Recent attacks have demonstrated the effectiveness of lone wolf attacks. These attacks are recognized by their seeming randomness; these attacks are generally performed by an individual or a small group of people that had seemingly little or no ties to major political or terrorist groups. With the increasing number occurring internationally, police and security forces seem to be at a loss on how to prevent them. So, what can be done by the rest of us?
The fact that lone wolf attacks are on the rise should come as no surprise. While the attacks are generally noted for their extreme violence in a short period of time, it is nothing new. Violent and unexpected attacks by individuals have long been part of our awareness. Whether it involved school shootings and massacres, workplace violence, or just plain terror attacks such as the murder of a French priest at the steps of his parish, these attacks directly affect the way we see the world around us.
Citizens feel less safe in their neighborhoods. Businesses suffer and lose money due to fewer tourists. Entire infrastructures are affected due to the actions of a few. In some cases, the government may even transition as a result of the attacks. Public policy is a fickle creature, and the demands of the masses can sway those policies drastically.
Some of the most effective techniques to thwart these attacks include the encouraging of citizens to report not only crimes, but suspicious activities. These clues, which may seem insignificant, help police and security forces piece together a potential larger attack. In the recent case of Metro police officer Nicholas Young, who is accused of providing material support to ISIS, this is exactly what happened.
Authorities within his department reported potential issues in 2011 when Young told people he had traveled to Libya multiple times to fight Moammar Gaddafi. He made threats to kidnap and torture a FBI agent who questioned him, informants, and bring weapons into a federal court. The investigations into his actions painted a string of incidents which resulted in additional scrutiny being applied. He was arrested on August 3, 2016 after making contact with people he believed were potential ISIS fighters attempting to be recruited, and providing them with calling card codes to assist them in doing so. Further, he advised an undercover agent on the way to sneak into Syria without being caught.
The likelihood is that none of these issues would have been identified if local people had not reported the previous incidents. In 2007, a bomb plot was thwarted in Germany because a concerned local citizen reported the group of three individuals suspiciously observing a US Air Force base in Hanau. With police alerted, the suspects were later arrested with over 1,500 pounds of explosives packed into car bombs.
Lone wolf attackers make mistakes just like terrorist groups. Since it is more difficult for the authorities to recognize these mistakes, it is often up to the local citizens to report suspicious activities in order to help the authorities identify potential threats.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.