Statue at Vienna Central Cemetery

Corona Crime: what motivates terrorists?

Robert Pimm
Robert Pimm

Why do terrorists carry out terrorism?  What are the goals of terrorists?  How can you stop terrorism?  What motivates terrorists?  “Corona Crime” explains.

It’s time to start unpacking the box.

Let’s have a look at an excerpt from my new novel, Corona Crime.

What motivates terrorists?

What motivates terrorists?  In another of my novels, Blood SummitI point to the importance of the Herostratus Syndrome, as explained in the excellent book by Antony Borowitz (long title: “Terrorism for Self-Glorification: The Herostratus Syndrome”).  In the foreword I quote Mark Twain: “One of the commonest forms of madness is the desire to be noticed”.  I also quote Mark Chapman, the murderer of John Lennon: “I was an acute nobody… I was ‘Mr Nobody’ until I killed the biggest Somebody on earth.”

The Vienna Central Cemetery 

Part of Corona Crime is set in Vienna – Photo Robert Pimm

In the dystopic world of Corona Crime, terrorists are motivated by money and by the urge to show their lives have meaning.  Here, in an excerpt from the book, our heroes Jake and Sandy meets a member of terrorist group The One Life Army.

Corona Crime: an excerpt.  The One Life Army

‘We are not terrorists, or freedom fighters. Actually, we see ourselves more as a pressure group which is not afraid to apply real pressure.’

The woman in the white blouse and grey suit sat opposite Jake and Sandy, watching them across a wooden table from which the scent of polish rose in the sunshine. The man named Khan had introduced her to Jake and Sandy as Jean Stays. She wore black-framed spectacles. Jake thought she looked like a banker. Only the camouflage-effect rubber bands securing her black pigtails gave any hint of a more action-oriented persona.

‘If you’re not terrorists,’ Jake said, ‘why do you kill people?’

‘The One Life Army does not kill many people,’ Jean said. ‘Hughes – not us. Central Authority Buildings – not us. But the Coronatime Oppression is killing and enslaving whole nations. In the face of such evil, sometimes, we must kill too.’

‘Extreme suffering justifies extreme measures. I know the slogan.’ Sandy said. ‘Better be sure you’re right.’

‘We act only when we are sure. And even in these cases, we do not do any killing ourselves. We call in the professionals, like Mr Khan.’ Jean nodded at the bald man sitting next to her.

‘You contract out the killing?’ Jake said. ‘Can you do that?’

‘Actually, there is less correlation than you might imagine between expertise in seeking political change and expertise in killing people. An activist who has become good at killing is no longer an activist. Same with politicians.’

‘Killing people my job,’ Khan said. ‘I am expert. And before anyone say it, no-one call me Genghis. That OK with you?’

‘It’s OK,’ Jake said. He moved a little closer to Sandy on the couch.

‘Everyone know how old-fashioned armies all collapse when Coronatime make lives of soldiers too valuable to risk, and everyone refuse to fight.  Result is, most wars stop – until job of killing put out to tender, so supply meet demand.’ Khan fingered a furrow which ran down the centre of his bald skull. ‘Ancient history now. Less well known is how quickly new structures sprang up to fill vacuum. Everyone crave security. Lot of former soldiers need jobs. New system much better. Old-fashioned national armies kill only when war is happening. Sometimes so-called soldiers never kill anyone for years. Get sloppy. Get killed. New private companies support any cause, fight any time, always killing. Result is top quality.’

‘Have you killed many people?’ Jake looked at the bald man’s hands.

‘Oh, yes. Have top-notch endorsements. Look.’ Khan placed a holo unit on the table and made to activate it.

‘Just tell me. I believe you.’

Khan began to count on his fingers. ‘East Siberian Ecological Militia.  West Australian Vietnamese Resistance.  Welsh Provisional Government of Patagonia.  North Orissan Barefoot Army.’  He made to change hands.

‘How do you motivate yourselves to fight for so many different causes?’ Sandy said.

‘Profit motive strongest. Money.  Fact is, only real motive anyone ever have.’

‘How do your customers know if you’re loyal?’

‘Good question.’ Khan nodded. ‘Loyalty cost extra fifty thousand bonus per fighter. We use money to buy additional insurance. It make dying for your cause more worthwhile.’

Excerpt ends

What to do next

If you enjoyed this excerpt from Corona Crime, do check out my other writing including my blog post Corona Crime: the world after Coronavirus.  My two most recent books are: Seven Hotel Stories and Blood Summit.


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