US military veterans are most prone to terrorism – study

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According to a new US study, military veterans are the persons most likely to carry out terrorist attacks, as well as the culprits with the best possibilities of causing mass casualties.

According to a survey released this week by terrorism experts at the University of Maryland, former soldiers are 2.41 times more likely than other extremist offenders to become mass casualty attacks. People with a criminal record previous to becoming radicalised were only 1.26 times more likely than the general population to commit extremist assaults.

“Having a US military background is the single-strongest individual-level predictor of whether a subject… is classified as a mass casualty offender,” according to a study conducted by Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). According to the group, veterans are considerably more likely to commit violent extremism than potential offenders with more often publicised characteristics, such as a history of mental illness or being a “lone wolf.”

The analysis used data from thousands of extremist crimes and plans committed in the United States between 1990 and 2022. During that time, 170 persons with military backgrounds conducted or tried 144 mass casualty attacks in the United States, according to the researchers.

Although law enforcement prevented nearly three out of every four terrorist plots before anybody was hurt, the study found that veterans had a considerably better chance of success. Perpetrators with a military background succeeded in killing four or more persons in 9% of cases, compared to 5.2% for other types of offenders.

California Democrat US Representative Mark Takano alleged earlier this year that the amount of extremist offences perpetrated by former service veterans had doubled since 2010. According to a report released in October by the House Veterans Affairs Committee, violent extremists with a history of military service in the United States killed 314 people and injured over 2,000 in the previous 30 years. “Now, these are facts that we simply cannot ignore,” Takano stated.

START researchers discovered that while US military and ex service members are not more likely than the general population to become radicalised, once they are, they are more likely to design mass casualty attacks, “thus having an outsized impact on public safety.” More than 70% of offenders with military backgrounds were linked to far-right extremism, according to the report.

President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders have portrayed right-wing extremism as the nation’s most serious terrorist danger, in part by portraying the January 2021 US Capitol riot as a racially motivated “insurgency.” Among the more than 1,000 people accused with crimes related to the Capitol breach were many current and former US military.

Stewart Rhodes, the head of the Oath Keepers veterans group, was sentenced to 18 years in jail last month after being convicted of seditious conspiracy for his role in the incident. He has referred to himself as a “political prisoner,” vowing to become a “American Solzhenitsyn in order to expose the criminality of this regime.”