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Terrorism has a complex definition with many parts. The basic definition of terrorism is the use of violence, or threat of violence, to frighten or intimate people to take action to further a goal. For example, a terrorist might explode a bomb to prove that they are a threat and can hurt a group if they do not take action (Andryszewski 8). Many crimes fit the definition but are not terrorism because for terrorism to occur an attack on an innocent third party has to take place ("The Encyclopedia of Terrorism").
Another part of the complex definition is the components of terrorism. The components include violence, audience, mood of fear, and victims. Each component plays an important role in an act of terror. One of the most important is violence. Terrorism is always a violent act. Violence, or the threat of violence, needs to be displayed for an act to be considered terror. Another component is audience. Terrorism is like theater, an act preformed for an audience. The result is shocking and creates a mood of fear in the audience. The audience creates the mood of fear. The audience is fearful
and anxious. The last component is the victims. The victims are unknown by the terrorist and are chosen because their deaths would be so shocking to the general public ("The Encyclopedia of Terrorism"). Each component is vital to an act of terrorism.
Terrorism has been present throughout history. Terrorism originated in ancient Greece and ancient Rome. During this time terrorism was influenced by religion. Most terrorists were part of the clergy and struck victims who went against scripture. The terrorists would stab victims in public places and then disappear into the crowds to avoid being seen. Most terrorist attacks occurred during times of religious unrest ("The Encyclopedia of Terrorism"). The Greeks and Romans never thought terrorism would turn into what it is today.
Terrorism was almost unheard of between the time of the Greeks and Romans to the Civil Rights Movement. During the Civil Rights Movement groups like The Ku Klux Klan and the Black Panthers emerged. The Ku Klux Klan, better known as the KKK, started in 1865 precisely after the conclusion of the civil war (Andryszewski 8-9). The group began with a gentleman named Nathan B. Forrest (Meltzer 86-87). Their major goal was to restore white supremacy to the South. They fought hard to keep their slaves and have control of the southern United States. The group faded in the late 1800's due to the lack of success (Andryszewski 9).
Terrorist groups were also present on the other side of the Civil Rights Movement. One of those terrorist groups is named the Black Panthers. This African American terrorist group was rising during the time of the Ku Klux Klan. Their major
acts were violent protests about racial equality. Another African American terrorist group was the Weather Underground. This group of anti-war students committed terrorism for justice. They also pushed for racial equality.
Modern terrorist targeting America was unthinkable during the Civil Rights Movement. It finally arrived with the Iran hostage crisis on November 4, 1979. The cause of the Iran hostage crisis was the modernization of Iran by Iran's president Mohammad Reza Shah. He required United States style learning and clothing. Many people including Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini disagreed and thought it was offensive to the Muslim god Allah. Khomeini preached that Shah's ways were wrong and the people needed to revolt. Khomeini and his followers over threw the Shah and Khomeini took power (Andryszewski 13-14).
When Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini took power he educated children to be soldiers with the main target being the United States. On November 4, 1979 hundreds of his students invaded the American embassy in Tehran. They took fifty-three Americans hostage. They blindfolded them, put them in front of angry mobs, and made them say un-American statements. One hostage was released after 250 days and all the others were released after 444 days. This crisis marked the starting point in the Middle Eastern terrorism we know today.
Another attack involving a Middle Eastern country proved that Middle Eastern governments were supporting terrorism. It started when a Libyan sponsored terrorist bombed a Berlin nightclub in April of 1986. The bomb killed 15 people including two
Heidenthal 4 Americans. The bomb also injured 230 other people (Andryszewski 16). Two years later another Libyan sponsored terrorist planted a bomb on Pan Am flight 103 bound for New York City. The plane blew up over a field in Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 members on board died as well as eleven citizens on the ground (Andryszewski 17-18). This catastrophe proved that some Middle Eastern governments are supporting terrorism.
Modern Terrorism finally comes to America on February 26, 1993 with the World Trade Center bombing. This terrorist attack was shocking to many Americans because the general public thought that terrorism was an activity done outside the United States. When Mohammed A. Salameh set off a bomb at noon Eastern Time the whole world was in shock. There were six fatalities and more then a thousand injured, mostly from smoke inhalants (Andryszewski 19-20). This attack proved that terrorism is not just something done outside the United States but in fact it is real and present in the United States.
Two years later another major terrorist attack happened in the United States. Timothy McVeigh set off 4,800 pounds of ammonium in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This devastating attack killed 168 people. This was the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States at that time (Andryszewski 31). The suspect got arrested the same day for other charges including driving without a license plate. He was almost released from jail on bond when his profile matched the sketch of the suspected terrorist (" The Encyclopedia of Terrorism"). This attack proved that possible terrorists are all around us, including Americans.
Terrorism today mixes religious views with modern warfare. This principle is very obvious with Al-Qaeda, the most dangerous terrorist group in the modern world. The leader of Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden religious views mixed with his violent ways when the United States stationed soldiers in Mecca, the birthplace of the Muslim god Muhammad (Andryszewski 35). Bin Laden also created hate towards the United States when the Saudi Arabian government took the United States military help over Bin Laden and is follower. Bin Laden thought that Muslim military should be the only military to fight in the Middle East (Meltzer8-9). Bin Laden became very angry towards the United States and made them his main target. Bin Laden's group used modern weapons to attack the United States and their allies (Andryszewski 36-37). Al-Qaeda is a prime example of religious views mixing with modern warfare.
Al-Qaeda's biggest success happened on September 11, 2001. It was the biggest terrorist attack the world has ever seen. Four planes took off the morning of September 11, 2001 with nine Al-Qaeda hijackers split between the planes. As the hijackers took control of the aircrafts, planes collided with each of the two World Trade Center buildings. One plane also hit the Pentagon in Washington DC. In the last aircraft, a few courageous passengers overthrew the hijackers and drove the plane into a field in Pennsylvania. Overall, this attack claimed 3,000 lives and caused over 1 billion dollars in property damage. Every American was shocked and scared. People in the Middle East rejoiced while countries in Europe and the Pacific were shocked and held candle vigils. People all over the world will never forget this deadly attack.
Terrorism is constantly changing to fit modern warfare and to easier accomplish goals. This is clear because in ancient times terrorists would just stab victims. Now we have hijackers, biological and chemical weapons, and mini handheld explosives. Goals can be reached easier and with more shock value using these modern methods and weapons.
Biological terrorism is a serious threat that is becoming more and more a reality. Biological terrorism is the use of a germ to affect a group of people. These weapons can affect groups by putting dangerous or even life threatening disease into their body. Biological terrorism was present in ancient Rome. The soldiers would throw infected bodies over the city walls of their enemies. Biological terrorism is not a new thing but is just now being reintroduced.
Biological terrorism is present in America. In the fall of 2001, anthrax laced letters arrived from Iraq. These letters were sent to government offices for proper removal (Kerrigan 22-23). Biological terrorism has been in Ohio. In 1995, a white supremacist purchased bacteria that will cause the Black Death. He was found suspicious when he made a phone call to the distributer asking about the time of delivery. This phone call prompted suspicion and he was caught. He served time in jail for fraud (Pringle77-78). Officials think that during the next biological terrorism attack, terrorists will use a virus such as Polio, Black Death, or Small Pox. These problems prove that biological weapons are being manufactured and used.
Nuclear terrorism is the most dangerous type of terrorism and has not been used by modern terrorists. The only account of nuclear terrorism was when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan during World War II. Officials fear that nuclear terrorism will be the next popular type of terrorism. This fear is coming more and more a reality with the invention of the "Luggage Nuke." This easy-to-carry nuke was created by the Soviet Union in the 1970's. The "Luggage Nuke" is built in the form of a suitcase. It can be easily transported by a single person and can be easily moved from country to country (" The Encyclopedia of Terrorism"). Nuclear terrorism is a present threat that terrorists are very close to exploiting.
Suicide bombers are becoming popular and are the key to modern terrorism. Suicide bombers were in their full effect on September 11th when nine hijackers drove the "plane bombs" into the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon. Suicide bombers have been present during the attack on the USS Cole; the Christmas day bombing in Detroit; and many roadside bombings in the Middle East. The impact of suicide bombers is great because of their ability to be anywhere at any time.
Terrorism is a serious threat that needs to be prevented. The solution is Homeland Security. Former president George W. Bush, in response to September 11th, created this government organization. The job of this organization is to protect our nation from all types of terrorism. Homeland Security is the key to protecting our nation from terrorism.
Homeland Security has goals in place to protect our nation. Their first goal is to protect our nation from dangerous people. This goal will be achieved by controlling our
borders; enforcing our current immigration laws; strengthening the screening of travelers and workers; and improving security through enhanced immigration services. Things like focused screening on high-risk individuals and denying benefits to people who will do us harm, need to happen for homeland security to achieve this goal (United States Department of Homeland Security).
The second goal of Homeland Security is to protect our nation from dangerous goods. This goal will be reached by preventing and detecting radiological and nuclear attacks; preventing, and detecting against biological attacks; and preventing and detecting chemical and explosive attacks. Also, Homeland Security will prevent against unlawful goods. Homeland Security will protect us from nuclear weapons entering the United States. They will prioritize the defense of biological attacks to achieve these goals.
Homeland Security has many other goals to secure our nation like protecting critical infrastructures and strengthening preparedness and response capabilities. All of these goals will keep our nation safe from future terrorist attacks. Americas trust needs to be in Homeland Security to keep our country safe. They know what they are doing.
Terrorism is a dangerous threat that continues to claim many lives. This deadly act violates the Catholic Social Teaching of Life and Dignity of the human person. The Catholic Social teaching states, " The international targeting of civilians in war or terrorist attacks is always wrong." From this statement we know that the Catholic Church is 100% against terrorism. Terrorism continues to be dangerous and everybody needs to do his or her part to prevent it.
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