As we observe displays of overt recklessness, aggression, and supremacism among radical conservatives in our news, we tend to blame individual factors such as mental illness; however, there's little field evidence that points to a relationship or predictive connection between mental disorders and terrorism. Experts in psychology who analyze the biographies and profiles of militants, in fact, find that groups of terrorists and insurgents rarely include persons with serious mental illness given the risks of sabotage and mission abandonment. Social indoctrination, deprivation, and personal uncertainty are found to be better predictors of violating laws of democracy and advocating the supremacy of one group (racial, religious, political, social, etc.).
Bane, in particular, generalized his childhood abuse and isolation, directing his blame and anger toward mainstream agents of power. In fact, individuals who radicalize often hold distorted perceptions that they have been wronged or disenfranchised. They believe, usually with little to no evidence, that they're underserved or targeted by mainstream society. Shared characteristics include social disconnectedness, the need for order and certainty, and feelings of intense envy. Much like Bane, political extremists are overly simplistic in their beliefs, overconfident in their actions, and intolerant of differences in their "quest for significance."
The Dark Knight Rises may be a test of our endurance with its chilling and prolonged siege. (It's 2 hours and 44 minutes.) The emergence of Robin offers a glimmer of hope and reminds us that it is often too difficult to "unwire" or "reverse" extremist ideologies. (Cue Bruce Wayne's retirement.) Prevention, social diversity, and the sharing of basic necessities are the preferred pathways.
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