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Background and Preparatory Behaviours of Right-Wing Extremist Lone Actors: A Comparative Study


perspectives-on-terrorism-10-5Journal abstract

The threat posed by lone actors ranks high on the list of terrorism-related security concerns. In recent years especially, discussions about these perpetrators have focused primarily on those associated with, or inspired by, Islamic State and other jihadist entities. However, a significant portion of lone actors actually hail from right-wing extremist milieus. This article serves to draw attention to this subcategory of lone-actor terrorists, with a particular focus on their backgrounds and pre-attack behaviours. To that end, two datasets are presented that allow a comparison to be made between right-wing extremist lone actors and other ideologically-motivated lone actors. While several differences are noted, perhaps the most surprising finding is the degree of similarity between right-wing extremist lone actors and those adhering to different ideological currents. The results contribute to a knowledge-base that can inform discussion about whether risk assessment tools and protocols should differentiate between ideological categories of lone actor terrorists.

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