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Terrorism comes from the word terror which means panic or the use of fear to instill dread in people to force them or coerce them to do one's bidding. Terrorism is the calculated and planned use of force, violence or even fear against innocent civilians for the purposes of achieving objectives and goals that may either be politically, ideologically, personally or religiously instigated (word net.com). Terrorism can also be carried out as a form of revenge by those who feel they may have been wronged by certain individuals. Terrorism has become a major headache not only to world leaders but to citizens of various nations as well, especially those viewed to be anti-Islam. Unfortunately the United States of America (USA) is top on this list, making the citizens always worried that their safety may be at stake.
Crime in the form of terrorism can be traced back to ancient times, for as long as human beings have been willing to use fear or violence to have their way. In the first century, a Jewish group calling themselves The Sicarii employed murder to their enemies as well as collaborators in their bid to overthrow the Roman rulers from Judea (Amy, 2005). In the 11th century all the way to the 13th century, a secret Islamic sect, The Hashashin, became active in Syria and Iran and they executed Abbasid and Seljuk politicians, making them feared among their peers. It is also worth noting that the word assassin, commonly used to describe terrorists was adapted from the word Hashashin.
Modern day terrorism however became rife in the late 1960's a period notorious for hijackings. The popular front for Palestinian liberation hijacked an El Al flight and about 20 years later, a Pan Am flight was bombed over Lockerbie in Scotland, a chilling reality that terrorism was here with us. Numerous other terrorist activities have been carried out since then with the most horrific in the recent past being the September 11th 2001 bombing of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Centre in New York in which claimed the lives of 2,995 people, including 19 hijackers and injuring over 6,291 people.
According to the website Terrorism Research there are numerous categories of terrorists, among these are: Separatist whose main form of action is the separation through independence, domination or religious freedom through such means as social injustices among others. Other categories include Nationalist, Ethnocentric, Revolutionary, Political, Religious, Social, Domestic and International or Transnational. The means the terrorists can use to achieve their goals can be classified as cyber terrorism, biological terrorism, state sponsored terrorism or violent terrorism among others (Categories of terrorists, 2006).
This research will focus on international terrorism which is currently the major way in which terrorism activities are perpetrated. International terrorists in the recent past have been of Islamic origins. According to Islam teachings, none is to be worshipped but Allah, and anyone who seems to be interfering with the spread of Islam as a religion or not welcoming it is considered an infidel who should be wiped out. The USA has in its international policies been portrayed as an enemy of Islam and this has led to a lot of hatred to it from the Islamic nations. Terrorist cells have therefore come up in these nations where sometimes even young boys are educated and brought up in a way that makes them believe the Western nations are a source of evil that should be cleaned.
Most of the terrorists are brought into these cells when they are young and have their heads filled with the negative impacts of the Western nations. These young boys therefore grow with a negative attitude towards these nations and by the time they attain the age of about 18, they usually have fully formed attitudes towards these nations that they are willing to sacrifice their lives in the name of defending their religion, as well as helping rid the world of the dirt that is coming from the West. Their acts range from bombing centers they believe to sustain the economies of these nations to others like killing, albeit ghastly people they consider to be sympathizers with these nations.
The world's most wanted criminal when it comes to terrorism at the moment is the Saudi born Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden. He is one of the founders of the notorious terrorist group, the Al Qaeda and was born on 10th March 1957 in Riyadh in the republic of Saudi Arabia to a wealthy businessman father who was a polygamist. Bin Laden, was the son of the tenth wife and his parents divorced soon after his birth. He graduated with a degree in civil engineering. Osama is of the opinion that the restoring the Sharia law will right the wrongs in the Islamic world and therefore all other opinions are obsolete. He believes American democratic ideologies are to be resisted by all means possible and he advocates for violent Jihadism as a means of achieving this objective.
In Osama's beliefs, America, Israel, and the Shia Muslims are enemies and are vehicles through which moral decadence is spread. He has specific hatred towards the Jews who he considers cunning and masters of treachery. He is not sympathetic to anyone when it comes to Jihadism and he considers all citizens, including women and children to be suitable targets of jihad. He insists jihad is the only way to right the wrongs that have been perpetrated against Muslim nations and in particular his anger is directed at the USA. He is also of the belief that Israel as a nation should be wiped out.
Theodore Kaczynski was born on 22nd May 1942. He is a former professor of mathematics who carried out a spate of mail bombings and is most famous as the Unabomber (University and Airline Bomber). He was a child genius and while in the 5th grade, an IQ test conducted on him revealed he had an IQ (Intelligence Quotient) of 167 and he was therefore allowed to skip the 6th grade and move directly to the 7th grade. At the age of 16, he is said to have been involved in CIA mind control and stress experiments which his lawyers during his trial claim may have had adverse effects on his state of mind (McFadden, 1996).
He moved to Lincoln, Montana in a cabin that had no basic necessities in an effort to hone his survival skills and while there he began bombing universities and airlines in an effort to have his views about the destruction of the natural habitat around him heard. He was classified as a domestic terrorist as his action never went beyond boundaries of his nation. His terrorist attacks were carried out in the periods between the years 1978 and 1995 and led to the death of 3 people and injury to 23 others. Despite concerted efforts and numerous investigation attempts, the authorities were unable to capture Theodore and it took the help of his brother for them to finally capture him. He is currently incarcerated in a state prison, serving a life sentence at the ADX Florence Maximum Facility in Florence Colorado without the possibility of a parole.
Timothy James McVeigh was born on April 23rd 1968 to a catholic family and his parents, like those of Osama bin Laden divorced, although much later when he was 10 years old. In his confessions later, he expressed an eager desire to die from way back in his childhood as he was always picked upon by the elder students who took pride in bullying him. This made him grow up angry at the world for making his life so miserable. His terrorist activities were geared towards revenge as he considered it the ultimate payback to those who wronged him. He was a bright student and at high school was even considered the school's most promising computer programmer (Patrick, 1996).
Mc Veigh's Terrorist activities involved the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in which 168 people lost their lives and 450 people were injured. He blew up the building in a truck that contained about 5000 pounds of a compound of ammonium nitrate and Nitromethane. He is said not to have been remorseful as he had at last exacted revenge to the greatest bully of all-the USA. He only regretted having led to the deaths of children who attended daycare at the ground floor of the building. On the 11th June 2001 at the USA Federal penitentiary in Indiana's Terre Haute Timothy Mc Veigh was executed by lethal injection having been found guilty of charges of terrorism leveled against him.
The most striking feature about all the three terrorists is the fact that they were all scholars. Osama bin Laden graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering, Theodore Kaczynsky was a child genius who joined Harvard at the tender age of 16 and went on to become a professor of Mathematics, Timothy was good at programming and in high school, he was the schools most promising computer programmer. The other similarity is that they were all driven by their beliefs and their actions were as a result of these beliefs, and they had no regrets whatsoever about their actions. The major difference is that while the latter two are domestic terrorists, Osama is an International terrorist who is still on the run. The other two have been captured and incarcerated with Mc Veigh already executed.
As per the profile at the start of the paper, they all fit since their terrorist tendencies seem to have originated from their childhood thereby defining their adult life decisions and beliefs. From the research, their intellect is a fact that was not so out in the open and is one of the new facts learned in the course of the study. Had timothy not been bullied so much in his childhood, he may not have turned out so angry at the world and acted in the manner in which he did. Perhaps the CIA's experiment on Theodore may have backfired leading him to become the unstable individual he later became, and Osama may have turned different had he grown up in a different setting that did not portray other ideals apart from Islam as misleading.