Experts weigh in on the psychological impact of terrorism acts - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Experts weigh in on the psychological impact of terrorism acts

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University of Texas hosted a conference today on terrorism mainly concentrated on the Arab-Israeli conflict. But with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation coming to a head FOX 7's Greg Kerr had a conversation with three experts on this topic.

We now know the Boston bombings has an international twist. The Tsarnaev brothers were natives of Chechnya near Russia, a country that also has militant muslin ideals. 

So why do this? And what affect might the bombings have on our children?

Ami Pedazur is a terrorism expert and professor of government and Israel studies at UT. Leonard Weinberg is a Foundation Professor Emeritus at the University of Nevada and Dr. Caron Farrell is a child-adolescence psychiatrist at Seton Hospital.

When Pedazur first saw the explosions on TV he wasn't convinced then if the bomber or bombers had high level training.

"It doesn't seem like they were very sophisticated however they were committed from what I heard on the radio. One of them killed was wearing a suicide vest meaning he was ready to commit a suicide attack if he was to be captured," said Pedazur.

We know now the Tsarnaev brothers are of Chechnya origin but have lived in the states for at least 10 years. According to Pedazur and Weinberg, an attack on us soil by Chechnyans is unusual because their issue is with Russia.

"It's very odd to see them attacking a US target. I would assume these guys were probably more linked to broader Al-Qaida ideas than just to the Chechnyan struggle," said Pedazur.

"The bombing succeeded in capturing the attention of millions of people around the world and obviously many Americans," said Weinberg.

The brothers appeared westernized leading up to the bombing wearing caps and relaxed attire but bottom line was their commitment to the cause.

"What these guys wanted if anything aside from publicity and the question is publicity for what?... remains obscured," said Weinberg.

"We can call it brainwashing, we can call it radicalized, but when they go and do something they don't expect any kind of personal benefits... they expect do it for a greater cause which they perceive to be noble," said Pedazur.

The first victim of Boston was 8-year-old Martin Richard. When a child dies so senselessly it grabs everyone's attention and that may not be a good thing for your child.

"It's probably good to create some space to give the opportunity to ask questions if they've been hearing it. You always want to have your ideas and opinions be the ones they hear," said Farrell.

TV along with social media has changed the game. It's much more difficult to keep traumatic information from your kids. Much of what they see is perception. If it's something bad in Boston, it's bad here.

"A smaller child every time they see it repeated they going to think it's happening over and over again. So really try to shelter them from too much media attention," said Farrell.

Doctor Farrell says adults aren't immune from the psychological aspect of something like the Boston bombings.

Some adults are more affected by it than others and if so limit your own exposure to keep from having negative responses to the events.

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