As the White House prepares to host a major summit examining the threat of violent extremism…a Southern Poverty Law Center study of domestic terrorism…finds that the vast majority of this violence is coming from “lone wolves” or “leaderless resistance” groups composed of no more than two people.
The report – Age of the Wolf: A Study of the Rise of Lone Wolf and Leaderless Resistance Terrorism (download a PDF)– examines more than 60 domestic terror incidents. Almost three-quarters of the incidents were carried out, or planned, by a lone wolf, a single person acting without accomplices. Ninety percent of the incidents were the work of no more than two persons.
The study, which included violence from both the radical right and homegrown jihadists, also found that a domestic terrorist attack or foiled attack occurred, on average, every 34 days. It covered a period between April 1, 2009 and Feb. 1, 2015, and was based on records maintained by Indiana State University and the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database, along with the SPLC’s own roster of apparent domestic terror incidents…
A timeline included with the report details a lengthy list of deadly attacks and plots across the country. They include a 2014 rampage in Nevada by a husband and wife with anti-government views that left two police officers and another man dead, a 2012 attack on a Wisconsin Sikh temple by a long-time neo-Nazi that killed six victims, and a 2010 attack that left an Internal Revenue Service manager dead after a man who had attended radical anti-tax group meetings crashed his single-engine plane into an IRS office in Austin, Texas.
RTFA – and please consider reading the report. The SPLC has been around forever and they are a great source for thoroughly documented reports on the nutballs who constitute a threat to us all.
25 thoughts on “Lone Wolf domestic terrorism on the rise”
The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma_City_bombing
‘Trolling for Assassins’ : Four New Mexico Groups are identified on an ultra rightwing group’s “anti-Christian bigotry map” they say incites violence http://www.sfreporter.com/santafe/article-10044-trolling-for-assassins.html
“Amazon, PayPal and Spotify inadvertently fund white supremacists. Here’s how.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2015/03/17/amazon-paypal-and-spotify-inadvertently-fund-white-supremacists-heres-how/
“New Mexico man accused of building bombs, rocket launcher enters plea” http://krqe.com/2015/04/14/new-mexico-man-accused-of-building-bombs-rocket-launcher-enters-plea/
“According to a New America Foundation report, right-wing extremists have killed nearly twice as many Americans through domestic terrorism as “jihadists” have since 9/11. However, the same database shows that Muslims constitute a much higher percentage of those indicted on terrorism charges or killed when confronted by authorities. Despite being responsible for only 35 percent of the terrorism casualties, they account for 60 percent of terrorism indictments. The reason for the discrepancy is that right-wing extremists tend not to be monitored or investigated as heavily.
Shortly after President Barack Obama’s election — particularly after a groundbreaking 2009 Department of Homeland Security report on the threat of right-wing extremism — Republican lawmakers, along with conservative media and lobbying groups, argued that the White House was politicizing the term “extremism” in order to deploy law enforcement against otherwise lawful dissidents, such as those affiliated with the tea party.
In order to help defuse this narrative, national security agencies were tightly restricted in how they may monitor and prosecute right-wing groups. The Department of Homeland Security was stripped down to the point that it has one analyst to monitor all non-Muslim domestic terrorist activity — and the organization no longer collects any statistics on right-wing extremists.
There was no discussion of the threat posed by these ideologues at the recent White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. In fact, law enforcement and national security agencies are generally hesitant to refer to acts committed by right-wing ideologues as terrorism.” http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2015/7/americas-biggest-terror-threat-is-from-the-far-right.html
Frazier Glenn Cross, a U.S. military veteran and a white supremacist who killed three people at two Jewish centers in Kansas city last year, was sentenced Tuesday to death by legal injection, media in the United States reported Wednesday. http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Kansas-White-Supremacist-Gets-Death-for-Murders-at-Jewish-Sites-20151111-0009.html Cross, a former senior member of the Ku Klux Klan, was convicted of the three murders. He was also convicted of three counts of attempted murder for shooting at three other people. As the judge announced the verdict, Cross, 74, seemed defiant. He gave the “Heil Hitler” salute and was forcibly removed from the courtroom. “One day my spirit will rise from the grave and you’ll know I was right. I’m a happy man,” he said on the way out. In court on Tuesday, as he did during the trial, Cross said he wanted to kill Jews because he believes they control the media, financial institutions and the government. “Jews are destroying the white race,” he said, calling himself a patriot. None of those he killed were Jewish.
“William Keebler, who leads the citizen militia group called the Patriots Defense Force in Utah, was arrested after attempting to bomb a Bureau of Land Management cabin in Arizona. Keebler was at the 2014 standoff with federal agents at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada, and had traveled to the Arizona cabin last year with Arizona rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, who participated in the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, and died in a confrontation with agents. …After Finicum’s death, Keebler and members of his militia group discussed repercussions against a government they said was harassing people and imposing overreaching restrictions on ranchers, according to the FBI. The militia group scouted out a BLM office in downtown Salt Lake City but abandoned the idea because it was near a shopping mall and homeless population, making it highly visible. Instead, they settled on the BLM cabin in Mt. Trumbull.” (Las Vegas Review-Journal (AP); 06/24/2016) http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/bundy-blm/utah-militia-leader-bundy-ties-planned-bombing-fbi-says
After LaVoy Finecum’s family indicated that William Keebler, the Utah man who is facing charges for placing a bomb at a cabin on Bureau of Land Management land in the Arizona Strip, would be helping the family with security, members of a Utah militia group claim they warned a spokesperson for the family that Keebler was violent and that the family should not associate with him. (Salt Lake Tribune; 06/28/2016) http://www.sltrib.com/home/4048563-155/militia-members-say-they-warned-finicum
“America’s lone-wolf terrorists are unpredictable in almost every regard—except one” http://qz.com/807997/lone-wolf-terrorists-gun-control-us/ “Over the past two decades, lone-wolf attacks have become the dominant form of terrorism in the US, and now top intelligence and law enforcement officials’ list of concerns. These terrorist attacks are extremely difficult to prevent because assailants operate solo and, therefore, often under the radar of law enforcement. Their motives are frequently a tangle of personal and political grievances, societal alienation, and mental health issues. While much remains perplexing about sole perpetrators, data shows one thing for sure: they almost always use guns.
This wasn’t always the case but since the 1993 World Trade Center bombing a proliferation of laws has made it harder for individuals to build bombs while at the same time legislation regulating access to firearms has been relaxed. Ultimately though, it’s just a lot easier and safer to use a firearm than it is to successfully build a bomb. That reliability becomes more crucial as terrorists shift from “hard” to “soft” targets – unprotected places full of civilians, such as malls or restaurants.
“Easy access to guns coupled with extensive media attention makes a mass shooting a more attractive option for a terrorist,” says Adam Winkler, author of “Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms”. As individuals see successful firearm attacks, they start copying those tactics—making these attacks more frequent, and subsequently more frequently copied, according to Michael Jensen, a researcher for the Global Terrorism Database, at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses (START) http://www.start.umd.edu/
“Game theory has long been used to apply mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational decision-makers. However, our world has evolved from great power conflicts to one where many of our major problems are spawned not from monolithic blocks of self-interest, but from a vast array of single entities making highly individual choices: from lone wolf terrorists to corrupt officials, tax evaders, isolated hackers or even armies of botnets and packages of malware. Game theory needs to catch up and new research by mathematicians, led by Professor Vassili Kolokoltsov at the University of Warwick, has just found the way to do that by giving game theory calculations an enormous army of “agents”. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-10/uow-gta102016.php
Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS) database released http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20170111-profiles-of-individual-radicalization-in-the-united-states-pirus-database-released “The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START http://www.start.umd.edu/ ) has released its latest data tool, the Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS) dataset. PIRUS is a cross-sectional, quantitative dataset of individuals in the United States who radicalized to the point of violent or non-violent ideologically motivated criminal activity, or ideologically motivated association with a foreign or domestic extremist organization from 1948 until 2013. The full dataset is available at http://www.start.umd.edu/pirus. In addition, relevant variables from the full PIRUS dataset are presented in the Keshif visualization platform at http://www.start.umd.edu/keshif-pirus. START researchers recently submitted a report to the National Institute of Justice based on the PIRUS data “Empirical Assessment of Domestic Radicalization (EADR)” http://www.start.umd.edu/publication/empirical-assessment-domestic-radicalization-eadr
“Las Vegas Shooter Stephen Paddock: What We Know So Far : “Lone wolf” gunman behind deadly mass shooting was 64-year-old gambling enthusiast who lived outside Las Vegas” (Rolling Stone, Oct 2, 2017) http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/las-vegas-shooter-stephen-paddock-what-we-know-so-far-w506562
“The Las Vegas Shooter Didn’t Just “Snap.” They Never Do. Here’s what helps explain the meticulously planned massacre.” http://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2017/10/the-las-vegas-shooter-didnt-just-snap-they-never-do/ “…Coined by pioneers of the evolving field of threat assessment, the “pathway to violence” refers to a series of escalating behaviors leading to an attack, which can comprise a crucial period of time for possible intervention. Typically this process begins with a deep-seated grievance that turns to motivation, followed by planning and then an act of targeted violence. Though the process varies widely in its circumstances and duration, it precedes virtually all mass shootings.”
See also “Inside the Race to Stop the Next Mass Shooter” (2015) http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/10/mass-shootings-threat-assessment-shooter-fbi-columbine/
Coast Guard officer accused of plotting to kill Democrats, journalists https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/20/coast-guard-officer-domestic-terror-1176806 Officials with the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland outlined Lt. Hasson’s alleged plans to spark chaos and destruction, describing in court documents a man obsessed with neo-fascist and neo-Nazi views. See descriptions of motivation and intent in the Motion for detention pending trial Case 8:19-mj-00063-GLS Filed 02/19/1 https://static.politico.com/c9/cb/27ca4af24fd59221782690222bdc/093110064281.pdf
“It is important that we don’t just write off the story of Christopher Hasson as a “lone wolf” tale, one man gone bad for indiscernible reasons. He is a micro part of the macro problem that has become the growing white nationalist movement in America. If we don’t acknowledge his existence, and the forces which empowered him, then we do everyone in our country a disservice.” George M Johnson https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/coast-guard-lt-christopher-paul-hasson-mass-murder-plot-terrorism-democrats-media-maga-trump-a8791311.html
● ‘Lone wolf’ attacks aren’t random, they’re strategy (Baltimore Sun 0ct 2018) https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-rr-1030-lone-wolf-letter-20181030-story.html
● A Look Into the Evidence That ‘Lone Wolf’ Terrorists Are a Pack : Studies find that many of them connect with like-minded believers online and broadcast their ideology and intentions before they act. (Pacific Standard Oct 2018) https://psmag.com/news/a-look-into-the-evidence-that-lone-wolf-terrorists-are-a-pack
● Social media is a ‘force multiplier’ for a lone wolf on the edge (The Hill Nov 2018) https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/414643-social-media-is-a-force-multiplier-for-a-lone-wolf-on-the-edge
● What to do about lone wolf terrorism? Examining current trends and strategies. (Foreign Policy Research Institute Nov 2018) https://www.fpri.org/article/2018/11/what-to-do-about-lone-wolf-terrorism-examining-current-trends-and-prevention-strategies/
“Why is the violent far right still able to organize online?” https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/violent-organise-online-190721185447179.html
“Traditionally, we used to think that the alt-right were motivated by poverty or sheer racism, by people who felt abandoned – ‘the left behinds’. That’s no longer the case and what we don’t know is why. That’s what alarms me. Without this, we can’t form a strategy to counteract it.”
Russell Foster, a lecturer in Britain and European Integration from King’s College London.
“‘The Great Replacement : The Violent Consequences of Mainstreamed Extremism” Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) July 2019 https://www.isdglobal.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/The-Great-Replacement-The-Violent-Consequences-of-Mainstreamed-Extremism-by-ISD.pdf
The White Privilege of the “Lone Wolf” Shooter (Oct 2, 2017 – in response to the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history). See also Columbia Journalism Review https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/the-media-today-gun-laws-fake-news-and-race-covering-the-vegas-shooting.php
“There are no lone wolves.” By Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security and faculty chair of the homeland security program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. (Washington Post August 4, 2019) https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/04/there-are-no-lone-wolves/?utm_term=.eb00fe202877 “There are no lone wolves. A mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso on Saturday was allegedly perpetrated by a young, white male, according to police, who appears to have posted a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto online minutes before the attack, declaring the need to fight the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Such white-supremacist hatred isn’t just a poisonous belief held by isolated individuals. It is a group phenomenon that is, according to the FBI, the greatest terrorist threat to America. [ https://www.salon.com/2019/07/24/fbi-director-to-congress-most-domestic-terror-cases-are-driven-by-white-supremacist-violence/ ]
See also “If terrorists attacked Dayton, El Paso and Gilroy, would America do nothing?” https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/08/04/gilroy-el-paso-dayton-become-latest-killing-grounds-assault-rifles/1914804001/ “In 216 days of this year, there have been 251 mass shootings leaving 520 dead and 2,000 wounded. And yet Congress does nothing to try to stem the carnage. If a terror organization exploiting weaknesses in the nation’s defenses launched three attacks on America in a week, you can be damn sure Congress would cut short its recess to act. So what’s the difference?”
p/s: “Just before a shooter killed 20 in El Paso, the NRA celebrated looser Texas gun laws” https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-08-04/nra-celebrated-looser-texas-gun-laws-before-el-paso-shooting
“FBI faces skepticism over its efforts against domestic terrorism” (Washington Post 8/5/19) https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/fbi-faces-skepticism-over-its-anti-domestic-terror-efforts/2019/08/04/c9c928bc-b6e0-11e9-b3b4-2bb69e8c4e39_story.html?utm_term=.314dde81a5ed “The FBI insists it is fully engaged in combating the threat of violence from white supremacists, but some former federal officials charge that the government is still coming up short in the face of a strain of American terrorism that now seems resurgent.”
“…Dave Gomez, a former FBI supervisor who oversaw terrorism cases, said he thinks FBI officials are wary of pursuing white nationalists aggressively because of the fierce political debates surrounding the issue. “I believe Christopher A. Wray is an honorable man, but I think in many ways the FBI is hamstrung in trying to investigate the white supremacist movement like the old FBI would,” Gomez said. “There’s some reluctance among agents to bring forth an investigation that targets what the president perceives as his base. It’s a no-win situation for the FBI agent or supervisor.”
Gomez said that reluctance stems in large part from the public criticism President Trump has launched against the FBI over the course of the bureau’s investigation into Russian election interference and the president’s conduct.
“I don’t think there’s any faith by the FBI right now that the Justice Department is an independent law enforcement organization,” he said. “I think the FBI is up to the challenge of investigating white nationalism and white supremacy as a domestic terrorism threat, they just have to be allowed to do it.”
An FBI spokesperson disputed those claims.
“Texas teen arrested after grandmother thwarts mass shooting plan” (8/5/19) https://nypost.com/2019/08/05/texas-teen-arrested-after-grandmother-thwarts-mass-shooting-plan/
“…His rented hotel room was searched by officers who uncovered the AK-47 rifle, 17 magazines loaded with ammunition, multiple knives, a black trench coat, a black T-shirt that read “Let ‘Em Come,” and black fingerless gloves, prosecutors said.”
FYI: “Americans need to know there are people out there who still care with total disregard for themselves,” said Mark “Oz” Geist. “The phrase on the shirt, ‘let ‘em come’ is what I said during the Benghazi battle [the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya] Those who have read the book “13 Hours” or watched the movie of the same name will recognize that and I hope will wear this shirt proudly.” See https://www.ammoland.com/2019/01/mark-oz-geist-quest-2019-nra-board-directors/ [T shirts utilizing this slogan are available from several companies in various designs].
Dec 26, 2020 at 3:18pm: “Anthony Quinn Warner Named as Nashville Bombing Person of Interest”
“More than a year before Anthony Warner detonated a bomb in the downtown area of the US city of Nashville Tennessee on Christmas Day, officers visited his home after his girlfriend told police that he was building bombs in a recreational vehicle (RV) trailer at his residence, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. But they were unable to make contact with him, or see inside his RV.” https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/30/police-had-warning-in-2019-about-nashville-bomber
So, they walked away and never returned. Community policing – American style.