via train plot, subject of a psychiatric assessment and awaiting sentencing:

There are also plenty of mentally ill terrorists, says Paul Gill, a senior lecturer in security and crime science at the University College London. In a recent study, he found 40 per cent of lone-actor terrorists suffered from some kind of mental illness and 40 per cent of those were diagnosed schizophrenics.

“And just because they had histories of mental illness doesn’t make them irrational, spontaneous actors,” Gill said. “Many of them, they were just as likely to engage in really rational, thought-out planning as the guys without mental health problems were.”

Source: Would-be terrorist Chiheb Esseghaier is clearly insane, but should that even matter in court?

CSIS highlights white supremacist threat ahead of radical Islam

A reminder that the threats are broader than government messaging and labelling would suggest:

“Lone wolf” attacks more often come from white supremacists and extreme right-wing ideologies than from Islamic radicalism, internal CSIS documents say.

Citing recent academic research, the unclassified documents note extreme right-wing and white supremacist ideology has been the “main ideological source” for 17 per cent of so-called lone wolf attacks worldwide.

Islamic extremism accounted for 15 per cent of such attacks, the document noted, while left-wing extremism and “black power” groups followed with 13 per cent. Anti-abortion activism (8 per cent) and nationalism/separatism (7 per cent) rounded out the list, while in 40 per cent of cases there was no clear ideological motivation.

“Lone actors tend to create their own ideologies that combine personal frustrations and grievances, with wider political, social, or religious issues,” note the documents prepared for Michael Peirce, assistant director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

“This study confirms that lone actor terrorism runs the gamut of ideological persuasions.”

CSIS highlights white supremacist threat ahead of radical Islam | Toronto Star.

Barbara Kay: When it comes to Islam, the media needs to ditch the ‘narrative,’ and report the truth

What Kay misses, in her reductionist approach to ideology and extremism of all kinds, is what are the factors that push some to violence and what are the ones that increase resilience to these appeals.

With lone-wolf extremists, it is clear that mental illness and other issues can be one of the factors that push them over the edge. It does not mean that Islamist ideology is not involved; it is just that there can be other factors as well that make some individuals more susceptible.

And I would distinguish between these kinds of attacks and the more “sophisticated”and “professional” attacks that took place on Charlie Hebdo.

And of course, none of this reduces the horror over any attack, no matter the motives or factors:

We’re in the middle of a Hot War with Islamism. There will be more attempted, or realized, lone-wolf terrorist attacks on our shores. In the event, it would be helpful if the liberal media could ditch its love affair with narratives, and stick with the truth.

The right-wing media also should ‘ditch its love affair with narratives’ and recognize the complexity of the various factors involved.

Barbara Kay: When it comes to Islam, the media needs to ditch the ‘narrative,’ and report the truth | National Post.