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Stage FrightIn the last year or so, authorities, with the media not far behind, have taken to referring to various fanatic acts as carried out by a “lone wolf” rather than by some terrorist organization. As if this was somehow not as worrisome as if carried out by a representative of Al Qaeda or ISIS. As if the victims were somewhat less dead or wounded. 

Moreover, the pack of lone wolves is growing—exponentially. And so are their targets. See for example the following excellent news story about the increasing number of executions of particular law enforcement officers for nothing more than being caught alone in uniform:

“Police worry about their own safety after killings: ‘It’s a different world.’” This writer didn’t even bother to use the “lone wolf” label because there are just too many of them out there today. Can you keep up with the new reports of these random shootings? I can’t. The packs are becoming just as large as their terrorist organization predecessors.

In 2009, six years ago, in the Prologue to A Season For Redemption, the first in my Brooks/Lotello thriller series, soon to be released as a prequel to the latest in the Brooks/Lotello series, 28: The Missing Amendment, Judge Cyrus Brooks put it this way:

“You can’t just go out and shoot someone because you’re unhappy. Let alone shoot a bunch of other people. People you don’t even know. Or could you? More and more, there are those today who seem quite willing to do precisely that, to kill complete strangers just . . . because.”

“What if one of those killers ended up in my courtroom? Could I assure both the people of Washington, DC and the accused alike a fair and proper trial? Could I remain impartial, and objective in the face of this growing phenomena with no end in sight?”

Brooks was ahead of the curve. The problem is growing deeper and spreading wider. First, “lone wolves” attacked random U.S. institutions here and there. Any injured individuals was just unintended “collateral damage.” But then that wasn’t enough. The wolves grew hungrier. They turned to killing citizens, those shopping in malls, then school children. The more the better. After all, they had a point to make, whatever it might be. Now, the target du jour is law enforcement officers. And not wrongful packs of law enforcement getting back what they gave, but innocent law enforcement officers minding their own business, guilty of nothing more than being in uniform.

For sure, pockets of bad law enforcement (dare we say packs of lone wolves of another kind?) have contributed to this latest phenomena, but what are the demographics of these lone wolves who are willing to indiscriminately execute law enforcement officers in totally unprovoked incidents? Who are these executioners? The people Judge Brooks worried about back in 2009. 

Are they relatives of supposed law enforcement victims? Are they down and out members of society who are just angry, bored or both and who have found a new target on whom to vent their general frustration and venom? Are they people who the day before they acted out in this extraordinary way had normal jobs and just went to work?

Are they incited by traditional media, social media, violent TV shows, leaders who aren’t leading?

How do we stop all this before isolated bad pockets of law enforcement understandably and defensively grow into something much larger and uglier? Terrorist organizations.

Where are our leaders?

 


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