As I watched the recently posted video of Ottawa-area ISIS convert John Maguire, I couldn't help but wonder about the "root causes" that inspired a seemingly normal Canadian kid to take up arms with the dark side of humanity. To say the least, it's a dramatic leap from white Anglo-Saxon Ontario university student to fundamentalist foot soldier and vocal advocate for genocide against the culture he left behind.
Maguire didn't grow up in an ethnic community, so he had no apparent axe to grind against perceived racism. According to his former friends, he was funny and popular, so that rules out the shunned loner angle. He also did well in school and had no diagnosed mental illness, so we can't chalk up his conversion to crazy. All things considered, about the only root causes I can come up with for a hockey-loving, guitar playing academic overachiever to join ISIS is that he wasn't happy with his ice time or he resented that his bandmates wouldn't let him sing lead vocals, and decided that killing infidels and apostates in the name of Allah would be an appropriate response to his grievances.
Of course, that's a ludicrous premise, but so is the entire notion of root causes. Nothing or no one forced John Maguire and other western terror tourists to join in a campaign of slaughter, rape and slavery. They are willing and enthusiastic volunteers whose choices have more to do with their own twisted psyches than they do with underlying socio-political considerations.
They need to be held to account, not mollycoddled with apologist psychobabble.