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Introduction The face of terrorism is undergoing considerable change.There is a noticeable trend indicating the increasing frequency of lone wolf attacks by individuals and small cells with little or no connections to formal organizations. In the past few years, numerous lone wolf incidents carried out by assorted radicals have gained headlines. For instance, in April 2009, Richard A. Poplawski, a man who expressed racist views on extremist websites, fired on police in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, killing three officers .1 Just a few weeks after that, an antiabortion activist, Scott Roeder, murdered a physician who performed late-term abortions.2 In June of that year, a little-known but long-standing right-wing extremist, James von Brunn, opened fire at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., killing a guard.3 In November , Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a Virginia-born Muslim psychiatrist in the US Army, allegedly went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, that killed thirteen people and left thirty-eight wounded.4 More incidents followed in 2010. On February 18, Joseph Stack, a fifty-threeyear -old software engineer and tax protester, slammed his private plane into a building in Austin,Texas, that housed offices of the IRS, triggering a massive fireball that set the edifice ablaze and killed Stack and an IRS manager.5 And on May 1, Faisal Shahzad, a seemingly upright and assimilated computer technician, a US citizen who lived in Connecticut but was born in Pakistan, attempted to detonate three bombs in an SUV parked in the heart of Times Square in New York City. Although he reportedly made contact with the Pakistani Taliban during a trip to Pakistan in 2008, after his arrest Shahzad insisted that he had acted entirely alone while in the United States.6 Lone wolf terrorism is not confined to the United States, as was tragically displayed on July 22, 2011, when a bomb placed in a Volkswagen exploded in Oslo, Norway, near the offices of the prime minister and other government buildings.The blast killed eight people and seriously injured eleven others. Less than two hours later, a lone gunman disguised as a police officer struck a summer camp operated by the youth organization of the liberal Norwegian Labour Party on the island of Utøya in Tyrifjorden. The second attack left sixty-eight people dead, many of them teenagers. The admitted perpetrator of both attacks, Anders Behring Breivik, had previously expressed anti-Muslim and anti-immigration sentiments on a website. In an online manifesto, Breivik counseled fellow travelers to emulate his terrorism by acting alone on their own initiative.7 Ominously, his style of lone wolf terrorism 1 suggests a high degree of planning and calculation, which could portend greater lethality of such attacks in the future. Breivik maintained no affiliations with hardcore extremists, though he was once briefly affiliated with a youth organization associated with the Far Right group Norwegian Progress, and he was not on the authorities’ radar screen. Having no criminal record other than minor offenses, he was able to procure firearms and fertilizer for making his bomb without raising red flags. His attacks came out of nowhere.8 The increased frequency of these lone wolf attacks indicates a shift from terrorism by organized groups to terrorism by unaffiliated individuals.9 To meet the challenge of seemingly random attacks such as these, in the summer of 2009 US authorities announced an effort to detect lone wolves who might be contemplating politically charged violence. Dubbed the “Lone Wolf Initiative,” it began shortly after the inauguration of President Barack Obama and was launched in part because of a perceived rise in hate speech and increasing gun sales.10 As reported, the Lone Wolf Initiative is one aspect of a broader strategy to combat domestic terrorism dubbed “Operation Vigilant Eagle.”11 As early as 1998, the FBI publicly announced that fringe groups could be planning attacks on their own initiative, as in the case of Eric Robert Rudolph, who supposedly drifted in and out of white supremacist groups before embarking on his one-man campaign of violence, which included bombing abortion clinics, a gay bar, and the Centennial Park at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. For obvious reasons, since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11), the US government has been focused mainly on well-established terrorist groups, such as al Qaeda. However, recent lone wolf attacks suggest that leaderless resistance is becoming the most common form of terrorism in...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780826518576
Related ISBN
9780826518552
MARC Record
OCLC
802049025
Pages
272
Launched on MUSE
2012-09-21
Language
English
Open Access
No
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