Suicide Bomers – DUNCAN DONUTS – Aug 11 (3/7)

How do suicide bombers compare to people who kill themselves due to the factors discussed above?

Suicide bombers tend to have factors 1 and 3 from the OP present. They tend to believe that something along the lines of “my death is worth more than my life” for whatever political cause for which they are bombing. While this isn’t EXACTLY a feeling of burdensomeness, it is still a cost-benefit calculation that concludes that one’s death (assuming the bombing’s goal is achieved) is better for everyone else than one’s life. Also, training camps for suicide bombers are used to help unlearn the natural fear of death, as would be expected from point 3. Social isolation isn’t there though- on the contrary, bombers-in-training are often considered heros and bask in social popularity. Knowing that they will belong even more in death helps to spur on the potential suicide bomber. Anecdotal evidence from survivors of suicide bombing says that it’s common for suicide bombers to be smiling right as they detonate their bombs. This “smile of joy” at impending martyrdom is called the bassamat al-farah in the Shia tradition. People often say that it is faith in Islam that enables the suicide bomber. These people are ignorant and probably stupid. As I discussed above, this faith is not necessary. Tamil Tigers pioneered modern suicide bombing even though many of them were not religious at all and did not ascribe any specific value to martyrdom.

8/22/2011 add-ons: The above stuff was from the last thread. We can apply some of this to war, as well. We know that soldiers are de-sensitized to killing during training camps (see “On Killing” by Grossman) and are at least somewhat de-sensitized to dying as well. Their “noble sacrifice” is lauded, as is their willingness to “lay down their lives” for their friends and countrymen. Grossman asserts that killing is, for most soldiers, harder than dying, and actually requires more densenitization. Since soldiers are de-sensitized to both killing and dying in training, we expect them to have a higher rate of suicide than civilians. Indeed, they do. We’d also expect soldiers who’ve seen combat to have even higher rates of suicide due to OP factor 3. They do! De-sensitizing people to death and killing is a FUNDAMENTAL risk factor for suicide.