Joseph T. McCann
Terrorism has plagued the United States throughout its history, though some seem to believe it began with the Oklahoma City bombing and the Sept. 11 attacks.
A new book by a Binghamton University adjunct faculty member argues that studying the history of terrorism in this country can lead to an understanding of the changing nature of the problem, methods for coping with the threat and the psychological, political and legal principles involved.
Joseph T. McCann's
Terrorism on American Soil, published this fall by Sentient Publications
, features more than three dozen case studies of attacks in the United States, dating from Abraham Lincoln's assassination in 1865.
"There have been many terrorist attacks throughout our history, by many different individuals and for different reasons, some of which overlap," McCann
"Certain trends in terrorism repeat themselves.
Some of the issues that were present a hundred years ago with anarchists are the same issues we're struggling with today."
McCann, 47, a clinical psychologist at Binghamton General Hospital who also holds a law degree, is an adjunct assistant professor in the Psychology Department.
teaches an undergraduate seminar each fall titled Psychology, Terrorism and Law.
"I want to give students a broad introduction to the topic," he
After the Sept. 11 attacks, McCann
did a lot of reading, especially about the difficulties in identifying risks and concerns over profiling.
found many of the issues corresponded to his
"You don't find the science of psychology applied to terrorism too often because terrorism is so hard to research and study," he
"I found that some of the most useful and interesting reading I did was in history."
, who was working with a colleague on a book titled Minds on Trial about famous cases in law and psychology, decided he'd try a similar case study approach to terrorism.
"My main purpose was to educate the general public the way that I was educating myself about terrorism," he
"I'm very concerned, and I think the threat is certainly very great," McCann
"But I'm also optimistic.