Today's extremist violence surges into our lives from what seems like every direction vehicles hurtling down city sidewalks; cyber-threats levied against political leaders and backed up with violence; automatic weapons unleashed on mall shoppers, students, and the faithful in houses of worship. As varied as the violent acts are the attackers themselves neo-Nazis, white nationalists, the alt-right, InCels, and Islamist jihadists, to name just a few. In a world where hate has united communities that traffic in radical doctrines and rationalize their use of violence to rally the disaffected, the fear of losing a loved one to extremism or falling victim to terrorism has become almost universal.
Told with startling honesty and intimacy, Breaking Hate is both the inside story of how extremists lure the unwitting to their causes and a guide for how everyday Americans can win them-and our civil democracy-back. Former extremist Christian Picciolini unravels this sobering narrative from the frontlines, where he has worked for two decades as a peace advocate and "hate breaker." He draws from the firsthand experiences of extremists he has helped to disengage, revealing how violent movements target the vulnerable and exploit their essential human desires, and how the right interventions can save lives.
Along the way, Picciolini solves the puzzle of why extremism has come to define our era, laying bare the ways in which modern society-from "fake news" and social media propaganda to coded language and a White House that inflames rather than heals-has polarized and radicalized an entire generation.
Piercing, empathetic, and unrestrained, Breaking Hate tells the sweeping story of the challenge of our time and provides a roadmap to overcoming it.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Author's Note xi
Introduction: Nation of Hate xvii
Prologue-The Crossroads of Union and Division xxv
Part 1 Pre-Radicalization-"The Marginalized Seeker"
1 Warning Signs: The Prelude to Hate: Kassandra 3
2 What Leads Us to Extremism: Kassandra 11
3 The Hate We See: Daniel 25
4 Hate Becomes Normalized: Ben 39
5 White Pride Worldwide: Kassandra 51
6 Extremist Recruitment: Reggie 61
7 A Mental Health Crisis: Kassandra 67
8 Toxic Masculinity: Dallas 81
9 The Propaganda of Hate: Kassandra 91
10 The Threats We Ignore: Kassandra 99
11 Terror by Another Name: Koval 105
12 A Withdrawal from Hate: Kassandra 111
Part 2 Radical-"The True Believer"
13 Lone Wolf: Dylann 121
Part 3 De-Radicalization-"The Enlightened Seeker"
14 The Seven "L" Steps of Disengagement 135
15 Link: See the Child, Not the Monster: Koval 139
16 Listen: Filter Out the White Noise: Omar 147
17 Learn: Mapping the Journey: Ben 161
18 Leverage: Filling Potholes: Daniel 173
19 Lift: The Quest for ICP: Reggie 179
20 Love: Building Bridges: Daniel 187
21 Live: Free Radical: Kassandra 191
22 TBD (To Be De-Radicalized): Richard 207
Appendix I Resources and Support 223
Appendix II Recommended Further Reading 225
About the Author 229