ATbar Trends and Developments in Lone Wolf Terrorism in the Western World

Trends and Developments in Lone Wolf Terrorism in the Western World

23/10/2013 | by Teich, Sarah  

This paper reviews current literature on the recent and growing phenomenon of lone wolf terrorism. It aims to add data to this subject by analyzing trends and developments using a dataset created using RAND, START, and LexisNexis Academic databases. Analysis of the dataset clarifies five (5) finding trends:

  1. increased number of countries targeted by lone wolf terrorists, 
  2. increased number of fatalities and injuries caused by lone 
  3. increased success rate of United States law enforcement to 
apprehend lone wolves before they can carry out their attacks, 
  4. high prevalence and success rate of loners over Pantucci’s other
three types of lone wolf terrorists, and 
  5. increased targeting of military personnel. 

To complement these findings, five case studies from the dataset are examined in-depth. These were chosen for their significance in terms of high rates of fatality or injury. The case studies are shown to be consistent with previous research themes, including psychopathology, social ineptitude, the facilitating role of the Internet, and a combined motivation of personal grievances and broader radical Islamic goals in the process of Islamic self-radicalization.

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