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Based on the required readings this week by Gartenstein-Ross, Michael, and Upadhyay, summarize the psychological and behavioral factors that appear to be most prevalent among lone wolf terrorists. Additionally, do you see these terrorists as primarily focused on domestic inspirations or international causes? 

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1. This weeks forum discussion brings up the idea of a ‘Lone Wolf’ and leaderless resistance. 

What are some of the psychological and behavioral factors that appear to be most prevalent among lone wolf terrorist?

Since the tragedy of 9/11, lone wolf actors have become the predominant issue regarding terrorist actions around the world. Lone-wolf terrorist carry out their intent without direct support from sponsoring organizations. Through research it is clear that one prevalent pyschological trait that stuck out was how impulsive and reactionary these people can be.  The motivation to carry out violence stems from a skewed understanding that those that may follow or support a specific cause would do the same. Much care and admiration  for a certain belief is required for someone to start down this path. From a psychological standpoint, there have been countless terrorist throughout history who have not suffered from mental disorder and still have terrorist like behavior. In  the case of Vera Zasulich, who was an anti-czarist, was radicalized by the mistreatment of one of her fellow students at a peaceful activist rally. With that happening, she felt that the people in charge should die and attempted to assassinate General-Govenor Trepov. After shooting the Govenor, she should stood by and awaited the police (Moskalenko & McCauley, 2011). She knowingly committed the crime understanding the circumstances under her own reasoning. Her ending was much different than most terrorist who commit crime, but it ties into the original thought that having a passion towards something and becoming triggered was something many terrorist have in common. 

Do you see terrorist being focused towards domestic inspirations or international causes?

During this time and age it seems like most terrorist are triggered by what is actively occuring around them. Whether it be political disagreements, the leader of a specific movement, the integration of new technology, or even a president. The lone-wolf attacks in an open and free society, which makes it simpler for these individuals to move, but also commit these crimes (Gartenstein-Ross, 2014). The international causes have somewhat taken a back seat to the domestic occurrences terrorists readily observe. However, I don’t think the international issues aren’t causing prbolems that those its affecting, but in regards to terrorist attacks, I do not believe they are higher on the radar of lone-wolf terrorist. 

2.  Discussion Questions: Based on the required readings this week by Gartenstein-Ross, Michael, and Upadhyay, summarize the psychological and behavioral factors that appear to be most prevalent among lone wolf terrorists. Additionally, do you see these terrorists as primarily focused on domestic inspirations or international causes?

Throughout all of the assigned readings for the week it is apparent that the majority of lone wolf terrorists at some point in their life endured some form of mental anguish.  Upadhyay stated that the actors of lone terror have “suffered abuse at the hands of their parents during their childhood, had breakdowns, were mentally unbalanced, had gone through a tough phase in life or were conditioned through contact with their supposedly devout families”.

In the Case Study done by Daveed Garenstein-Ross he stated that there is a “cognitive event” or some sort of alienation, discrimination, loss of a job, or a death in the family that causes a person to question their own identity.  This process has been known to cause individuals to be more susceptible to seeking out or taking on a new identity.  Also during a time of crisis people are more apt to become easily influenced by others. 

The article written by George Michael shed some light on individual subsets of the lone wolf terrorist communities.  Something I had never considered as terrorist activity was highlighted in regards to animal rights activists.  While I do not condone violence or aggressive behavior I feel as though these people have every right to protest and slander businesses that facilitate the use of animals for testing.  I have to be honest in saying that I do not believe these groups should be considered as lone terrorists as they are fighting for animal rights where those living creatures have no voice. I’m sure there will be a debate regarding my stance on the topic, however, I would enjoy hearing someone else’s thoughts who disagrees.

To continue with the topic for the week, I think it is difficult to say if the main focus of a lone terrorist is primarily domestic issues or international causes.  These acts of lone terrorism are inspired by the environment in which the person affected is surrounded by, the amount of technology they are exposed to, the person’s current mental state, and the personal opinion on the world around them or at least what is in their purview.