Could suicide terrorists actually be suicidal?

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For years, it has been widely agreed on that suicide terrorists are not suicidal individuals, and that behaviorally, they are more similar to noble soldiers who are willing to sacrifice themselves for a cause. However, upon closer examination, it appears that the foundation of this conventional wisdom is extraordinarily shaky. There are many reasons to think that both event-based and psychological risk factors for suicide may drive the behavior of suicide terrorists. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that more than 75 individual suicide terrorists have exhibited these classic suicidal traits. Given the power that the stigma of suicide may have to deter future suicide terrorists, it is critical that governments, scholars, and practitioners examine this issue once again.

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  • Adam Lankford

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