When fighting terrorism, understanding the psychological nature of terrorists is a necessity. Due to terrorism’s heterogeneous nature, it would be more effective to create a psychological profile by identifying different worldviews along with the vulnerabilities and propensities associated with them (Borum, 2014). Based on Borum’s (2014) theory, several initiatives could be made toward the prevention and investigation of possible extremists. Mainly, one could use the knowledge of worldviews and propensities to investigate the possible rising of extremist groups while understanding individual vulnerabilities to create programs that help individuals who may want to extricate themselves from extremist groups.
Ideally, prevention would be the best way to protect the community against terrorist attacks or extremist behavior. To do so, programs would need to be created on the community level that targets extremists who are ready to disengage from their organization. The difficult part would be attracting these individuals. Therefore, programs should aim to help fill the void that many extremists sought when joining an extremist organization. For example, Borum (2014) identified that many vulnerabilities associated with extremist worldviews were the need for meaning, belonging, and perceived justice. Programs should aim at healing individuals by including them into positive groups and activities rather than alienating them.
In addition to prevention, efforts should be made to investigate the presence of any extremist groups. The best way to do this is to become familiar with the different types of worldviews and the ideologies they hold. Groups that display authoritarian, apocalyptic, dogmatic, or fundamentalist views should be flags for further investigation (Borum, 2014). Typically, these worldviews can be associated with attributional propensities that may identify the likelihood of violent attacks on the community.
Borum’s worldview model for identifying possible extremist behavior can help with both preventive and investigative measures. Understanding the worldviews identified by Borum can assist with identifying possible extremist organizations in the community while knowledge of individual vulnerabilities can be used to deradicalize extremist who are ready to leave their organizations.
- Borum, R. (20 March 2014). Psychological Vulnerabilities and Propensities for Involvement in Violent Extremism. Behavioral Science & Law, 32, 286-305. doi:10.1002/bsl.2110.