FOCUS: "Surviving Lone Wolf Terrorist Attacks"
Over 10,000 terrorist attacks occurred in 2011, affecting nearly 45,000 victims in 70 countries and resulting in over 12,500 deaths. More than half of the people killed last year were civilians and 755 were children. However, the total number of worldwide attacks in 2011 was reduced by almost 12 percent from 2010 and nearly 29 percent from 2007.
Even though vigilance from civilians and routine counter-terrorist surveillance conducted by law enforcement agencies have helped to curtail many more of these types of threats within America’s borders, lone wolf terrorists are considerably more difficult to gather intelligence on because they often exist beyond the eyes and ears of law enforcement.
The term "lone wolf" is used by US law enforcement agencies and the media to refer to those solitary individuals who plan or initiate violent acts of terrorism, without any outside command or direction, in order to advance the ideological or philosophical beliefs of an extremist group.
Therefore, what are the motivations of these lone wolf terrorists?
Some lone wolves act in response to the perception of excessively aggressive and over-reaching government agencies. Timothy McVeigh, for example, was enraged by the events at Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas and was “inspired” to retaliate on behalf of anti-government fundamentalists.
Some are based on terrorizing people of different races, faiths or sexual orientation, such as the shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin by lone suspect Wade Michael Page.
However, many recent lone wolves have yet to disclose the reason for their actions. Nidal Malik Hasan (sole suspect in the Fort Hood shooting) and James E. Holmes (sole suspect in the Aurora theater shooting in Colorado) come to mind.
On this episode of Focus, Kathy Lehr talks with Edward R. Bridgeman about what law enforcement agencies are doing in order to keep us safe.
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