An Explanation of Terrorism After browsing through Stephen E. Atkins book Terrorism, I soon learned many interesting things regarding the history of terrorism. It seems this form of protest has been around since Biblical times. Also, the main goal of a terrorist is not to do damage to one pedicular person or place, but to gain publicity for an idea they support. (page 1) Evidence of this can be found by looking at the recent past of the United States. The Oklahoma bombing was on eman's way of expressing his dislike of the government.
The exact definition of terrorism is not a solid line, it is a very wide line that isn't defined. The general definition of terrorism is an attack of some sort against a person or place that involves violence and / or destruction of property and is usually politically motivated. (Terrorism 3) Our fight against terrorism became something the terrorists might fear in 1970, at the Hague Convention. This United Nations convention basically defined... hijacking as a crime and required contracting states either to allow the extradition of hijackers to their country of origin, or to prosecute them in the state where they were arrested.
(The Terrorists 146) Atkins states that one of the reasons it took so long to do anything about terrorism is that it is so hard to define, and therefore just as hard to enforce. He also says Declarations and conventions from the UN have lacked effective enforcement mechanisms, so they have been ignored by member states and have been characterized as 'largely cosmetic. Basically, the UN is doing this to satisfy the public and little else. This lack of understanding of the meaning of terrorism has also been a hindrance when law 8: 56 PM 12/14/96 enforcement was actually implemented.
Policearen't trained to handle terrorist type attacks, instead they handle them like ordinary criminal attacks. (Terrorism 26-27) This gives the terrorists exactly what they wanted, publicity for their cause. The media is a terrorists best friend. Without the modern wide-spread media, terrorism would be worthless. The human nature that makes us stop and look at the horrible traffic accident is another reason why terrorism is effective. Ask someone 20 years from now what they remember about the 1996 Summer Olympics, and they will say the terrorist bombing.
This event was literally blown out of proportion by the media. It wasn't a terrorist attack, there was no one taking credit, and no reason for doing it. Any juvenile delinquent could have easily found this information off the Internet. According to the infamous Jolly Rogers, homemade weapons are easy to make.
He doesn't gloss over the fact that attempting to make these weapons is usually illegal, and dangerous. There are approximately 50 different types of illegal activities detailed in the text file, which is over 100 pages long. This document isn't hard to find to anyone looking. (web) There are usually a few kids every year who remove fingers trying to build homemade bombs, and those kids are the lucky ones, many have died making the explosive kitchen creations. One example is the tennis ball bomb.
Supposedly, a tennis ball is cut open and filled with broken off match heads. The only thing the article doesn't mention is the chances of filling the tennis ball up with match heads before friction ignites the thing in the builders hands. Another dangerous thing is the light bulb bomb. This is built by placing black power inside a light bulb. The theory behind it is that the filament will ignite the power, thereby sending glass fragments throughout the room. The only problem is when the builder forgets to turn off the light switch before screwing in the explosive light bulb.
(web) It is also true that two high school students built a small nuclear weapon in a chemistry lab from instructions found on the Internet. Resources like Jolly Roger's Cookbook and the Phreak filez are easily available on the Internet, but contrary to what most mass-media mediums would like people to believe, the bomb making instructions do not suddenly jump up on the user's screen. The Internet user must go out and look for the information, and if the yare really that dedicated to their terrorist cause, the will be able to find the information anywhere, not just the Internet. As far as the modern terrorist is concerned, the Internet doesn't have any new information that isn't already easily accessible. Terrorist form groups to make it easier to get their message across. Atkins hasa very good list of modern terrorist groups.
One group is the Arab National Youth Organization for the Liberation of Palestine. (ANY OLP) This group was found by the president of Libya, Qaddafi. This group isn't as active as when it started in 1972, but it was never officially disbanded by Qaddafi. (Terrorism 102) One of the most famous groups is the Black Panther Party. (BPP) This was founded in the United States in the 1960's, in Alabama. This groups wasn't really a terrorist group, but more a self-defense group that pushed the lines of self defense.
Most people associate Martin Luther King Jr.'s name when they hear this group because this was a very racially oriented group. (106) One of the oldest terrorist groups is the Irish Republican Army. (IRA) It started during the 19 th century when Ireland was fighting for its independence. Unlike other groups, this group is respected by many people because they are trying to unify the island of Ireland. This group also has a more radical splinter group called the Irish Republican Army Provisional Wing.
(Terrorism 116-117) Terrorist groups have also become very good plots for movie makers. The movie Delta Force is based solely on a terrorist taking over an airplane. There has also been a movie made recently which shows the Islamic Jihad group of Iran and their attack in 1983 against Marines in Beirut. (Terrorism 118) Another movie that mentions the Islamic Jihad is 'Executive Decision' This is just another example of how the media loves dramatic stories, and why not, it sells! I believe terrorism is a very real and very dangerous threat to the United States. We spend millions to support a large 'peace keeping' military, but yet a single terrorist attack could easily bring our nation to it's knees.
The media loves the blood and gore, so it reports all the details. What paper would print a cover story about the recent Nobel Peace Prize recipients instead of the recent plane that may have been bombed or the 'terrorist' attack at the Olympic games? Works Cited Atkins, Stephen E. Terrorism: A Reference Handbook Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, Inc. , 1992. Payne, Ronald and Dobson, Christopher. The Terrorists: Their Weapons, Leaders and Tactics.
New York: Facts On File, Inc. , 1982.