The Show on KJZZ

Is The Idea Of 'Lone Wolf' Terrorism True?

Published: Friday, October 26, 2018 - 12:38pm
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Authorities announced this morning they have arrested a man they say is connected to the nearly a dozen packages mailed to Democratic leaders containing what appeared to be homemade pipe bombs.

Now the question turns to an image many of us have formed in our imagination: the “lone wolf” act of terrorism. It’s something we’ve seen so many times in post 9/11 America. Could this be another instance?

While there’s still much to learn about the developing mail bomb situation, the instances of “lone actors” do have precedent — there was Omar Mateen, the 29-year-old man who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in 2016 and Stephen Paddock, who killed 58 people in Las Vegas just last year — these men seemed to engineer alone their heinous acts.

But a growing body of research suggests actors like these are actually far from “alone.”

To delve into this research, The Show got a hold of David C. Hofmann. He studies terrorism and political violence at the University of New Brunswick in Canada, and his latest research looks at the social networks of these so-called “lone wolves.”

First described where the idea of the "lone wolf" comes from and why it’s taken hold in popular thought.

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