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North America

For this assignment, you will select a homegrown violent extremist from North America that we have not discussed in class and write a research paper by developing your own case study that addresses the four subject areas below:

Develop an HVE case study of a group or individual of sound mind* not covered by our lessons. Some examples may include: Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik in San Bernardino 2015, Muhammad Abdulazeez in Chattanooga 2015, Martin Couture-Rouleau or Michael Zehaf-Bibeau both in Canada 2014, Faisal Shahzad at Times Square in 2010, Carlos Bledsoe in Little Rock 2009, Eric Rudolph the right wing Atlanta Olympics bomber 1996, or even left wing extremists from the 1970s like The Weather Underground.

  1. What was the individual or groups grievance or cause?
  2. How was the individual or most group members recruited or draw to the cause?
  3. What was the process of radicalization? Which model discussed in this course most closely followed your case?
  4. What was the result of the extremism and how did the case end?

*Note: If you choose a person, make sure you do not select someone who has a significant psychological disorder. As discussed in first week, this course specifically excludes those who are not of sound mind, since their extremism is not really the major factor behind their violence. For example, many mass shootings were undertaken by individuals who professed to have a political cause, but they turned out to be just exposing those beliefs without full comprehension or mental faculties. In other words, if the murderer was found unfit to stand trial (not mentally competent), then that is not an appropriate extremist for this paper. For these reasons do not select Robert Dear, Dylann Roof, Wade Michael Page and the like.

While you can choose any North American homegrown violent extremist of sound mind that you want for this case study, I would highly recommend you select one who survived their attack and the trial is complete. Since you have to focus on why they did what they did, this is often impossible to assess if they were killed in the act (unless a manifesto was left behind). Additionally, if a case has yet to be tried in court, the defense often works hard to counter arguments of extremism before court and true motives become difficult to discern. If you pick someone killed in the act of terrorism, like at San Bernardino or Chattanooga then it is much more difficult to answer the questions assigned for this paper. In fact, in some cases it is impossible to do so if they did not leave behind any clear clues.

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