Some thoughts/ideas about the dynamics of a so-called Lone Wolf terrorist. These individuals have created and implemented a plan of havoc that have led to a number of deaths within our homeland. So far the results have been deaths and many injuries including their own. Generally, these people are relatively young; reportedly Muslims; partially reared in the United States; may have visited the Middle East and then returned to our country with ideas of destruction and death to soft, non-militarized and non expecting targets. Often, the why question was asked; or, how could this have happened; while the neighbors interviewed seem to be at a loss to explain.
In the late 1800's and early 1900's, many Europeans migrated to the United States as a result of oppression, discrimination, desire for a better life, political freedom, and to improve their socioeconomic levels for their family. Some were likely motivated by hearing that “the streets were paved with gold”, which of course was incorrect. Back then, legal immigration to the United States was called the “melting pot.”
However, more lately with the worldwide popularity of US made movies and US television enabled the more recent immigrants to get another glimpse of residing in the present United States society. Andrew O’Hagan in his article, The Happiness Project in the July 19, 2015 edition of The New York Times wrote about his early view of our country. O’Hagan, an immigrant from Scotland, wrote about the image of the United States that he had as a young boy. He remembered seeing a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Disney movie, in Scotland, with his father in the 1970s. That left them both enthralled. For young Andrew, this was magic and formed for him in his mind ideas about work, play, domestic life, and love. This imprinting also shaped his idea and he concluded that happiness was a creation. Not only that, it was something that anyone could accomplish. It was definitely not about inheritance. Disney was able to portray on film and send the message that America was a happiness mall and available to everyone. And, that one has a golden opportunity of becoming or achieving anything under the moon and stars. It was a genius of an idea even though it was managed by corporations. For all practical purposes, these notions are translated into the opportunity for freedom for today’s new arrivals. Thank you, Walt Disney for your creation and message.
What seems clear is the fact about the Lone Wolf does not seem to be well connected and is not significantly taking part of the advantages in the US culture of today. These Lone Wolves have not totally integrated or blended into our society as did the Europeans of 100 plus years ago [yes, it didn’t happen overnight]. Despite attending school and/ or college, they are not an integral part of us, but remain segregated, separate and do not share the same values of Main Street USA.
This is not to say they are unaware of the multitude of American individuals taking advantage of all the significant benefits of living in our free and open society. They know about the advantages in the upper middle and lower upper class classifications; they watch the affluence on US television; they see movies of violence, sex, etc.; and they have become aware of the illusions, fantasy, goodness, playfulness, utopia and creative imagery that takes place in the magic of Disney Land and its film. If you’re not part of this American culture, American dream scenario, you might initially unconsciously admire what it is like living in our culture and society, but then more likely experience the development of a sense of envy and shame. Unfortunately, the unconscious or conscious feelings of envy, jealousy, shame and doubt lead to the overt expression of anger, willfulness, resentment, hate and violence. Note that the ability to love, have goodwill, identify with pride and have positive self-esteem are negatively affected. This individual is severely and emotionally disturbed. We’re not talking about a happy individual.
All of us are born and then develop our own ego ideal. This means that consciously or unconsciously, there’s a drive to improve and overcome our perceived limitations, faults, flaws or deficits through idolized persons or objects. This might mean a physical limitation or impairment, emotional-social problems, intellectual issues or personality flaws. The ego attempts to compensate, repair and fix its damaged self even though the mechanism for solution is unrealistic, totally out of the question, and impossible to obtain. In this case, the deficits are related and translated into personality dynamics of low self-esteem, powerlessness, insignificance and fears. These unconscious elements linger and may not even reach consciousness. However, the individual carries these heavy psychological burdens throughout. It’s not like a bag that you can set down and leave. It’s more like being in your hidden pocket all the time.
Developmentally, through irregular child rearing, difficult socioeconomic and political experiences an authoritarian like character evolved along with the ego ideal mechanism. As a result, personality Issues of envy, shame and doubt, coupled with lack of control, insufficient autonomy, sadism and masochism trends, feelings of inferiority with a mindset for violence, destruction and death lead to inhuman like patterns of behavior. This character style is definitely not about individuation, love of self, and love of mankind, unification or universal brotherhood. The individual with these character style strivings has to fuse and become dependent on something or someone projecting a great power since they are not trusting nor autonomous individuals. They are unable to stand on their own two feet and are easily duped ready to follow regardless of the cost to self. The people they kill our anonymous and are not seen as humans, but simply a nondescript enemy. As a result, these individuals are easily drawn and seek out various terrorist groups [Idolized object] that project a negative power, ability not only to terminate a life, but to perform and murder sadistically. The defenseless victim or victims are mutilated, blown up or shot. It’s not a fair fight, In fact, it is not a fight at all. This is not about courage, it’s about sadism at its worst. In fact, the holder of the saber; bomb or the automatic weapon is weak and fearful and has an inflated sense of power and control. His victims are generally unarmed and totally unsuspecting of the terror that awaits. The goal is to tear down, kill and destroy and to unconsciously/consciously commit suicide.
In the Islamic religion, one can become “happy” in the hereafter according to one’s interpretation of the Koran. As a result, if you’re are willing or driven with a mission to take up arms against someone in the United States, which has the largest, most powerful military in the world; along with an outstanding police force; along with all the government cameras; along with all the individuals that have cell phones in their possession, the end result is predictable – suicide and death to the Lone Wolf. A distortion of this belief, and that this terror results in finally achieving becoming “ happy” or a martyr, and be covered, front page, by our media with its resulting tremendous propaganda message. Being in the media, certainly gives one “fame-significance.”
In this interpretation of the Lone Wolf, the terrorist group becomes the idolized object which completes, complements and/or equalizes the ego deficits or inferiority-it leaves the individual with essentially a concealed or unconscious readiness to join and become part of this disease. In essence, we’re not talking about growth, evolution or of life. We are talking about finality, decay and death in which the Lone Wolf dies miserably alone. Sad! History over and over has shown duped humans repeating this sickness of hate behavior against other humans. Thank goodness the majority of humans are decent, have brotherhood values, a sense of ethics and do the right thing.