Freelance Terrorism

Freelance terrorism describes the actions of individuals or small groups who take it upon themselves to act against a target without the direct support of a terrorist organization. Their actions are largely the outcome of their own rage, although they have usually been encouraged, subliminally or otherwise, by others harboring similar hatred. Such is the case when extremist animal rights and environmental groups invite individuals visiting their Web sites or reading their literature to join the cause and launch an attack on the objects of their incendiary rhetoric.

Almost by definition, freelance terrorists, or “lone wolves” as they are sometimes called, are not tied to any traditional terrorist group—or any other group, for that matter. This is not to say that at one time they might have been a card-carrying member of some type of terrorist organization; they might even have obtained some financial support ...

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