THE RISE OF LONE WOLF TERRORISM AROUND THE WORLD:
NO NEED FOR PACK, LONE HAND BRINGS CHAOS TOO
“To die hating them, that was freedom.”
― George Orwell, 1984
Long time ago, scientists have been fascinated by group behavior of wolves. There were so many successful and not so successful studies about the psychology of wolves and the human beings have been always one step behind to understand it. At the moment we have believed we solved the “wolf puzzle”, they would have surprised us with something new and we would agree that they are one of the most mysterious animals on the Earth. However, the pack of wolves as a symbol of strength remains the adequate term for description of human community. The old, good saying, known as the Law of the jungle based on novelist Rudyard Kipling is:“NOW this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky, And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth forward and back; For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.” This was made to set up obligations of wolf in the pack but in regular people communication, it is a sign of the survival of the strongest, to kill or to be killed. The cruel world of existence.
The wolf pack is a power of the group. The wolf without pack is alone and weak, an easy prey. How we will understand then lone wolves? In zoology, lone wolves are usually those which were driven from the pack because they are old or they are considered as a threat to the alpha wolf. Sometimes, they can not find another pack to join to and they adjust to the solitude and that becomes their way of life. I found it very interesting the fact that lone wolves are more aggressive and dangerous than the average wolf, member of the pack. They are on their own. They hunt and they survive alone. They kill alone. They are creatures of the deeper darkness.
The lone wolf ideology was transferred into the human relations since there were so many crimes and terrorist attacks which haven’t been committed by the groups but rather by the isolated individuals. The world has been ready to face up with the new lone wolf threat. The lone wolf terrorism is a new kind of attack but if we look back on the many different forms of the violence around the world, during many years, we must admit that lone wolf attack has been always somewhere around but not declared as such.
The serial and the massive killers have been also considered as the lone wolf attackers, but not all of them were dysfunctional losers in reality. The first one is killing for years, if he is not stopped, and he is hunting for his pleasure and feeding his sadistic nature. Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy and Richard Ramirez, were all active more than 30 years ago but the shocking news is that, according to former chief of the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, John Douglas, there are 25 to 50 active serial killers in the United States at any given moment. Even today. In other words, lone wolves are attacking on daily level but we are too busy to notice them since they are preying silently and they kill about 150 people each year, add to it the various number of unsolved cases, especially in America. Again, this is less than the horrific amount of those killed in some massive killer shooting or lone wolf terror attack.
What about the massive killers with ideological patterns? Should we consider them as terrorists since they have been indoctrinated with the certain ideology? Yes, they are considered also as lone wolf attackers. I would be free to make my own categorization of them. Massive killers with their own personal agenda. They are not into any kind of ideology but they have their own set of rules they are believing in.The crimes they commit are often connected with passion crimes or pure revenge but what is more for analyzing is the border between massive killer and lone wolf terrorist. Somehow, I believe that massive killers who are indoctrinated with any violent or radical ideology should be named as lone wolf terrorists, if they are operating without any group support.
Lets open the bloody book of mass shootings in the USA in the last 30 years.Since 1984, the USA is fighting with the trend of mass killing. Lately, the attacks were considered as ideologically inspired.
Just for a mention, 50 people were killed and 53 injured in Orlando, Fla., after a gunman stormed into a packed gay nightclub, in June 2016. That was one of the deadliest attack in the modern history by 50 people were killed and 53 injured in Orlando, Fla., after a gunman stormed into a packed gay nightclub. A 29-year-old Omar Mateen made a lone wolf attack but the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria celebrated it as the part of their own strategy. The experts believe he was inspired by radical ideology and wanted to give contribution.
Back in December of 2015, San Bernardino, California : 14 dead and 22 wounded. The killers were U.S.-born Syed Rizwan Farook and Pakistan national Tashfeen Malik, married couple with extremist believes and connected with radical groups but the attack is somewhere in between lone wolf attack and terror cell support.
In November of 2015, it was a clash in Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado: 3 dead and 9 injured by a 57 -year- old Robert Lewis Dear and because of the negative image of this clinic in the public:“Planned Parenthood has been at the center of a heated national debate that supporters said threatened its very existence after a secretly recorded video emerged this summer, showing executives talking about the donation of fetal tissue from abortions for research.” The reasons for his attack were also ideological if we know the standing of some extremists groups within the US, regarding the anti-abortion violence:”Frequent violent protests against abortion clinics, in the form of arson, firebombing, and vandalism, started in the early 1970’s in the U.S. after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade theoretically gave abortion access to all women — at least during their first trimester.One source reported in late 1996, that there has been ‘over $13 million in damage caused by violent anti-abortion groups since 1982 in over 150 arson attacks, bombings, and shootings.” The anti-abortion violence comes from the different supporters and their networks, depending if they belong to pro-life movements, anti-abortion movements or pro-choice movements. The violence is growing since there are many christian fanatical preachers who call for revenge and violence and the situation is definitely ideologically colored in any attack with this motive:“A report prepared by the Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California (PPAC) and quoted in a 2003 California Senate report showed that abortion clinics in that state were torched and bombed more than in any other state: 30 incidences out of 224 crimes nationwide. Most of the clinics in the state who responded reported threats, vandalism, assaults, blockades and other crimes from 1995 to 2000. 30% reported that their personnel was ‘stalked, harassed, threatened and otherwise targeted at their homes or in other places away from clinics and medical offices.’ Other states with large numbers of attacks are: Florida with 19, Texas with 14, New York with nine.” There are 939 hate groups currently operating in the United States, many of which are religiously driven.
It doesn’t surprise the October shooting in Oregon, also in 2015. Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer, white supremacist and anti-religion fanatics with mental issues killed 9 and injured 9 people. The list of shootings is so long, from Isla Vista community , via Charleston, S.C and Fort Hood, TX to Washington D.C. and Santa Monica, CA. The massive killers are coming from the different backgrounds and inspired with the different reasons and some are even ideologically driven but it is very important to conclude that some of them are definitely lone wolf terrorists and that is why the lone wolf terrorism is on the rise and much more dangerous than group terror attack. Free shooter is always more unpredictable than group and team work for disaster.
What about Europe? The bite of Islamic terrorism is the global threat, that is definitely true but when it comes to the ideological driven terrorism, Islamic terrorism share the place with other ideologically based forms of terrorism. The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) states that the Fascist and nationalist ‘lone-wolf’ killers are more deadly than those with extreme Islamic ideas. In their report “Countering Lone Actor Terrorism”, this think thank states the following:” Far-right extremists in Europe present a serious threat which should not be ignored.” The authors firmly believe that this threat is real and not for underestimating. The deadliest lone wolf terrorist was Norwegian mass killer, Anders Breivik who killed 77 and injured of 242 people.
Between 2000 and 2014, 94 people were killed and 260 were injured by far-right lone-wolf terrorists.Lone-wolf Islamists killed 16 and injured 65, but this is also for to be updated because of the latest attacks in France, Nice where Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel killed 84 people and injured hundreds during the National Day Celebration. In spite of DAESH impression of their “soldier who carried the attack”, this one was unknown to counter terrorist radar in Europe but that gives him a chance to be a lone wolf terrorist or fast track radicalized attacker. He was definitely free shooter and not supported by logistic of terrorist group, as far as we know till now.
The problem with lone wolf terrorists is the fact that they can not be predicted or monitored. We never know in what moment our nice neighbor will turn into dangerous massive killer who will change the black statistic. We cant assume which ideology someone will follow and when it will be the breaking point for him to commit a mass killing of people. If group terror attack is a virus of influenza, lets say that lone wolf terror attack is a virus of Ebola. Totally unknown. It can be committed anywhere, anytime by anyone.
This is not only about radicalized islamists who abuse religion for their personal gain or the sake of their madness. This is about any kind of fanatics who will find himself tied with some sort of ideology which gives him a right to hunt without pack, to kill without pack. It is always easier to follow the pack and to find its traces than to follow the lone wolf and his own steps. He could be all around and nowhere. He is beyond our comprehension because we dont know in which way his thoughts are going and on which level of violence he is heading to. We must monitor all. The growing economical disturbances in many countries and difficult financial situation can cause the cracks between targeted individual and system. After he is out of social and system benefits, he might adopt the violent self-defense as a shield. His anti-system feelings could be additionally inspired and fed by aggressive ideologies, no matter if they come from left, right or Islamic sides.They must be observed, not only by intelligence networks but also by the closest family and friends. This is the problem of all of us, to have hatred infected individual and to let him being fed into the monster which will finally eat up all of us.
Lone wolf terrorists are our reality now but we are still pack. The strength of the community against evil must prevail. The good pack must defeat the evil wolf. The good pack must survive.It is a law of the wild world.