Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

The Troubled Young Terrorist Next Door

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

The Troubled Young Terrorist Next Door

Article excerpt

The details about Mohammad Abdulazeez, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga grad accused of murdering four Marines and a sailor, dripped out in the familiar pattern. The first thing to come out of the shocking news is the name of the alleged attacker. Then there is speculation about what sick ideology may have inspired the horrendous act. And there are pictures of the comfy suburban nest the killer came from alongside interviews with baffled neighbors. Finally comes the inside story bearing the inevitable headline, "Family Troubles Before Killings in Chattanooga. Abdulazeez's mother had tried to divorce the father in 2009, accusing him of abusing her and the children and planning to take a second wife, which he held would have been allowable under Islamic law. The parents reconciled, but that's a lot of craziness.

As for Mohammad, he was facing a court date for drunken driving and illegal drug use and had been fired from a job at a nuclear plant. A family spokesman said the 24-year-old had been fighting depression, pointing to mental illness as a possible cause.

It takes an extremely twisted personality - twisted for whatever combination of reasons - to shoot unarmed strangers, which the Marines and sailor were. So the terrorist needs a larger cause to hide behind.

It appears that Abdulazeez chose radical Islam as a cover for his personal disintegration - though investigators do not yet know whether organized Mideast terrorist groups got to him during a visit to Jordan.

Look at the back stories of other young men who committed or are accused of committing acts of terrorism in this country. The similarities are hard to ignore.

Consider Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old charged with massacring worshippers at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. His parents had gone through multiple divorces, and he had reportedly attended at least seven schools. …

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