chapter  14
13 Pages

Media, popular culture and the lone wolf terrorist

The evolution of targeting, tactics and violent ideologies
ByMark S. Hamm, Ramon Spaaij

Media and popular culture can serve as a source for the terrorist's campaigns, strategies and tactics. This chapter focuses on how media and popular culture affect the way terrorists select their targets, design their tactics and adopt their violent ideologies. It concentrates exclusively on the lone actor—the single attacker who is not affiliated with a larger terrorist network. Like many acts of lone wolf terrorism, mass shootings often arise from toxic combinations of violent media imagery, high-velocity firearms and (white) male supremacy, providing the sociopolitical context in which violent masculinities are produced and valorized. The media can also provide lone wolves with information necessary for carrying out their attacks. Like nearly every other aspect of modern life, terrorist tactics have been profoundly influenced by the Internet. Analyzing the ways that lone wolves adopt their violent ideologies reveals an astonishing evolution.