This article explores the motivations of ideological killers by investigating their justifications for violence. These justifications are divided into three categories: those that are grounded in actual social/political realities that are present in the lives of the perpetrators; those that utilize geographically and/or temporally distant vicarious victimizations; and those that are fictional, i.e., they have no basis in reality. These concepts are illustrated through discussions of a range of perpetrators of ideological violence. The implications of vicarious and fictional motivations are discussed in terms of our understanding of the psychology of perpetrators, the process of radicalization, and counterterrorism efforts.
Irrational Rationales: Vicarious and Fictional Justifications Among Ideological Killers (version 1.0) [14 pp]