The “Lone Wolf” - Obfuscation and Tactic
The term “Lone Wolf” is used to obfuscate the level of organisation within the far-right scene and the fact that it is used as a deliberate tactic.
The Christchurch terrorist has been labelled a “lone wolf” by politicians and media. What people mean by that is that the person acted alone, without the support of a group, and the label is designed to ignore the existence of a well-organised right-wing extremist scene, both in NZ and internationally. It is also designed to let the state agencies off the hook, who were supposed to have had an eye on him and to support the theory that no one could have possibly seen the attack coming.
People use this term, maybe out of ignorance or deliberately, ignoring its real meaning. The “lone wolf” is a deliberate tactic used by the far-right to provoke exactly this reaction.
It is based on a common understanding in the fascist scene between those who provide the intellectual base and spread it on chat rooms and video platforms on the one side and the few who go off and actually carry out an attack on the other side. The deal is that the potential attackers are part of a scene who support each other (verbally and physically) and egg each other on – but when one of them actually does what they all build up to, then that person is officially denied. There may be concealed signs of support, but in any public statements they are renounced. They become the “lone wolf”, who no one saw coming, who acted alone, without anyone else carrying any responsibility.
This is exactly what happened with the Christchurch attacker. He was part of fascist chat rooms, he had contact to the organised far-right scene. He had supported the Australian United Patriot Front financially and hailed their leader as the new ‚Emperor‘. He used slogans and memes from the Australian neo-Nazi group Dingoes. He gave money to the Austrian and French Identitarian Movements – now all those people deny having had anything to do with him. The Austrian Identitarian leader Martin Sellner, whose flat was raided by police after the attack, says that he can’t be held responsible for who transfers money into his account and even suggests that the shooter did this deliberately to discredit the Identitarians. Part of the deal is that the “lone wolf” never establishes contact with publicly active organisations on a level that would threaten the principle of plausible deniability.
The shooter also trained at the Bruce Rifle Club in Milton – among people who were rambling on about mass shootings, the zombie apocalypse and Muslim immigration, according to a former soldier who visited the club in 2017. While at the time no one at the club saw anything wrong with him, the club president Scott Williams now sees himself as the victim, just like Sellner: “I think we're feeling bit stunned and shocked and a bit betrayed, perhaps, that we've had this person in our club who has ended up doing these horrible things.”
A few people in that environment broke the rules because they didn’t realise how the system works. These are the people who were arrested after the attack for uploading the shooter’s video and are now facing trial. A natural selection process – the stupid ones go to prison and the others will continue writing and talking about the “Great Replacement” and encourage each other. The Bruce Rifle Club will re-open, the Dominion Movement will redesign their web site and Auckland University will continue to deny that there have ever been any white supremacists.