Morality, Murder, and Terrorism

Murder, She Wrote, continued

Murder and Terrorism

Many years ago, there was a movie in which the proscuting attorey proved that the accused had committed a particular murder. Then, because he judged to the defence attorney to be incompetent, he set out to prove that the accused was innocent. Now, having built a case for murder and terrorism being the province of children of a lower developmental level, morally and epistemologically, I want to suggest that that is not always (and perhaps not even usually) the case.

There is a lot of research that demonstrates that the brain is not fully developed until adulthood. However, it is also true that teenagers are often more idealistic than adults, most of whom are both more experienced and more cynical/jaded when it comes to taking responsibility for the problems of society and/or the world. Young people want to fix the problems that they see, and are often willing to channel their energy and enthusiasm and adolescent angst into whatever projects they can be steered towards. Adolescents are ripe to fall victim to extremist recuiters who stir up their righteous indignation and offer them a way to do something about it, regardless of their moral development level. We see this all of the time when countries are at war – military recruiters are happy to accept rebellious adolescents. Maturity, or even a “law and order” mentality is not a major selling point when it comes to looking for cannon fodder.

I have just finished watching Les Miserables, in my opinion one of the most powerful movies ever made. Marius and his friends espoused the cause of freedom, believing that “the people” only needed their leadership and example to rise up against their oppressors. That didn’t happen, and they died for their rebellion. Were they wrong to rebel? You will have to decide that for yourself. But, whatever you decide, do consider the parallel between them and our present day home grown would-be terrorists.

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