Episode two of the Newsweek's Foreign Service podcast asks how governments can prevent erratic and unpredictable attacks by so-called “lone wolf” extremists.
Gavin Long, the man who killed three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had past links with radical groups. But in politically charged YouTube videos infused with violent rhetoric, he insisted he acted alone. In Nice, where Mohamed Lahouaiyej Bouhlel killed at least 84 people and wounded dozens more with a truck, the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) took credit for the carnage. But Bouhlel’s links with the group are unclear, and likely indirect.
So how do you prepare for attacks that come without warning or large-scale planning? Do we now live in a world where any angry, isolated person who comes across a specific message can become a terrorist? Or, with the right knowledge, can governments and security services separate genuine dangers from false alarms, and turn those most at risk of perpetrating appalling crimes back from the brink?
Find out, as we discuss these issues from our London office with Hilary Hurd, who has studied religious-inspired violence and strategies for post-conflict rehabilitation and works for an anti-corruption think-tank, and Erin Marie Saltman, a senior researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.
Newsweek’s Foreign Service is presented by Josh Lowe, produced by Mirren Gidda and recorded and edited by Jordan Saville.