chapter  9
14 Pages

The active shooter threat: profiling perpetrators for preemptive prevention

WithJOSHUA SINAI

This chapter explains the historic cases of lone actor terrorism, confirms that there is no consistent profile for lone actor terrorists. Lone actors may constitute an autonomous cell of a few friends, but if so, they nevertheless operate on their own without orders from or even connections toan organization. The four key characteristics of lone actors and autonomous cells are that they are self-activated, self-tasked, operate alone, and engage in violence against persons or property. A common factor among all of the diverse groups of proponents of extremist ideas who decide at times to take action is the importance of the narrative. The issue of jihadist terrorism, in particular, should not be labelled a struggle between religions, nor indeed civilizations. Regional and central authorities within the security sector as well as, where the legal environment so allows, the health and social sectors need to work together to identify potential security threats among individuals at risk of turning to violence.