One of the aspects of 4th gen and distributed warfare is how easy it is to dismiss individual attacks as just “rogue actors”. It’s not like the Tzarnev brothers, or your random joe jihad driving a truck of peace, or using a knife of peace, or (even in Europe, though less often) a gun of peace to enthusiastically greet the nearest snackbar with an “aloha!” are part of a military organization with a strict hierarchy, regular drills, and uniforms.

It lies in part in the “unseen” – or what Eric Raymond (at least I first heard it at Armed and Dangerous) dubs a “prospiracy” – people of commond mindset taking common action that appears concerted due to common goals, etc.

That said, there are support networks, and more importantly, ideological guides to what to think and who to target. There is an official magazine of the islamic state, The Dabiq (it’s name has since changed), and in various issues they explain, among other things, why they hate us. All for unitarianism.

It doesn’t take much of a formal logistics train to train up and motivate a few wannabe jihadis.

I wanted to touch on something else though.

Over the last decade we’d seen a number of cases of students being suspended for bringing pictures of their military dads with rifles, bringing in legos with lego-sized rifles, chewing a pop-tart “in the shape of a handgun”, and pointing fingers at each other.

Sure, it’s just a single teacher yousay.


A teacher may be able to assign detention on their own cognizance, but suspensions, etc., need to go up the chain. For it to have been approved, in almost any school I’d heard of, a Principal would have had to look at the issue and approved the suspension. For the student to be suspended not just the teacher but the senior admins and several layers of the school staff would have had to see the request, and not a single one of them stopped the teacher to tell them to get a grip on reality.

The teacher cannot be the only person at that school lacking common sense for a number of these punishments to be enacted.

So yes, there are times we minimize it as just one bad apple, but if you sit and think about it, the whole barrel is shot.