What’s the story with the San Diego man killed last weekend in Syria while fighting with, not against the radical terrorist group ISIS? What the hell was he doing? Family and friends say he was a quiet man who gave no indication of being an extremist, nor did he appear to be overly committed to the Islamic religion he converted to ten years ago. They say Douglas MacArthur McCain who is the first known American to be killed fighting for ISIS was just a regular, fun guy who enjoyed rapping and loved basketball. They were shocked by his actions. Apparently there was much more to this man than anyone realized. Seems he had some deep seated need and was looking for some greater meaning in his life, but fighting for ISIS? Really?
Not to make light of the situation, but when I first began hearing about ISIS my first thoughts were of James Bond from the Sean Connery Era. ISIS sounded like one of those mega terrorist organizations that Bond used to be pitted against like SPECTRE or SMERSH. but the more I learned about them the more I realized how dangerous and volatile they are. And to learn that Americans are fighting on their side is mind boggling.
Americans fighting for ISIS! Unbelievable! Our government would have us believe that there aren’t many Americans in Syria fighting for ISIS and place their number at six to perhaps a dozen individuals. But that’s a very optimistic figure. Other sources say Americans fighting for ISIS number in the low hundreds and that there are also large numbers of Western Europeans and Brits fighting with ISIS. I don’t understand it. What makes these people join the ranks of a blood thirsty band of terrorists Can these western converts all be seeking some greater sense of purpose and if so, why can’t they find life meaning elsewhere?
Some psychologist suggest that these converts are individuals who have always viewed themselves as being on the fringe of society and lack a sense of identity or belonging, but I’m not sure I buy this whole need fulfillment idea. I don’t think they’re in Syria searching for purpose or even defending Islam. There may be a few, but I believe the majority of these westerners particularly the Americans are there because they want to be warriors and ISIS allows them to be just that.
You have to remember these converts grew up in the video/ computer game era. They spent countless hours in their teens and 20’s playing violent, blood and guts spilling war games such as Wolfenstein which came out in the 80’s, Soldier of Fortune, Contra, Call of Duty and a host of other killing, blood soaked games such as Mortal Kombat, Grand Theft Auto, Thrill Kill, Man Hunt and of course Dungeons and Dragons. In each game you kill for sport and earn points doing it. I truly believe that these games that glamourize and glorify are dangerous and over-exposure to these games is not a good thing. A steady diet of blood and violence has a negative effect on the mind, and can give you that warrior mentality, especially when you start playing these games at a very young age. And you know of course that there are parents out there who don’t monitor what their kids are playing and that’s a big mistake.
Yes I believe that many of these western converts fighting over in Syria have the warrior complex. Sure they could join the armed services here, but that wouldn’t give them enough opportunity to kill at will. As part of ISIS they are free to do just that! ISIS troops roam the countryside attacking villages at will, carrying out what has been described as “savage massacres,” killing civilians, police and soldiers who have thrown down their arms in surrender. They have also carried out summary executions including that of American journalist James Foley who was beheaded by them last week. They will stop at nothing and the United States is on their hit list.
I’m reminded of a cousin of mine who in his senior year of high school got his mother to sign for him so that he could join the army at 17 1/2. Why because he wanted to go over and kill Viet Cong, as many as he could. Of course Viet Nam was war and there was much killing and other atrocities occurring there that we didn’t hear about until later. He wanted to go over and do his part. He joined and trained for the 101st Airborne. his dream of killing gooks looked certain. Unfortunately a marijuana possession charge just before shipping out cost him that chance. As a result he never left the states. His chance at being a warrior left unrealized.
Don’t the actions of ISIS in the mid east sound like the premise of a video game? But this is no game. This, sadly, is reality. ISIS is nothing more than an organized group of savages. Their greatest strength is not in their military might, but in the years they’ve devoted to planning and a sophisticated tactical and strategic command. The growing fear is that these western convert fighters will take what they learn from ISIS and return home to the U.S. Britain or Western Europe and potentially conduct terror attacks. It’s a very real threat. No one including the government knows with any certainty who these converts are. They all have citizenship and legitimate passports to travel around the globe. So could it happen here? As Sarah Palin would say “You Betcha!”