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Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growing Threatby Jeffrey D Simon
Synopses & Reviews
A new era in terrorism is emerging and the lone wolf is at the forefront. From Anders Breivik in Norway, who murdered scores of young people in a bombing and mass-shooting attack, to Nidal Malik Hasan in the United States, who killed many of his fellow soldiers after opening fire at a military base, lone wolves have demonstrated that they can be as dangerous as organized terrorist groups. Who are these terrorists and what can be done about them?
An internationally renowned terrorism expert presents the first comprehensive treatment of this important issue. After delving into the diversity in motivations and backgrounds of lone-wolf terrorists, Simon makes the following key points about this growing threat:
• Lone wolves have proven to be more creative and dangerous than many terrorist groups.
• The Internet has provided the perfect breeding ground for isolated individuals with terrorist tendencies, but it may also prove to be their undoing.
• The common perception that nothing can be done about lone wolves is wrong. In fact, innovative strategies and policies can be developed to both prevent and respond to this type of terrorism.
• Few women are in this category, but this is likely to change in the coming years.
• Lone wolves are not just Islamist extremists, but can be found among all types of political and religious ideologies.
Drawing on his more than twenty-five years of experience studying terrorism, Simon has produced an insightful book that is essential reading for anyone concerned about the potential terrorist threats from violence-prone individuals in our midst.
"Terrorism expert Simon (The Terrorist Trap) explores the potential threat posed by a single person, or 'lone wolf,' in this unsettling look into how the current political and technological landscape has radicalized and empowered dangerous individuals. Defining 'terrorism' is difficult — the U.S. State Department's definition is fluid, underscoring 'premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatants' without directly addressing the hazard of lone wolves like Timothy McVeigh; Anders Breivik, the Norwegian who killed 77 people in and around Oslo; and Nidal Malik Hasan, who opened fire at Fort Hood and killed 13 people. Simon explains that since the late 1880s, terrorism has come in distinct waves: the anarchist, the anti-colonial, the New Left, the religious, and now, overlapping with its predecessor, the technological. The author stresses the importance of the Internet, which has allowed radical outliers to participate in extremist communities via chat rooms, forums, and message boards, but Simon doesn't peg technology as merely an accessory to crime — he lays out several technological tactics to apprehend lone wolves, from increasing CCTV surveillance to investing in the study of biometrics. There's little to take comfort in, but Simon does a fine job separating unfounded fears from true threats. Photos. Agent: Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Jeffrey D. Simon, Ph.D. (Santa Monica, CA), is president of Political Risk Assessment Company, Inc. and a visiting lecturer at UCLA. A former RAND Corporation analyst, he is the author of The Terrorist Trap: America's Experience with Terrorism, which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. His writings on terrorism have appeared in many publications, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, Foreign Policy, and the New York Times. Dr. Simon is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Terrorism and Political Violence.
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