Although Omar Mateen—the 29-year-old man who fatally shot 49 people at an Orlando nightclub—was ultimately gunned down by authorities, his actions closely resemble those typical of a suicide bomber. He entered a crowded space with an assault weapon and aimlessly opened fire. Later, the world discovered the mass murderer pledged allegiance to ISIS, and the terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack and praised Mateen for his martyrdom.
While Orlando has captured the world’s attention and continued to dominate the media as new details come to light, another city witnessed a deadly shooting of its own just days earlier. Last week two Palestinian cousins opened fire on a crowded cafe in the vibrant Israeli city of Tel Aviv, leaving four dead and many injured. Like the Orlando shooting, it was deemed an act of terrorism.
Israeli psychologist Ariel Merari, a professor at Tel Aviv University and visiting professor at Berkley and Harvard, gives us insight into what psychologically connects the kind of people capable of carrying out such horrific, senseless attacks.