CW: Sexual violence against children
Christopher Buckley of LaFayette, GA is an Afghanistan and Iraqi war veteran. When he returned from Iraq, he joined the Georgia White Knights as an Imperial Nighthawk, because their anti-Muslim and racist values were consistent with his worldview after returning from war. Arno Michaelis, a former white power skinhead, and Dr. Heval Mohamed Kelli, a Kurdish Muslim refugee, were able to teach Chris the error of his ways and helped bring him out of the movement. Today, he volunteers at The Haven in Georgia, a local organization that helps homeless and drug addicts. He also gives motivational speeches, trying to spread awareness and educate the public about the dangers of white supremacist extremism. Chris now works with Dr. Kelli on a program called Help, Heal, Love; where they work to repair flawed thinking in hate groups and spread a message of love and healing. He also created a deradicalization program designed specifically with veterans in mind but is geared to work with all manners of hate and extremist ideology.
Chris shares with Rachel his intense and traumatic personal story, identifying key moments in his upbringing that ultimately led him down a dark and destructive path of addiction, racism, and violence. Together, he and Rachel examine the "cognitive bias" and as Chris explains the "cognitive openings" that can be a catalyst both into and out of extreme belief systems. In the second half of their conversation, Chris talks about his journey towards healing through sobriety and deradicalization. He also tells us about the life-saving redemption initiated by his wife that led to him working with Arno Michaelis and Parents for Peace and the meaning he has found in helping others overcome their extremist ideologies.
Before You Go: Rachel examines the vulnerabilities and sequence of events that can lead to indoctrination and radicalization, and how behaviors commonly seen in addiction are mirrored in extremist ideology
For More Info on Parents for Peace, visit:
If you are worried about extremism, you can call their helpline at 1-844-49-PEACE
For more info on Arno Michaelis visit:
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