Police Psychology | “Inside the Mind” of an Anarchist
by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP
There are the guys seen dressed in all black with black masks that are crashing chairs through windows and ripping up cars alongside of the road at the recent demonstrations. They are destruction-oriented and do not tend to favor either party, although they sit with the extreme left now and most often do. They look for a peaceful demonstrations and turn it into a riot. They call themselves anarchists, and they are not so much of a group as an instant mob, just add water. One thing is for sure, they make a demonstration uncomfortable, not only for police, but for the demonstrators themselves.
A true anarchist does not want any government at all. They fight all forms of authority and even fight the idea that a society should be organized. That is why they look for demonstrations and try to create chaos. They don’t like authority so they destroy anything built by a company, such as a building. The cars they just throw in for free as they represent the hierarchy of life. They wear black for a reason, and it is not to look thin. Black is the absence of color, the absence of light. This is homegrown terrorism and the actors are known as domestic terrorists. But there is more than meets the eye in this terrorist movement. Let’s get inside “THE MIND OF AN ANARCHIST.”
If you could walk in the mind of most anarchists, you would find most of them are no more than rebellious teens that haven’t left the rebellion stage yet. As much as they don’t believe in being told what to do, they are in a strange way controlled to rebel in a certain fashion decided by others, usually older anarchists. They are angry at everything, and act in violent ways toward property which expends quite a bit of energy. That is why the old expression you don’t find too many old anarchists. Essentially the older anarchists have a real goal of reducing government and making the country more an “every man for themselves.” Of course, there are distinctions in between such as minarchist, which believe in a minimal government, and then there are anarcho-capitalist, who believe that privately owned business should compete for government functions, rather than have a government. Too much information I am sure, but I wanted to clear that up.
So being in the mind of a younger anarchist is really a jumble. Anger overtakes reason. They are sort of hypnotized by the goals of destruction and often can’t control it. On many of the anarchist’s raids, the players get a little stoned or drunk before they go out and begin destruction. Underneath it is the fear of being caught, which increases the younger and more inexperienced they are. They are driven more by the destruction and the chaos they cause, and that also gives them a little high. They particularly like demonstrations because there is an audience right in front of them, and although the audience may be shouting for them to stop, it is the stage they want more than anything. Destruction is a peculiar drug unto itself. It would not be beyond reason to expect them to be carrying a weapon, although they may not know how to use it well. As in all terrorists, the possibility of an arrest will set off a debacle and they will not go easily. Expect fighting and screaming, as an arrest to them is unfair punishment by the oppressive government.
Now the older anarchist poses a different profile. There is sort of a self-selection of people that have stayed around awhile and have gained some experience. The older anarchist believes in what they are doing, which in their minds is bringing down the government. However, they realize that they alone are not going to bring down the government, but they just want to make a dent in it. They are likely to have been arrested before, gone through the court process, and have been let slide for the most part. They may have spent a short time in jail so there is no fear there. They would likely go easier on an arrest, but you will need to be meticulous with procedures like Mirandizing them and very strict on making sure their rights are not violated. Lawyers can be brutal when defending them. You also should talk minimally, as they realize if they can get you talking they will have more material to use against you. Think a cult leader when you make an arrest of an older anarchist, old, crafty, and dangerous.
When you come home from working a demonstration and you have contact with some anarchists, be aware because you will feel some anxiety. Anxiety happens after the event more frequently, so some self-help for this is a good idea. That has been covered in other places, such as here, but you should take it seriously.
In my opinion, one of the problems with homegrown or domestic terrorists is the justice system, at least in the US, does not treat it as they would outside terrorism. Whether it is eco-terrorism, anarchists or ISIS, they should be treated with equal emotion, equal investigation and equal punishment. Violent people are violent people, and if they are willing to take the rights away from others, there is a major problem. Too many people throwing a chair through a glass window are left with reparations and that is it in court. If it has a purpose of bringing down the government, if it is violent, and if others rights are violated it is terrorism, so call it one.
Site Administrator: Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP
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