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Bombing Alone: Tracing the Motivations and Antecedent Behaviors of Lone-Actor Terrorists

Gill, P; Horgan, J; Deckert, P; (2014) Bombing Alone: Tracing the Motivations and Antecedent Behaviors of Lone-Actor Terrorists. Journal of Forensic Sciences , 59 (2) pp. 425-435. 10.1111/1556-4029.12312. Green open access

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Abstract

This article analyzes the sociodemographic network characteristics and antecedent behaviors of 119 lone-actor terrorists. This marks a departure from existing analyses by largely focusing upon behavioral aspects of each offender. This article also examines whether lone-actor terrorists differ based on their ideologies or network connectivity. The analysis leads to seven conclusions. There was no uniform profile identified. In the time leading up to most lone-actor terrorist events, other people generally knew about the offender's grievance, extremist ideology, views, and/or intent to engage in violence. A wide range of activities and experiences preceded lone actors' plots or events. Many but not all lone-actor terrorists were socially isolated. Lone-actor terrorists regularly engaged in a detectable and observable range of activities with a wider pressure group, social movement, or terrorist organization. Lone-actor terrorist events were rarely sudden and impulsive. There were distinguishable behavioral differences between subgroups. The implications for policy conclude this article.

Type: Article
Title: Bombing Alone: Tracing the Motivations and Antecedent Behaviors of Lone-Actor Terrorists
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.12312
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1556-4029.12312
Additional information: © 2013 American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Full text made available to UCL Discovery by kind permission of Wiley.
Keywords: forensic science; terrorism; terrorist behavior; lone-actor terrorism; lone-wolf terrorism; typology; motivation;
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1360089
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