Small Arms: Children and Terrorism

  • Citation: Bloom, Mia. Small Arms: Children and Terrorism. Cornell University Press, 2019.
    • Topics:
    • Conflict and Security
    • Keywords:
    • child terrorists
    • child soldiers
    • coercion
    • terrorist organization

Why do terrorist organizations use children to support their cause and carry out their activities? Small Arms uncovers the brutal truth behind the mobilization of children by terrorist groups. Mia Bloom and John Horgan show us the grim underbelly of society that allows and even encourages the use of children to conduct terrorist activities. They provide readers with the who, what, when, why, and how of this increasingly concerning situation, illuminating a phenomenon that to most of us seems abhorrent. And yet, they argue, for terrorist groups the use of children carries many benefits. Children possess skills that adults lack. They often bring innovation and creativity. Children are, in fact, a superb demographic from which to recruit if you are a terrorist. Small Arms answers questions about recruitment strategies and tactics, determines what makes a child terrorist and what makes him or her different from an adult one, and charts the ways in which organizations use them. The unconventional focus on child and youth militants allows the authors to, in essence, give us a biography of the child terrorist and the organizations that use them. We are taken inside the mind of the adult and the child to witness that which perhaps most scares us.

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