Rampage Shooters and Suicide Bombers
WHAT do Mir Aimal Kansi, Ali Abu Kamal, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet and Nidal Malik Hasan have in common with Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Seung-Hui Cho and Adam Lanza? The first four claimed to be fighting the American government’s unholy oppression of Muslims; they struck the C.I.A. headquarters, the Empire State Building, Los Angeles International Airport and the Army base at Fort Hood, Tex., respectively. The last four seemed to be driven by personal motives; they shot up a high school, a university and an elementary school.
For years, the conventional wisdom has been that suicide terrorists are rational political actors, while suicidal rampage shooters are mentally disturbed loners. But the two groups have far more in common than has been recognized.