Ides of March Terrorist Fits Emerging Profile of the Terrorist

On March 15, 2019, the world suffered another horrifying act of terror as Australian national Brenton Tarrant opened fire with an automatic rifle on unarmed worshippers in two Christchurch, New Zealand mosques, killing at least 49.  Tarrant not only filmed the massacre, he posted a 74-page terrorist manifesto as a road map for understanding his ideation and background. 

In our Profiles in Terrorism studies, we have distilled a profile of the character traits shared in common by terrorists and assassins spanning the entire spectrum of “causes,” cultural backgrounds, and religious beliefs.  Tarrant matches that emerging profile in a large number of aspects.  Some of them include —

Lack of formal education.  We have noted that terrorists and assassins overwhelmingly tend to be auto-didacts, extensively self-taught while lacking in any significant achievement in a formal school setting.  Tarrant fits this key trait, 100%.  In his manifesto, Tarrant tells us: 

I had little interest in education during my schooling, barely achieving a passing grade.  I did not attend University as I had no great interest in anything offered in the Universities to study.

Absence of childhood oppression or trauma.  Although Tarrant claims to be from a “working class” family (a claim yet to be thoroughly investigated), his manifesto states that he had “a regular childhood, without any great issues.”  This is very typical of terrorists.  They are not “victims” of poverty or oppression.  Rather, they adopt passionately the perceived cause of others.  Tarrant states in his manifesto that his massacre is “taking revenge” for Ebba Akerlund, an 11-year old Swedish girl whom Tarrant never knew or met, who was killed in a Stockholm truck attack on April 7, 2017.

Extensive travel.  We have noted that terrorists, prior to adopting their suicidal course of action in support of an adopted cause, often travel internationally.  Tarrant states in the manifesto that his terrorist ideation originated in a period of April and May of 2017 when he was travelling as a tourist in Western Europe at the time, France, Spain, Portugal and other unspecified countries.  Of his travels, Tarrant writes: 

I was treated wonderfully, often as a guest and even as a friend. The varied cultures of the world greeted me with warmth and compassion, and I very much enjoyed nearly every moment I spent with them.

Exaggeration of numbers.  In Sofia Perovskaya, Terrorist Princess, we examined the “manual” of Sergei Nechaev, co-author of the chilling terrorist creed, Catechism of a Revolutionary.  Nechaev urged the exaggeration of the numbers of terrorist group members by a factor of at least one thousand.  Tarrant’s manifesto displays this tenet.  He writes of his “groups,”

The total number of people in these organizations is in the millions, the total number of groups in the thousands. People from every walk of life, in every place of employment and field but disproportionately employed in military services and law enforcement. Unsurprisingly ethno-nationalists and nationalists seek employment in areas that serve their nations and community. I would estimate the number of soldiers in European armed forces that also belong to nationalist groups to number in the hundreds of thousands, with just as many employed in law enforcement positions.

Uncritical faith in their own ideas.  Terrorists have a loose grip on reality with a strong tendency to dissociation.  Part of this leads them to be convinced that their own ideas and methods, no matter how much they are reviled by civilized people worldwide, will eventually win the enduring approbation of history.  Tarrant demonstrates this fully when he writes that he expects to be released from prison in 27 years: 

I do not just expected to be released, but I also expect an eventual Nobel Peace prize.

Hostility to a political process.  We have noted that terrorists generally loathe forms of governance or conflict resolution which involve democratic and pluralistic political processes.  Tarrant writes in his manifesto that he was influenced in his thinking by the 2017 French general election:

The candidates were an obvious sign of our times: a globalist, capitalist, egalitarian, an ex-investment banker was no national beliefs other than the pursuit of profit versus a milquetoast, feckless, civic nationalist, an uncontroversial figure who’s most brave and inspired idea resolved to the possible deportation of illegal immigrants.  Despite this ridiculous match up, the possibility of a victory by the quasi-nationalist was at least, to myself, a sign that maybe a political solution was still possible.The internationalist, globalist, anti-white, ex-banker won. It wasn’t even close. The truth of the political situation in Europe was suddenly impossible to accept. My despair set in. My belief in a democratic solution vanished.

The ultiimate terrorist paradox.  Tarrant was a native of Grafton, New South Wales, Australia.  According to an item published in, his attack sent the town of Grafton into a state of shock, trying to come to terms with how what they described as a “polite, well-mannered young man” could perpetrate such a monstrous act.  Reportedly, he was a student at the local high school and went on to work at a gym, where his former boss said he regularly volunteered his time to train kids for free.  Thus emerges the ultimate and enduring paradox of the terrorist.  Those who know them in their lives apart from violence generally speak well of them.  Never do they suspect the fury that lies within.

To learn more on our emerging theory of the terrorist persona, see

Youtube Suicide Shooter Was an Animal Rights Protester

Another act of terror burst upon us April 3, 2018 thanks to Nasim Aghdam.  Before killing herself, she invaded the Youtube campus in San Bruno, California and shot three people at random.  It turns out, she had received previous publicity with her fervor for the cause of animals.  As reported in the New York Times, Ms. Aghdam dedicated several of her videos, which she posted under a fictitious name, Nasime Sabz, to promoting animal rights, vegan diets and healthy living.  In one video, she sat in front of a screen with a rabbit, as she tried to explain in Persian the differences between vegetarianism and veganism.  Another Nasime Sabz Youtube video was a protest against killing sharks.  Her website, which said it was quoting Western news outlets, identified her as “the first Persian female vegan bodybuilder.”

Are we surprised at the apparent paradox that such a woman who was concerned with protecting animals should be eager to maim and kill human beings?  According to our studies for Profiles in Terrorism, affinity with animals is a profile trait of the terrorist.  John Brown, for example, had no compunctions against kidnapping, slitting throats and hacking to death unarmed civilians.  However, when it came to animals, he was renowned for his tenderness.  One of his careers prior to Bloody Kansas was as a shepherd.  Brown lived in an empathic relationship with his flock.  Whenever one was found near dead from a night’s cold, he would revive it by dipping in a warm bath.  Then he would carefully dry the creature with a towel.  Every aspect of sheep behavior intrigued him.  He delighted to tell of the acuteness of their hearing, of how in a flock of a thousand making a terrible din with their bleating, the youngest ewe could pick out the voice of its mother and run unerringly to her.  He maintained that sheep had as much individuality as people, and that in a flock of hundreds he could recognize a particular individual as easily as recognizing a friend in a crowd.

John Wilkes Booth, who led the terrorist conspiracy against Lincoln, Stanton, and other U.S. Government leaders, was also empathic with animals.  His sister wrote:  “He was very tender of flowers, and of insects and butterflies.  Lightning bugs he considered as ‘bearers of sacred torches,’ and would go out of his way to avoid injuring them.”  He once managed to catch a “katy-did” after nights of patient waiting and searching.  His sister was eager to make it a specimen for her collection.  “No you don’t, you bloodthirsty female,” Johnny exclaimed.  “Katy shall be free and sing tonight out in the sycamores.”  Johnny Booth could not bear to slaughter any of the livestock on the farm.  He was also unwilling to hunt or trap any of the wild animals and birds that frequented the Booth farm, looking upon them as “silent members of the family.”

While on the subject of terrorists who are animal lovers . . . it should be remembered that Adolf Hitler was a self-professed vegetarian.  Hitler in fact used vivid and gruesome descriptions of animal suffering and slaughter at the dinner table to try to dissuade his colleagues from eating meat.

Las Vegas Shooter Had Father Who Was Psychopath

In our Profiles in Terrorism series, we have noted that a profile trait shared by terrorists is that they tend to be influenced in the direction of a parent.  Stephen Paddock, the recent Las Vegas shooter responsible for killing at least 59 persons and injuring hundreds more before he committed suicide, turns out to be the son of a psychopath who was imprisoned for bank robbery committed in Arizona in 1959 and 1960.  Benjamin Hoskins Paddock escaped from federal prison in 1968 and was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.  The FBI’s Most Wanted poster described him as a “psychopath” with “suicidal tendencies.”  Then, under a separate name and identity he created, Benjamin Paddock became a bingo impressario in Springfield, Oregon.  However, in his new life, he once again committed serious crime.  He embezzled money and was caught and prosecuted for racketeering.

Stephen Paddock is not a paradigm terrorist, as he had no known political agenda.  However, in Profiles in Terrorism, we have noted that terrorists and “mall shooters” have a great deal in common with each other.  Being influenced in the direction of a parent, in the case of Stephen Paddock, is apparently an element of background that he shared with terrorists.



Barcelona Terrorist Killer Acted “Drunk”

We have noted in Profiles in Terrorism that after pulling off his or her signature terrorist act, if the terrorist isn’t killed or captured, then afterwards he or she appears to be disoriented, confused and aimless.  This seems to be true of recent terrorist Younes Abu Yacoub.  Twenty two year old Abu Yacoub was the killer who mowed down and killed14 innocent unarmed people on the Ramblas in Barcelona.  He later stabbed to death another unarmed motorist when hijacking his vehicle.  Abu Yacoub Read more

Ariana Grande concert suicide bomber was well traveled; father was Libya militant

We now know the family name was actually Al-Obeidi, not Abedi.  Salman had military experience.  His father Ramadan Al-Obeidi, a former master sergeant in the Libyan army, was unquestionably a huge influence on him.  But there is no evidence at this time that the father intended his son for martyrdom.

Tutte le ombre dell’attentato di Manchester: la vita jihadista di papà Abedi sotto gli occhi degli 007 inglesi

More important information is accumulating on Salman Abedi.  In particular, the importance of his international travel, and the importance of the influence of his father, continue to be apparent.  He is described as being capable of being respectful.  Additionally, he has a strong element of being self-taught.

How Manchester bomber Salman Abedi was radicalised by his links to Libya

Details are emerging about Salman Abedi, the Manchester suicide bomber.  Salman was British born and raised.  He was the son of a militant who had returned to Libya to fight to overthrow Muammar

Ghaddafi.  And, he had traveled frequently outside Britain, including to the Middle East and as recently as last month, to Libya.

These are the key traits of the terrorist profile that we see in Salman Abedi, based on media reports to date.