Manas Pal

Lone wolf attack is virtually impossible to prevent. Someone sitting alone in a small room somewhere up in an obscure building in any part of this – huge, huge world with one laptop in front of him, munching pizza or drinking coffee and planning something extraordinary or spectacular assault, assassination on/of a perceived enemy, on his own wholly unmindful of his personal fate or the fall-out. He leaves no clue ... no trail ... no past ... no future ... He is in all intents and purposes a brainwashed zombie fully engrossed in his own world of hatred, a hatred that nibbles him every moment.

He is alone, he is lonely, he doesn't need anyone, he doesn't need support. He is simply an ‘Unknown’, and unpredictable. He is not a professional so he does not plan his exit/escape so there is "No Comeback" - a clue. But he is hell-bent , and determined.

And remember what the Jackal had said in Forsyth novel ‘The Day of the Jackal’—‘ there is no escape from a determined killer’. It's immaterial whether he read the Satanic Verses, or he ever understood anything literary. He is a product of a poisonous system, created by some in the name of jihad. But, make no mistake the venom runs deep and thick into his veins, triggering a primordial instinct- all the demonic thoughts to inflict terror on ‘the other’ get intensified with every passing moment. The urge for manslaughter turns him unstoppable, dehumanized, and cold. He is ‘Cursed’ to be a soulless Cain.

And then, that's it... he is here ... in fact, he has always been here...

The lone wolf attack is thus much more dangerous. It’s a fight against an elusive shadow in a completely dark room.

But still, one point comes to mind how that assailant Hadi Matar could get entry into the hall with weapons ... dagger or whatever.. why he was not body checked /frisked by the security personnel when a person like Salman Rushdie was speaking who had been living with Damocles Sword hanging over him for decades...

And see how real the threats are? 24 years old Hadi Matar was not even born when Iranian chief Ayatollah Khomeini announced the fatwa. .. and none was making many overtures about it in the recent past.. .but the threat remained powerful enough to incite a Lone Wolf to bare his fangs ..

(Writer is a senior journalist)

(Also in Tripura Times)