Lone wolf terrorism lends itself to the execution of large numbers of people and the spread of extremist ideology, but they pose less of a threat to Western nations than organized extremist groups. Lone attacks require less strategy and funding, fewer resources, are more difficult to target with state counterterrorism campaigns, and can penetrate ‘high security’ states more effectively than groups, so the attacks are more likely to succeed. Additionally, lone actors are highly susceptible to propaganda and messaging from extremist groups, and they are often radicalized online, making them difficult to track. Conversely, when organized extremist groups do manage a successful attack on Western soil, their strategies--such as attrition and provocation--are more effective in imposing costs on a state in order to make change, so therefore they pose a larger threat to Western states than lone wolf terrorists. Lone wolf attacks may kill more people in the US than organized terror groups, but they do not pose a threat to the state itself in the way attacks by organized extremist groups do.
Toevs, Adeline W.
"Analyzing Threat: Organized Extremist Groups vs. Lone Wolf Terrorists in the Context of Islamist Extremism,"
The Commons: Puget Sound Journal of Politics: Vol. 1
, Article 1.
Available at: https://soundideas.pugetsound.edu/thecommons/vol1/iss1/1
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