Reading about single person acts of terrorism (I don’t like the name lone wolf, there is a hint of heroism in that, senseless violence does not deserve it) makes me think of a sequence of events years ago. Most of what I describe here was told to me by friends whose interpretations I trust.
The story is of a friend. A very quiet, sincere and deeply religious guy, I shall call him “I”. We all were mostly a bunch of rebels (not too extreme, but compared to the Indian back-grounds we came from). Criticizing and making fun of fellow friends was a normal part of the day. “I” was while generally well accepted, did get laughed at a lot (…and also criticized) due to his deep religious beliefs. During the course of time, for some reasons (possibly due to a strong difference of opinion with a senior) “I” moved out from the housing complex where we all lived. He, with his newly married wife went to live in a much inferior place, to be closer to his spiritual support system. He started donating regularly to the religious cause from his tiny income and appeared to be content with his new lifestyle.
A year or two later, his wife fell seriously ill. The community to which he was making regular donations distanced itself from him (In India most religious institutions have very little money). It was the bunch of old friends, including those who regularly ridiculed him, who stood by him. It changed his perspective and brought him back to live in our housing complex.
There are times, I have wondered, what if things went slightly differently ? How different a person would “I” have become ? But then I don’t want to think about it.