As the White House prepares to host a major summit examining the threat of violent extremism next week, a Southern Poverty Law Center study of domestic terrorism released today finds that the vast majority of this violence is coming from “lone wolves” or “leaderless resistance” groups composed of no more than two people.
The report – Age of the Wolf: A Study of the Rise of Lone Wolf and Leaderless Resistance Terrorism (download a PDF of the report)– examines more than 60 domestic terror incidents. Almost three-quarters of the incidents were carried out, or planned, by a lone wolf, a single person acting without accomplices. Ninety percent of the incidents were the work of no more than two persons.
The study, which included violence from both the radical right and homegrown jihadists, also found that a domestic terrorist attack or foiled attack occurred, on average, every 34 days. It covered a period between April 1, 2009 and Feb. 1, 2015, and was based on records maintained by Indiana State University and the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database, along with the SPLC’s own roster of apparent domestic terror incidents.