Nexus

Are All Terrorists Crazy?

From the French Reign of Terror to the Sydney Siege, Madness Is Too Easy of an Explanation

Each time a terrorist act occurs in the world, the specter of madness looms on the horizon.

On October 22, 2014, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau fatally wounded a soldier on Parliament Hill in Ottawa before being shot by the police. A Muslim convert and a drug addict, he didn’t have any psychiatric record, but his mother confirmed he was mentally deranged. Two days later, Zane Thompson, a Muslim convert, described as a “recluse” with mental problems, attacked four policemen in New York …


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Who We Were

Inside the Coney Island ‘Freak Show’

Why Were Early-20th-Century Americans So Enthralled by Human Zoos?

A day trip to Coney Island, once the largest amusement park in the United States, led me to the photograph. In the black-and-white image, a group of tribesmen, women, and children squats around a campfire. They’re barefoot and dressed in G-strings and tribal blankets. Several are looking at the camera and laughing. One man is pointing. Another is holding up a rock, as if he is about to throw it.

The photo could have been torn straight from the pages of …


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