Forensic Psychologist Labels Bombers “Self-Radicalizing Jihadists”
PLANTATION (CBS4) – A nationally-known forensic psychologist says the two brothers suspected of planting bombs at the Boston Marathon fit a pattern of international terrorists but he is not sure if they were part of a larger group.
Forensic psychologist Harley Stock told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench he was not surprised that the two suspects, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev and 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, were brothers.
“When we see things overseas with terrorist attacks, family members are often involved,” said Stock.
Stock advises Fortune 500 companies with high-risk assessment and crisis management and the walls of his office at the Incident Management Group in Plantation are filled with certificates of appreciation from agencies he consults with, including the Secret Service and the F.B.I.
Stock has studied the events in Boston after police in Boston say the brothers robbed a 7-Eleven store, shot and killed a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, carjacked an SUV and hurled explosives out the vehicle during a firefight with police as they tried to escape.
“These individuals are self radicalizing jihadists,” said Stock. “Self radicalizing means they look for an ideology they can attach to and identify with. Then they submit themselves to a path of lethal aggression.”
“The real thing that supports this is perceived injustice; that they think everything is unfair, in this case blaming America for something unfair. I don’t know what and in order to make that statement, they kill.”
“One of them after they hijacked a vehicle, they told the guys that we did it so they wanted to take credit for it,” said Stock.
Stock said he was not sure if the brothers were part of a larger group.
“The pro is that they used devices that are routinely used in Afghanistan and other areas,” he said. “The con though is that no group has come out and claimed credit for it. And this was not a well-executed plan because all they had to do was go get in a car and get on an airplane so they could escape.”
Stock said it would not have been difficult for the suspects to make the bombs that were used.
“The materials needed are readily available online,” he said. “This was not a very sophisticated type of bomb.”
“The question now is why did they get so radicalized and why did they pick the Boston Marathon?” Stock asked.
“The F.B.I. does do an excellent job of stopping attacks within our borders including attacks that the public never hears about,” Stock said.
“One interesting thing is that one of the brothers posted something on Facebook about radicalizing but it is almost impossible to read everything that is posted but maybe there is a better way to collect data.”
“One thing that we need to realize is that both workplace violence and acts of terrorism are way down,” he said. “Workplace violence has decreased 51 per cent. And in terms of the most violent era in the U.S., it was the 1970s and the 1980s.”
“With the 1990s and that includes what happened at the World Trade Center, there were 9 episodes in which 6 people were killed,” he said.
“We see it as an epidemic and it’s not,” he said. “We have to appreciate that. The goal of terrorism is to destabilize the population and to scare people in to not trusting the federal government. These two brothers have wreaked havoc. That is rare and not usually successful.”
“One lesson we have learned is that we have seen how the F.B.I. has been so transparent where in fact they have drawn the public into this case early on to share resources and it’s turned out to be an amazing productive opportunity. We will probably see law enforcement to more of that in the future.”