American Jihadists Went to the Same High School in Minnesota

An interesting development in the story of Douglas McAruhur McCain, the American jihadi who was killed this week in Syria, is that he was classmates with another young American who was killed while fighting with an Al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia in 2009. Tory Kastigar was a friend and classmate of McCain at Robinsdale Cooper High School in the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

The principal at the high school at the time they attended doesn’t remember them but since they “had pretty normal kids” he could only think that they were subject to “influences” beyond the high school and the community. Not to blame the school system for their ultimate fate, but perhaps one of the reasons these two young men answered the call of a death cult is that the education system did not help arm them with tools to resist such insanity such as common values, ethics, morality accountability, ambition and self-reliance. It seems Mr. McCain was missing something other than an “r” in his middle name: a reason to live.

What led these men to their decisions is unknown but it hardly could have been helped by an education system, news media and entertainment industry that withholds judgment from anything save antipathy towards America. The politically correct culture also demeans hard work and competition. Living in that vacuum the attraction of the role of a jihadist to a loser is irresistible. It is a short term, yet intense, career in which one cannot possibly fail. All you really have to do to be considered a success is get killed. It is the ultimate participation trophy.


Victor Keith writes from Burbank, California and can be contacted at

If you experience technical problems, please write to