Who hasn’t heard the expressions “complex attack”, “lone wolf” and other dramatic labels that have become all but routine, immediately following a significant attack resulting in multiple fatalities? The media and individuals associated with these terms have created these terms in the absence of really understanding the situation or having relevant experience/background.
Let’s start with Complex Attacks. This is the term quickly associated with a violent attack, sometimes terrorist related, that involves 2 or more weapons, tactics or locations. Well, most basic infantry trainees around the world are taught how to use more than one weapon and manoeuvre group within the first few weeks of their basic training. This is called infantry minor tactics. Why is it when the “enemy” exhibit such skills and competencies it is deemed “complex”. The more working parts and greater planning associated with a successful attack, the better the adversary, criminal or terrorist.
Don’t underestimate or demean them by thinking that complex attacks are only achievable by standing armies and uniformed soldiers….because they are not.
What about “Lone Wolf”? Clearly a spin off of watching too many action movies! A single individual, motivated, capable, determined and unrelenting in their pursuit is what the media love to now call a Lone Wolf, within minutes of physical violence. In the world of professionals, these individuals go by the job titles of spies, special forces, police officers, etc. All of a sudden, when an adversary or terrorist is able to succeed by themselves, their now part of a dysfunctional wolf pack?
Many motivated, mentally unstable, violent or ostracised individuals are more than capable of hurting a lot of people in a short period of time. They may be part of a group or working alone, this just makes them individuals, not outcast pack hunting animals.