Sad to say, there are a lot of mass shootings in The United States. It seems that almost every year in the past decade or two, someone walks into a school, business, government building or public space with murderous intentions. Typically, it's the work of one individual, but sometimes it's two individuals working in concert.
While Americans try to deal with the horrible aftermath, government leaders and the mainstream media try to assuage our fears by declaring that the heinous crime was the work of a "lone wolf." Unlike "terrorists" who we should fear, the lone wolf somehow is portrayed as being more benign. Once the wolf is killed or apprehended, we are told that we can go back to our usual lives.
This same strategy is pulled out each and every time a non-Muslim commits some atrocious act. Our leaders want us to buy this argument hook, line and sinker because they don't want us to think about the situation deeply and, maybe, start to connect some of the dots together. By and large, their strategy has proven successful as far too many Americans exhibit the conditioned knee-jerk reaction to mass murders like the one in Aurora, Colorado.
If you think about it, we should be far more fearful of the lone wolf than the "terrorists." Terrorists communicate with each other as they strategize and develop their plans. Because terrorist organizations involve groups of people, there are many opportunities to intercept messages or spy on meetings or try to find the weakest link.
In so many cases, the planning of the lone wolf happens nowhere except inside of his own head. Many lone wolves are loners, but, until they bring their murderous plot to fruition, they do little to call attention to themselves. They may be viewed as geeky, strange, odd and, sometimes, a bit mentally unhinged, but not enough so that they can't blend into the crowd.
What I'm trying to say here is that there is a much greater chance that a terrorist group can be thwarted before it can carry out its deadly plot than stopping a lone wolf. If we look at the number and frequency of mass killings in the US, the vast majority are committed by the singular individuals with no or few ties to any established or known group.
If you ask the average American, their fears are inverted. They are scared of terrorists and not so much of the lone wolf, yet the chances are greater that they would die at the hands of the latter, not the former (which is not to suggest that their chances at dying at the hands of either is statistically significant).
In my mind's eye, a lone wolf is just as much of a terrorist as someone connected to an organization. In fact, they are more frightening because they seek to carry out the agenda of one -- their own disturbed mind.
How can society combat the legions of lone wolves -- ticking time bombs -- out there?