One of our most controversial recent posts addressed the attraction that accused Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik felt toward Darwinism. We pointed out that that wasn’t exactly a flash in the pan, not if you count the Columbine murderers and the Finnish one. Ah yes, one of the many Things You Are Never Supposed to Say – that we just came right out and said. Which is exactly why you are reading Uncommon Descent, and not Schmooz Nooz.
Breivik seems to have been mostly his own political movement – a “lone wolf,” in the jargon. And security analyst Stewart Scott provides a bit of useful information on the lone wolf terrorist, here:
Modern lone-wolf terrorism is widely considered to have emerged in the 1800s, when fanatical individuals bent on effecting political change demonstrated that a solitary actor could impact history. Leon Czolgosz, the anarchist who assassinated U.S. President William McKinley in 1901, was one such lone wolf.
Scott gains credibility with us right away when he points to historical events instead of evoking some flapdoodle about human evolution. He could be wrong, but at least it’s discussable.
He notes that one factor in the growth of lone wolf terrorism is increasing government surveillance of organized terror – which increases the value (to sponsors of terror) of those who simply act alone. However, these lone wolves are, luckily, uncommon and usually unsuccessful.
It is a rare individual who possesses the requisite combination of will, discipline, adaptability, resourcefulness and technical skill to make the leap from theory to practice and become a successful lone wolf. Immaturity, impatience and incompetence are frequently the bane of failed lone-wolf operators, who also frequently lack a realistic assessment of their capabilities and tend to attempt attacks that are far too complex.
Scott advocates a common-sense approach that does not endanger the civil liberties of the majority in order to detect a few random misfits:
Lone attackers are not mythical creatures that come out of nowhere to inflict harm. They follow a process and are vulnerable to detection at certain times during that process. Cutting through the hype is an important step in dispelling the mystique and addressing the problems posed by such individuals in a realistic and practical way.
“Cutting through the Lone Wolf Hype,” Townhall, September 23, 2011
Scott’s a good antidote to the all-too-frequent demand, “We’ve got to do something (= just anything) right now, to prove we care!” – which amounts to saying, “We’ve got to be part of the problem, not the solution.”
After all, if lone wolves thought we didn’t care, they wouldn’t bother with human targets anyway.
Caring is not Part of the Solution, it is just inevitable background noise. Intelligent strategy is part of the solution.