Self-polarized lone wolf threat actors (of all varieties and denominations) have acted in cities across the globe. Before the internet, wound collectors internalized their trauma and did not often radicalize to action, so they had to identify, locate, and connect with a tangible local congregation of like-minded individuals. Now on the internet, radicalization can occur instantly and anonymously within significantly more extensive and more geographically distributed groups. Statistically, physical membership in hate groups has actually diminished, because troubled lone wolves can instantly gratify and cultivate their radical beliefs; they can remotely plan their assaults with online resources, such as Google Maps; and they can consume propagandist narratives to model their campaigns around and assure them that their purpose is worth serving and that their sacrifice will be remembered. So far, efforts to demolish online networks and staunch violent ideological polarization have achieved limited success, because radicals have minimal switching costs across online communication and recruitment channels. A few minutes and attention are the only cost to create more Twitter accounts or set up a new propaganda site [51].

Lone wolf threat actors feel isolated and retreat to the internet for community and purpose. Online, they seek attention and often enter communities that further polarize and isolation them in ideological spheres. Eventually, their only outlet becomes the radicalization network, which capitalizes on their seclusion and desire for attention, renown, or purpose. Lone wolf threat actors research, recruit, and discuss their plans within radical online communities before launching kinetic attacks, because they desire the recognition of a like-minded community more than they believe that their actions will have a lasting impact. Lone wolves are troubled individuals who want to be remembered for something, and they often seek affirmation that someone in some online community will immortalize their narrative [51].

The polarizing publications distributed on digital platforms contain memes tailored for subject radicalization. Even the attack blueprints and target selection processes within the propaganda have been turned into memes so that they resonate in the indoctrinated jihadists. For instance, in November 2016, ISIS’s publication Rumiyah published articles urging Western readers to utilize rented trucks and handheld weapons in multi-stage public attacks. The report included infographics and characteristics of vehicles and armaments to select or avoid. This template influenced the London Bridge and other recent campaigns. Other publications include Kybernetiq and Dabiq. The magazines regularly include spreads detailing “hagiographies of mujahids” who died in Western assaults. The profiles appeal to vulnerable and susceptible individuals and are enormously influential in the radicalization process, because they promise infamy and purpose to those who have none [51].

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