Former FBI Profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole reported that Alton Nolen, who beheaded one woman and attacked another with a knife in an attack in Oklahoma on Friday, converted to Islam while in prison, while former CIA and FBI Senior Official Philip Mudd argued it was “absurd” to say “there wasn’t a connection between what he did and what we’ve witnessed over the past few weeks in Syria” on Friday’s “Anderson Cooper 360” on CNN.
“With crimes of violence there can be multiple motivations. So, this could end up being a crime of workplace violence, but it’s very influenced in this case by what he has recently seen on the news with the beheadings, but he was fired right before this happened. That is a very important point. The other important point is he has a history of violence because he spent time in prison, which is where he converted to Islam. So, with all that said, it could still be a crime of workplace violence, but influenced by what he has seen recently on the news and his own maybe interests or, yeah, interests with the beheadings” O’Toole stated, adding that violent “ideation” usually “starts very early in life” and predicted that Nolen would have a long history of violence.
Mudd said, “there’s got to be a connection to what we’ve seen overseas, I mean, this is such a unique experience that to suggest that there wasn’t a connection between what he did and what we’ve witnessed over the past few weeks in Syria to me would be absurd,” he did point out that terrorists can be motivated by rash emotional reaction to images rather than ideology, and that he believed Nolen was “emotionally deranged.”
Cooper seemed to take the same view as Mudd, declaring “he [Nolen], obviously, was a convert, apparently, according to others who worked with, had been trying to convert people. It’s very possible that he just watched [beheading] videos or had seen videos. I mean, this is certainly in the news, the idea of beheadings,” adding, with O’Toole’s agreement, that decapitation was a “bizarre” way of killing someone. He also argued ideology alone usually doesn’t make individuals kill, but that there has to be in addition to an ideology that convinces somebody it is morally acceptable to commit murder.
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