Criminal Deterrence Theory

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Terrorism is a gigantic problem in our world today. The truth is, as big of a problem as it’s become; it is still one of the least understood topics in law enforcement. The research in this area is very controversial, and is widely disagreed upon by scholars, so I thought I’d take this time to apply some modern criminal deterrence theories to terrorism. One of the major problems with terrorism is that it’s not easily observed. The American Psychological Association states, “terrorists aren't likely to volunteer as experimental subjects, and examining their activities from afar can lead to erroneous conclusions. What's more, one group's terrorist is another group's freedom fighter, as the millions of Arabs who support Palestinian suicide bombers …show more content…
(De la corte, 2007). As you may have guessed, these are both very common in terrorist organizations. However, there are still many criminal justice theories that contribute greatly to explaining terrorism. Lets start out with rational choice theory. Rational choice theory states, “People generally act in their self-interest and make decisions to commit crime after weighing the potential risks against the rewards.” (Barkan, 2015). The majority of these people are insane or mentally ill, but delusional and easily persuaded. They know what they are doing and in most cases, carefully think and plan through each component of a crime before they commit it. This planning and preparation lets them weigh the costs vs. the benefits, and when they believe this is what God is calling them to do, there is no possible way the costs could outweigh the benefits. That’s why we see some pretty ridiculous and illogical terrorist plots. They don’t care if they get caught or killed because they believe they are doing it for a higher power. Next lets see how the social learning theories apply. Social Learning theory states, “People develop motivation to commit crime and the skills to commit crime through the people they associate with.” (Barkan, …show more content…
They learned the ways of Jihad from people they trusted, so most of them didn’t second guess their loved one’s decisions. Another very popular theory in relation to terrorism in the conflict theory. In my opinion, this is the fuel to the fire of modern day Islamic terrorism (at least according to the terrorists). Conflict theory is explained as, “society being based on conflict between competing interest groups. Crime results from these conflicts in society, and laws actually arise from the necessity as a result of conflict, rather than a general consensus.” (Barkan, 2015). If you’re not aware, one of the foundations for the hatred involved in Islamic terrorism stems from the Muslim Sunni vs. Shiite conflict. The Shia majority dominated many Middle Eastern countries including Iraq and Afghanistan for centuries. Some of the Sunnis were afraid that the Shiites were going to continue growing as the majority until they could completely wipe out the Sunni’s way of life (and religion). This is when we started to see the rise of militant groups, and the mass murders of the Shiite

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