Psychology: What Makes Them Tick?

Mohamed Atta poses a puzzle, and Abdulaziz Alomari poses a bigger one. Until now the standard profile of Islamic martyrs was: young, nothing to lose and fanatically, hermetically Muslim. Atta, 33, flouted Islamic morality by slugging down vodka like a sailor. And as for Alomari, 28: How does a man--no brainwashed boy dreaming of virgins in paradise but a man in his prime with a wife and four or five children--vaporize that life by flying a plane into a building? Why? Why now?

There are many possible answers, but few feel sufficient. Theologically, some Middle Eastern sheiks justify suicide bombings on...

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