According to the Department of Homeland Security (2015) a homegrown violent extremist is “a person of any citizenship who has lived or operated primarily in the United States or its territories who advocates, is engaged in, or is preparing to engage in ideologically motivated terrorist activities (including providing material support to terrorism) in furtherance of political or social objectives promoted by a terrorist organization, but who is acting independently of direction by a terrorist organization”. While the definition of homegrown violent extremists by the Department of Homeland Security appears to specify objectives by a terrorist organization, many lone wolf terrorists have acted in part because of their beliefs. There are five basic types of lone wolfs including secular, religious, single-issue, criminal, and...
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... violent extremists have shown a “loner” personality, no different than lone wolf terrorists of the past. These lone wolf terrorists can be of particular difficulty to track down and prevent their attacks since they likely keep their intentions and plans to themselves. Social media and the Internet also provides new problems for authorities that did not exist in past. Lone wolfs terrorist can use the internet to become racialized while remaining as “loners” and use that same internet to plan their attacks and even to help guide them in making deadly weapons. However, that same internet may become the one major downfall to the lone wolf terrorist and end up being a larger benefit to authorities. International terror groups appear to remain to be the main cause for concern. However, that may change if mass shootings and attacks by lone wolfs continue to increase.
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