A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Distinguishing "Loner" Attacks from Other Domestic Extremist Violence


This study examines whether the homicides committed by far-right loner extremists (herein “loners”) are different from a comparison set of homicides committed by other types of far-right extremists in the United States.The database that is used  includes all ideologically motivated homicides committed by far-right extremists between 1990 and 2010. There has been substantial interest in understanding the lethal potential of loners along with excellent foundational empirical and theoretical work, but there are gaps in this research. Most of the literature argued that loners are “different” from extremists who might offend in groups or with other offenders. As shown subsequently, the literature review documents a large number of specific claims about alleged differences between loners and other types of extremist offenders. Unfortunately, studies empirically documenting these differences are lacking.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Gruenewald, Jeff, and Steven Chermak, Joshua D. Freilich. 2013. "Distinguishing "Loner" Attacks from Other Domestic Extremist Violence." Criminology & Public Policy (July): 65-91. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1745-9133.12008/pdf