Are "Lone Wolf Attacks" Stoppable?
By Denessa Bacallan


Lone Wolf Attacks

We have to accept that we live in a world today where “Lone Wolf Attacks” are going to become an ever more present day thing. Young, unaffiliated “lone wolf” terrorists present a huge challenge to intelligence agencies across the world. They are unpredictable, untrackable and almost impossible to stop in advance, as seen by this week’s attacks in New York & New Jersey. Just like Israel the United States faces an ever more threat of a “Lone Wolf Attack”. So what a four signs that we can look for in a “Lone Wolf Attacker”? Where else better to turn then Israel’s IDF.

1. Build an attacker profile

A lone wolf attacker can be anyone, but they’re more likely to fit a certain profile. If we look over the past few years we can find patterns to these attacks.

Most attackers who carry out these attacks are usually from the same area of the world hailing from a handful of countries. The attackers are most likely to be young, usually below 24 years of age, and sometimes even minors. About 90% of them are male and attackers. These attackers are motivated by the perceived success of terror attacks carried out by other who the admire, and are inspired to attack in turn.

2. Track the warning signs

Most people who fit the profile of an attacker will never become one. In order to find the people who present a high risk of radicalization, intelligence will flag individuals who are exhibiting warning signs. Those signs can be posts on social media that glorify terror, express suicidal thoughts, or express intent to attack. If a potential attacker hasn’t driven a car in six months, but suddenly rents an unregistered vehicle, it could indicate that he or she is about to carry out a car ramming attack. These are the things that Law Enforcement are looking for. Intelligence officers analyze high-risk cases, and if a potential attacker poses a threat, there are different approaches that security forces can take. Arresting the terrorist before they can carry out an attack can save dozens of lives. Sometimes, though, the situation calls for a discussion with a potential attacker’s family to bring their social media posts to their attention, or notifying the local law enforcement.

3. Don’t let weapons fall into their hands

While terror itself can be impossible to prevent, the number of casualties can be reduced by ensuring that weapons are harder to get. Yes, I know that this is a big deal here in the United States, However the IDF has taken this stand “While there’s no way to ban knives and cars, two of the weapons of choice in the wave of terror, reducing the number of illegal guns in Judea and Samaria can save countless lives.” (IDF.Blog, 7/27/16) However the resent attacker were bomb driven we cannot limit household items, such were used in the New York & New Jersey attacks.

4. Fight conventional terror and incitement

Even as lone wolf attacks rise, established terror groups like ISIS continue operating. By praising and celebrating attacks and terrorists, more young people are motivated and inspired to do the same. Other sources of incitement can be preachers, friends on social media, television programs, and even music. By recognizing incitement to violence and reacting to it, terror attacks can be prevented.

The more terror attacks are thwarted, the more communities, towns, and families see that terror doesn’t pay. This means less young people are inspired to carry out attacks of their own, which means less lone wolf terrorism overall.

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