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On Tuesday, it was reported that Douglas McAuthur McCain, an American who fought for the Islamic State, died in Syria over the weekend. From NBC: 

Photos of McCain's passport and of his body -- which feature a distinctive neck tattoo -- have been seen by NBC News. According to an activist linked to the Free Syrian Army who also saw the body and travel document, McCain was among three foreign jihadis fighting with ISIS who died during the battle. The State Department was not immediately able to comment on the report.

The initial response with shock mixed with extra shock as many people noticed that McCain's first two names were nearly the same as that of the former Chief of Staff of the United States Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur. It didn't help that his last name was McCain. 

Near-spelling aside,the idea that one of the "small handful" of Americans fighting for ISIL had died in battle is surreal enough.

McCain's Facebook page, as some have noted, shows an average guy (the recent name-change to Duale ThaslaveofAllah notwithstanding) who went to San Diego City College, loved the Chicago Bulls, and had about 900 friends.

McCain's path from San Diego to Syria will be one of increasing curiosity as the issue of homegrown radicalization and terrorism enters the discourse. As NBC pointed out, McCain left quite a digital trail:

On June 9, Duale wrote to an alleged ISIS fighter on Twitter: “I will be joining you guys soon.” He also asked if another self-proclaimed ISIS fighter had made it to “r town” – an apparent reference to Raqqa, the militants' Syrian stronghold

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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