Analysis of "lone wolf" and other "affiliated wolf?" attacks

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Analysis of "lone wolf" and other "affiliated wolf?" attacks

#1  Postby Keep It Real » Feb 15, 2018 9:55 am

First up - the question of nomenclature.

Terrorism has changed dramatically in recent years. Attacks by groups with defined chains of command have become rarer, as the prevalence of terrorist networks, autonomous cells, and, in rare cases, individuals, has grown. This evolution has prompted a search for a new vocabulary, as it should. The label that seems to have been decided on is “lone wolves”. They are, we have been repeatedly told, “Terror enemy No 1”.

Yet using the term as liberally as we do is a mistake. Labels frame the way we see the world, and thus influence attitudes and eventually policies. Using the wrong words to describe problems that we need to understand distorts public perceptions, as well as the decisions taken by our leaders. Lazy talk of “lone wolves” obscures the real nature of the threat against us, and makes us all less safe.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/mar/30/myth-lone-wolf-terrorist

The rest of the quotes in this OP are from the same article - long, interesting, thought provoking read.

My bold: calla man a thief and he becomes a thief (in our minds). Call an Islamist terrorist a lone wolf and we reflexively think "Islam is innocent" etc. Inappropriate to call Islamist attackers "lone wolves" as they are all motivated by the same influence (Islam); at least nominally.

Before the rise of the (term) lone wolf, security officials used phrases – all equally flawed – such as “homegrowns”, “cleanskins”, “freelancers” or simply “unaffiliated”.


In my mind a lone wolf isn't really a terrorist because they are not pushing a recognised or extant political agenda...am I mistaken? Breivik wasn't a lone wolf because of his strong links to the English defence league and, more broadly, his desire for Islam to go the way of the dodo (in Europe at least) - some might call this Islamophobia but I'm not a fan of that term as the word "phobia" reeks of "irrational".


Thomas Mair, who was also widely described as a lone wolf, does appear to have been an authentic loner, yet his involvement in rightwing extremism goes back decades. In May 1999, the National Alliance, a white-supremacist organisation in West Virginia, sent Mair manuals that explained how to construct bombs and assemble homemade pistols. Seventeen years later, when police raided his home after the murder, they found stacks of far-right literature, Nazi memorabilia and cuttings on Anders Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who murdered 77 people in 2011.

He (Breivik) was, for example, a fan of Saga, a Swedish white nationalist singer, whose lyrics include lines about “The greatest race to ever walk the earth … betrayed”.


This seems a tenuous connection to me – he could well have liked that music because by "race" he heard "Culture"...if that's the only reference found to Breivik's alleged white nationalism then I say it's a red herring. "Right wing extremist" seems too broad (so many elements) and nebulous (liberal/libertarian?) to be useful. White supremacists are often termed "far right"; but then again I don't recall Breivik writing of genetics...perhaps "cultural Christian nationalist terrorist" would be a more appropriate label for him. What does it matter if somebody acts alone - if they publish their (perceived (denial etc)) motivations they're bound to be at least somewhat unoriginal in their antipathy.

...the idea that terrorists operate alone allows us to break the link between an act of violence and its ideological hinterland. It implies that the responsibility for an individual’s violent extremism lies solely with the individual themselves.

I actually currently rather like the idea that holding people responsible for their actions is necessary, rather than letting them off the hook by saying "they were mislead"....however some books should no doubt be burnt/lost in the warehouse still no doubt.

Isn't the term "lone wolf" charismatic attractive nomenclature? Wolves are pretty damn cool...perhaps "lone cabbages" would be better.
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Re: Analysis of "lone wolf" and other "affiliated wolf?" attacks

#2  Postby Keep It Real » Aug 04, 2019 12:17 pm

Maybe some interest in this thread now due to recent events.
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Re: Analysis of "lone wolf" and other "affiliated wolf?" attacks

#3  Postby Keep It Real » Aug 04, 2019 12:28 pm

I take it back, there has clearly already been some significant interest in this thread - 500 views for a solitary OP - impressive, really.
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