Are mass shooters really radicalized online? My research says no

The truth is, the relationship between online propaganda and radicalization isn’t a straightforward one, and most terrorism scholars believe that while extremist online propaganda isn’t in itself a sufficient cause of radicalization, it can serve to shape and reinforce pre-existing political beliefs that are already tending toward the extreme. But what it categorically can’t do is transform you into a holy warrior, much less transport you to the front lines of a violent conflict.

There’s abundant evidence to show that jihadi terrorists watch huge quantities of violent propaganda, but there is no evidence to suggest that watching it radicalized them; a more likely explanation is that rather than causing their extremism, online content confirms and glorifies it.

Payton Gendron lived much of his life online, and what he found there helped shape his delusional beliefs. But there is also the large matter of Gendron’s offline self: his needs, paranoias, anxieties, grievances, insecurities, desires and so on.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Video