What is terrorism? What does it involve? Who does it involve? In my mind, terrorism is, "evil, horror, and violence. It is the cruelty of killing mass numbers of people for illogical reasons." The Encyclopedia of Britannica describes terrorism as, "the systematic use of terror or unpredictable violence against governments, publics, or individuals, to attain a political objective." The FBI further describes it as either being, "domestic or international terrorism; domestic terrorism being the illegal or threatened use of violence within the United-states or without foreign direction in furtherance of political or social objectives; and international terrorism being violent acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United-States, or any state." Clear, precise, and factual; yes. But emotionally correct, no.
Terrorism has struck all through history and around the world. Even in ancient Roman times, emperors such as Tiberius and Caligula dealt with terrorism by using banishment, and execution towards those who opposed their rule. Later in the 1860's a terrorist group called the Ku Klux Klan was formed by Southerners to terrify former slaves and prevent them from voting or run for office. In the 19th century, Western Europeans, Russians, and Americans adopted terrorism, and believed that the best way to get what they wanted was to assassinate people holding high positions of power.
In the 20th century, terrorism went through some great changes. The use of new technology such as automatic weapons and electrically bursting explosives encouraged terrorists to act violently and provided them with an easier way of attacking. At the time, attacks were mainly from groups trying to undermine or overthrow existing political institutions. However, today terrorism exists with different causes and purposes in mind. It has been used in anti-colonial conflicts such as in Ireland, Britain, Algeria and France. It is used when settling conflicts between different groups in possession of homeland such as Palestine & Israel. It is also used in religious disagreements in the case of the Catholics & Protestants in Northern Ireland and in internal conflicts between revolutionary forces and established governments, for example: Malaysia, Argentina, Iran, and Nicaragua.
Terrorism went from numerous attacks in the 20th century, to less frequent but more destructive assaults in the 21st century. The threat of terrorism has now become more deadly. But the Americans soldiers, the freedom fighters as some people call them are fighting back with no mercy. As Herr expresses in his book, "the battle grew into the bloodiest of the spring", "4,000 had been killed... it was another American victory." Over the past couple years; terrorists have developed new tactics such as portable bombs, suicide operatives, and weapons of mass destruction. These have been known to result in hundreds, not to say thousands of people being injured or killed. Some people even become terrorist, or are forced into terrorizing for reasons that they do not even know. As Michael Herr mentions, "Every day people were dying because of some small detail that they couldn't be bothered to observe." Take September 11 2001 into consideration, when two airplanes were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center and another into the pentagon. In just two hours, families were torn apart, courage was tested, and the world was shaken forever. The hijackers had probably believed that they were dying on that plane for their country, but sadly did not know the true and exact reason for their presence, or their life for that matter. At the Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton said, "I visited Ground Zero right after we were attacked. I felt like I was standing at the Gates of Hell. I hope no American ever has to witness a sight like that again."