Characteristics of Lone-Wolf Violent Offenders: a Comparison of Assassins and School Attackers

Clark McCauley, Sophia Moskalenko, Benjamin Van Son

Abstract


This article is based on the idea that lone-wolf terrorists may have characteristics in common with two other types of lone-actor violent offenders:  assassins and school attackers.  We used data from U.S. Government-sponsored reports to compare the characteristics of these two groups.  Despite obvious demographic differences, results indicate four characteristics common for both school attackers and assassins: perceived grievance, depression, a personal crisis (‘unfreezing’), and history of weapons use outside the military.  These characteristics may be useful in distinguishing lone-wolfs from group-based terrorists.



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ENHANCING SECURITY THROUGH COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH

Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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