The Common Thread That Weave Violent Political Violence

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Fear is "an unpleasant and often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger."[1] Fear is completely natural and helps people to recognize and respond to dangerous situations and threats. However, healthy fear -- or fear which has a protective function -- can evolve into unhealthy or pathological fear, which can lead to exaggerated and violent behavior.

"The common thread that weaves violent political movements together is fear. It is not the only motivating factor behind political violence, nor necessarily the most obvious, but it is virtually always there. Whenever we ask why people hate, or why they are willing to kill or die for a cause, the answer is invariably fear." -- James F. Mattil
Dr. Ivan Kos lays out several different stages of fear. The first is real fear, or fear based on a real situation. If someone or something hurts you, you have a reason to fear it in the future. Second is realistic, or possible fear. This is fear based in reality that causes a person to avoid a threat in the first place (i.e. waiting to cross a busy road for safety reasons). Next, exaggerated or emotional fear deals with an individual "recalling past fears or occurrences and injecting them into a current situation."[2] This type of fear is particularly relevant to conflict. Emotional fear affects the way people handle conflictual situations.

Causes of Fear
Conflict is often driven by unfulfilled needs and the fears related to these needs. The most common fear in
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