Psychology Professor Clark McCauley, co-director of the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict, wrote a blog for the Psychology Today website in response to the recent shooting at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington D.C..
McCauley examines whether the perpetrator of the Navy Yard attack, Aaron Alexis, fits the profile of lone-actor grievance-based violence. He writes:
To the extent that assassins and school attackers share common characteristics, these characteristics may be risk factors for lone-actor terrorism as well. The obvious demographic differences between the two groups (teenage school attackers vs. adult assassins) are actually a strength of the comparison: any commonalities uncovered are the more striking and unlikely to be a reflection of life status or demographic factors.
McCauley’s latest book is Friction: How Radicalization Happens to Them and Us. He is also the author of Why Not Kill Them All? The Logic of Mass Political Murder and Finding Ways of Avoiding It and founding editor of the journal Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict.