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European Lone Actor Terrorists Versus “Common” Homicide Offenders: An Empirical Analysis

The term “Lone Actor” has been applied to a variety of violent individuals who are thought to act out of ideological motivations using terrorist tactics.

Jelle van Buuren, Marieke Liem & Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn
31 October 2019
Sage Journals 'Homicide Studies'

 So far, much of the research is U.S.-based. There is an empirical vacuum of Lone Actor violence in Europe and a conceptual gap in how these acts may be understood as a variation of homicidal behavior. We examine and compare characteristics of European Lone Actors to European “common” homicide offenders. Lone Actor terrorists constitute a heterogeneous group that is similar to homicide offenders but differs in terms of substance use, weapon use, and target. These findings may be understood in the context of instrumental versus expressive aims.

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