Choose a recent national or international news report of an …

Choose a recent national or international news report of an aggressive act performed by an individual or group. Research available background details on the individual or group and supporting details. In 750-1,000 words, do the following: Use two to three scholarly sources to support your thinking, your textbook can be used as one of the resources. Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide

Title: Analyzing the Motivations behind Aggressive Acts: A Case Study


Aggressiveness, both individual and collective, is a complex behavior that has significant societal implications. In an increasingly interconnected world, acts of aggression, whether committed by individuals or groups, attract widespread attention due to their potentially detrimental consequences. This analysis aims to investigate the motivations behind a recent aggressive act performed by an individual or group utilizing scholarly research and available background details to provide a comprehensive understanding of the incident.

Case Study: The Christchurch Mosque Attacks

The subject of this analysis is the tragic event that took place on March 15, 2019, at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The attacks were perpetrated by an individual identified as Brenton Tarrant, a self-proclaimed white supremacist targeting the Muslim community. Tarrant’s actions resulted in the loss of fifty-one innocent lives and left numerous individuals gravely injured.


To better understand the motivations behind the Christchurch Mosque Attacks, it is imperative to explore the available background details on Brenton Tarrant. Born on October 27, 1990, in Grafton, New South Wales, Tarrant hailed from an ordinary working-class family. Before the attacks, he had worked as a personal trainer and traveled extensively, including visiting various countries in Europe, Asia, and Oceania.


Extremist Ideology: A prominent factor contributing to Tarrant’s aggressive behavior was his adoption of extremist ideologies. Extremist ideologies encompass a range of beliefs that justify and promote acts of violence against specific social, religious, or racial groups. Scholars contend that certain individuals, predisposed to extremism, become susceptible to the radicalization process, which amplifies aggression towards targeted groups (Silke, 2008). Tarrant’s online manifesto, titled “The Great Replacement,” revealed his white supremacist worldview, portraying immigrants and Muslims as threats to white culture and dominance (Tarrant, 2019). This ideology played a significant role in motivating his violent actions, as he perceived the targeted minority group as a threat to his personal and collective identity.

Social Isolation and Alienation: Scholars argue that individuals who feel socially isolated and alienated from mainstream society are more likely to engage in acts of aggression (Huesmann & Guerra, 1997). In Tarrant’s case, evidence suggests that he disconnected from conventional social networks, resulting in a sense of isolation and resentment. Such disconnection is often exacerbated through online platforms, where individuals with extremist views can find solace and validation in online communities sharing similar ideologies (Winter, 2017). The internet and social media played a crucial role in Tarrant’s radicalization process and may have intensified his feelings of exclusion from society, further fueling his aggressive actions.

Psychological Profile: While the public’s access to Tarrant’s psychological evaluation remains limited, it is crucial to examine potential psychological factors that may contribute to his aggressive behavior. It is essential to approach this analysis with caution, as it is often challenging to establish a direct causal relationship between psychological factors and violent behavior (Fazel & Danesh, 2002). Nonetheless, individuals with certain psychological characteristics, such as low empathy, high impulsivity, and a narcissistic personality, have been found to be more prone to aggressive acts (Kolla, et al., 2012; Schmitt, et al., 2008).

Empathy deficit: Empathy deficit refers to an individual’s reduced ability to understand or share another person’s emotions (Batson, 2011). It has been suggested that individuals with an empathy deficit are more likely to act aggressively towards others, as they are unable to fully grasp the emotional impact of their actions (Decety & Moriguchi, 2007). If Tarrant possessed low empathy levels, it may have contributed to his dehumanization of the targeted group and facilitated the execution of the violent act.

Impulsivity: Impulsivity is characterized by hasty actions, a lack of reflection, and a tendency to act on immediate desires rather than considering long-term consequences (Moeller, et al., 2001). Considerable anecdotal evidence suggests a link between impulsivity and aggression (Stanford, et al., 2003). If Tarrant displayed impulsive tendencies, they could have influenced his decision-making processes, leading him to execute the attack without fully considering the devastating consequences.

Narcissistic Personality: Narcissism is characterized by grandiosity, entitlement, and a lack of empathy (Ronningstam, 2005). Individuals with a narcissistic personality are often driven by a desire for admiration, attention, and superiority over others. These traits have been implicated in various aggressive behaviors, as individuals with high levels of narcissism may feel threatened by those they perceive as challenging their self-perceived superiority (Bushman & Baumeister, 1998). If Tarrant exhibited narcissistic tendencies, it may have contributed to his aggression towards the targeted group, driven by an intense sense of superiority.


This analysis has explored the motivations behind the aggressive act committed by Brenton Tarrant at the Christchurch mosques in March 2019. By examining available background details on Tarrant and utilizing scholarly research, it has become apparent that his aggressive behavior was primarily driven by extremist ideologies, social isolation and alienation, and potential psychological factors such as an empathy deficit, impulsivity, and a narcissistic personality. Understanding the motivations behind such aggressive acts is crucial for formulating effective prevention strategies and promoting social cohesion in our increasingly interconnected world.