A framework for violence: clarifying the role of motivation in lone-actor terrorism
Hallgarth, Jacob G.
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A major goal of the homeland security enterprise is to prevent terrorism in the United States. Federal, state, and local agencies have responded to this challenge with a number of initiatives that have prevented another large-scale network attack since 9/11. Yet terrorism perpetrated by a lone individual, not in direct communication with a larger terrorist network, continues to occur on a regular basis in the United States. Rather than considering lone-actor terrorism a subset of networked terrorism, this thesis considers lone-actor terrorism as a subset of other grievance-fueled violence such as mass murders and workplace violence. Comparing the motivations of the perpetrators using a case study method, this thesis considers the complexities of addressing the key trait of motivation that separates lone-actor terrorism from other forms of lone violence. As a result of this analysis, five key observations—leading to five policy implications—are postulated to provide clarity to the issue of lone-actor terrorism in pursuance of improving prevention methods.
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