Terrorism, Part 1: A Basic Understanding
Terrorism is about the use of violence against a single individual, a place, or a group of people. It’s normally committed by an individual or a group whose objectives are to overthrow a government and its policies. Examples of terrorism date all the way back to the French Revolution.
It’s been proven that terrorist attacks are used to achieve political gains, which often include social and economic implications, and they’re normally triggered through the use of fear and hate.
The first step in combating these groups is to understand their ideas and their beliefs.
Understanding Terrorism: Letting Go of Preconceived Ideas
Terrorists aren’t just made up of mad people or mad groups of people. They aren’t average criminals that run around like loose cannons, constantly breaking laws. The normal terrorist group can be very well organized and actually have its own government.
When it comes to terrorist groups, the higher-ups are usually very intelligent. They use special ways of influencing others to join their cause through fear, financial gain, and more. They firmly believe their actions are for the greater good.
As far as normal individuals who don’t belong to a group, they are far different and they normally have a hatred or dislike toward a specific government or an individual. For example, Timothy McVeigh had a specific hatred towards the government, and he had a difference of opinion with certain political values.
There’s also a belief amongst most people that terrorists are crazy, illiterate, and unorganized, and this is far from the truth. The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, is a prime example. He’s a mathematician and has an IQ over 160. In other words, he’s pretty much a genius.
Recruiting: A Global Concern
The constant use of propaganda is one way terrorists get people to join their groups. Another way is they’ll advertise elaborate lifestyles offered to their members. This could be done through social media sites or they’ll recruit in areas that have recently been conquered. Some people are forced to either join the cause or die.
Terrorist groups are now marketing to a mass audience. As I write this, Twitter is scrambling to shut down terrorist accounts that call for action and advertise brutal violence, including videos showing beheadings of people who refused to join their cause.
Terrorists don’t only recruit in Middle-Eastern countries. That way of thinking is ill-informed. For example, recent information shows that in August 2017, over 4000 people from the Western world joined terrorist organizations. The fact is, these terrorist groups don’t have a specific area. They recruit globally.
It’s been proven that they’ll target individuals at the ages of 13 and above. They’ll look for people who don’t seem to fit in with society. People who may be getting bullied or picked on. They have no certain requirements other than for these individuals to join and fight for their cause.
There are countries across the world that, for decades, have had to fight against terrorist groups. We as Americans now face the same fight almost everyday, not only overseas, but right here in the United States.