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Discussion Questions: Based on the required readings this week by Gartenstein-Ross, Michael, and Upadhyay, summarize the psychological and behavioral factors that appear to be most prevalent among lone wolf terrorists. Additionally, do you see these terrorists as primarily focused on domestic inspirations or international causes?

  1. Lone Wolf Islamic Terrorism: Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (Carlos Bledsoe) Case Study


2. Leaderless Resistance: The New Face of Terrorism


3. Anatomy of Lone Wolf Terrorism: Special Emphasis on Countering Violent Extremism


Instructions: Fully utilize the materials that have been provided to you in order to support your response. Your initial post should be at least 350 words. Please respond to at least two other students. Responses should be a minimum of 150 words and include direct questions. You may challenge, support or supplement another student’s answer using the terms, concepts and theories from the required readings. Also, do not be afraid to respectfully disagree where you feel appropriate; as this should be part of your analysis process at this academic level.

Student #1 Joshua

This was a very interesting read for this weeks forum. There are many psychological and behavioral factors that appear to be most prevalent among lone wolf terrorists. The first thing that I noted in the reading was the child hood aspect of this process. Particularly, in reading Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (Carlos Bledsoe) article, Muhammad’s parents felt that he was a normal child, and had a good child hood however, Muhammad had a history of gang affiliation, run ins with law enforcement, etc. from a younger age and does not claim to have a good childhood. It is well documented and understood that one’s childhood will absolutely play a factor in the adults that they will become. The reason I mention this is because according to Upadhyay (2017), most of the people who have executed lone wolf terrorist attacks were abused by their parents as children, suffered from mental illness/instability, and gone through difficult times in their lives. When things turn bad or hard for people, they often turn to religion to find comfort in their dark times. “Personal crisis and faith are seen to be two very important factors in egging on potential long wolf attackers”( Upadhyay,2017). For Muhammad, his moment was after his arrest for possession of marijuana and weapons.

Traveling abroad also seems to have a large impact on the psychological and behavioral aspect of lone wolf attackers. The way that I read it from Upadhyay (2017), is that there is almost a euphoria in traveling and actually meeting members who are actively fighting. Many lone wolf attackers traveled. In looking at Muhammad, he traveled to Yemen, and stayed for well over a year. He became so assimilated into Yemen that he even got married while he was there to a local school teacher.

Most lone wolf terrorists are in in the age range of 20-30 years old, and first or second generation immigrants. Personally, the age range is not a surprising factor associated in this. In your 20s you believe patiently about things, and simultaneously feel as your invincible. There is this preconceived notion also, that I am always right no matter what I do. That was from my own experience in my 20s. I did however find the immigration status rather intriguing. Essentially, when one’s support structure such as the family, religion, etc. individuals will turn to the “nearest thing to a community” (Upadhyay, 2017) in order to feel the void.

The media also plays a strong factor in the perception aspect. Just as we mentioned in week 1, we as Americans have to be careful how we speak and respond. Failing to do so, can result, and more than likely will result in propaganda being utilized to try and recruit for their cause. Further, the internet and social media applications, allow people with similar or the same ideology to come together to interact. Of course, this can be utilized in a positive or negative manner, but sense we are talking about terrorism this a negative aspect. The thing that amazed me is that, “By the fall of 2014, there were 45,000 verifiable ISIS Twitter accounts, of which 73 per cent had more than 500 followers, while others had up to 50,000 (Upadhyay, 2017).


Upadhyay, A. (2017). Anatomy of Lone Wolf Terrorism: Special Emphasis on Countering Violent Extremism. Retrieved on: 16 October 2018. Retrieved from: http://apus.intelluslearning.com/v3/course-widget/1080/#/document/156376795/1/325f932bb1df31f1f97b32835b69cd4c/a775cb4e3c1895cf5d78cf6d4fb0ba4c/browse_published_content/11517/54618/92093/3/lesson/lesson?hideClose=true&tagId=58882&external_course_id=377211&external_course_name=HLSS154%20B003%20Fall%2018

Michael, G. (2012). Leaderless Resistance: The New Face of Terrorism. Retrieve on: 16 October 2018. Retrieved from: https://www-tandfonline-com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/doi/abs/10.1080/14702436.2012.699724

Gartenstein-Ross, D. (2013). Lone Wolf Islamic Terrorism: Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad (Carlos Bledsoe) Case Study. Retrieved on: 16 October 2018. Retrieved from: https://www-tandfonline.com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/doi/full/10.1080/09546553.2014.849921?scroll=top&needAccess=true

Student #2 Anais

According to the articles of this week, psychological and behavioral factors play an important role in the development of a terrorist. This week, the topic is the lone wolves, those people or terrorists who act alone and does not act in the name of a group, but a 'cause' that they understand is fundamental for their lives. In the majority of cases, lone wolves are not necessary affiliated with a particular group and their main goal satisfy their personal agenda. Although they can be part of an specific religion, but not act in the name of it. For example, Carlos Bledsoe, also known as Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, who became Muslim, but acted alone in the attacks. People like Carlos Bledsoe, can be planning the attacks for an unlimited amount of time. Also, they can perpetrate the at tracks without premeditation and without help, unplanned.

The loan wolves motivations can be based on religious, political or social beliefs, like violent and extreme activists. When it becomes to a terrorist, these people perpetrate the attacks in a specific place that can be sometimes related to negatives moments and events previous to the attacks that can be potentially related with the issue the attacker is trying to address. There is cases like the shootings occurring inside military bases against the military personnel and can be perpetrated by retirees, active duty soldiers and people who have been rejected or humiliated in some way it can't be properly handle by the 'victim.'

Other factors that contribute to the development of a lone wolf terrorist is the rejection from other people towards them, such as discrimination, humiliation, and loss of family. People that feel rejected and humiliated can use this feelings as an excuse to cc aught the victim's attention, even though the lone wolves are victims of their own tragedy. These feelings just make their anger grows along with other negative feelings like discrimination, anxiety, depression, and others. The massacres, bombing attacks and shootings that we see daily are the result of the anger that lives inside of the lone wolves mind and soul. Their values and moral becomes affected and they become an easy target to be recruited by any terrorist group.

In my opinion, the loan wolves are more interested in being domestic terrorist because they have a personal agenda that is just beneficial for them and not for the terrorist groups. Their inspiration is in the places they know the most: work environments, family and friends circles.

Gartenstein-Ross, Daveed. (2013). Terrorism and Political Violence. Long Wolf Islamic Terrorism: Abdulkahim Mujahid Muhammad (Carlos Bledsoe) Case Study. Retrieved from https://www-tandfonline-com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/doi/full/10.1080/09546553.2014.849921?scroll=top&needAccess=true

Michael, George. (2012). Defense Articles. Leaderless Resistance: The New Face of Terrorism. Retrieved from https://www-tandfonline-com.ezproxy2.apus.edu/doi/full/10.1080/14702436.2012.699724?scroll=top&needAccess=true

Upadhyay, Major Akshat. (2017). Manekshaw Paper. Anatomy of Lone Wolf Terrorist: Special Emphasis on Counter Violent Extremism. Retrieved from http://apus.intelluslearning.com/v3/course-widget/...

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