DISSUADING YOUNG POTENTIAL TERRORISTS
Mann, Jeffrey M., Jr.
Borer, Douglas A.
Rice, Ian C.
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After the 9/11 attacks, the United States has made many sacrifices to combat terrorism; this includes losing almost 7000 service members in the campaigns of the War on Terror. The United States has spent nearly $3 trillion on counterterrorism funding between fiscal years 2002 and 2017. Instead of being reactive in the fight against terrorism, I examine how to steer the next generation of potential terrorists in another direction. Using mentor programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters and Rancho Cielo as an exploratory proof of concept, I investigate the role proactive mentorship programs have on at-risk youth in a variety of social and culturally diverse settings. At-risk youth that are exposed to mentorship programs throughout the world where they develop sincere and lasting relationships with their mentors will be less vulnerable to being drawn into a gang or terrorist group. Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces and the hero’s journey serve as the framework of analysis for the mentor programs worldwide and specifically how a mentor inserts him- or herself into the life of an at-risk youth. The examined mentor programs and relationships revealed some positive effects; however, the results are unclear because the programs have only been recently implemented—more time is required to understand lasting results. Not all at-risk youth will benefit from mentorship; however, the programs’ efforts enable some misguided youth the opportunity to live a life free of crime.
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