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Characteristics of Lone-Wolf Violent Offenders: a Comparison of Assassins and School Attackers


Characteristics of Lone-Wolf Violent Offenders: a Comparison of Assassins and School Attackers

Abstract: 
This article is based on the idea that lone-wolf terrorists may have characteristics in common with two other types of lone-actor violent offenders: assassins and school attackers. We used data from U.S. Government-sponsored reports to compare the characteristics of these two groups. Despite obvious demographic differences, results indicate four characteristics common for both school attackers and assassins: perceived grievance, depression, a personal crisis (‘unfreezing’), and history of weapons use outside the military. These characteristics may be useful in distinguishing lone-wolfs from group-based terrorists.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

McCauley, Clark, and Sophia Moskalenko, Benjamin Van Son. 2013. "Characteristics of Lone-Wolf Violent Offenders: a Comparison of Assassins and School Attackers." Perspectives on Terrorism (February): 4-24. http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php/pot/article/view/240/pdf

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