(Received 30 November 1985; accepted 17 March 1986)
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This paper describes a variety of homicides which are motivated by psychopathology but rationalized by political ideas. A psychopath or a psychotic with a political rationale is treated differently from one who does not offer ideological explanations. There are psychopaths and psychotics who are unable to act out murderous impulses without political camouflage. Examples from terroristic activities are offered to demonstrate the use of political cover for murderous behavior. The danger of psychopathic terrorism has increased as a result of technology and the failure to differentiate political and pseudo-political terrorism. Such differentiation may be useful in prevention of terrorism and in negotiation with individual terrorists.
Clinical professor of psychiatry, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
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