I know the assignment was to deal with a certain aspect of terrorism, but I can’t seem to keep my opinions based on one kind without comparing it to other acts of terrorism. Terrorism is defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary as, “to use force or threats to intimidate, etc., especially as a political policy.” Intimidate is similarly defined as, “to make afraid, as with threats.” Threats is a common word used in both definitions and when people are threatened, they feel terror therefore they are terrorized. Terrorism doesn’t always come with the stereotypical Russians or Middle Eastern rebels that want to attack the US. Terror can come from all ages, races, political beliefs, and countries. An example of each can be: ages-school shootings, races- KKK, political beliefs-Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing or (anti) abortionist supporters, and countries-Iraq. Terrorism can come in all shapes and sizes of bombs, people, and verbal threats. I will try to touch on each of these subjects throughout the paper.
A survey of politically motivated crimes since April 1995 reveals a dramatic increase in terroristic activities. At least thirty-nine cases have been documented. Many have not been as sever as the federal building bombing, but they have been in the forms of pipe bombs, police stand-offs, bank robberies, attacks on abortion providers and many others. (Terror from Within-MSNBC) However, some terrorist attacks are not preformed by Americans. An example of one of two documented cases of outside terrorism attacks on the United States is the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993. (The Centre for National Security Studies, April 26, 1995) The US is now a big target for outside terrorism and we always will be as long as we are a powerful nation with a large amount of pull. People in other countries see what America has to offer and want us to be eliminated to make their country the most powerful. The people that do plan and act out on these terrorist acts usually have a psychiatric problem.
We watch the movies that glorify the hero going into a foreign land and fighting the bad guy. James Bond is a perfect example of glorifying terrorists’ lives. He travels all over the world to stop the villains from blowing up England. He makes it all look fun and exciting while doing his job. Austin Powers is another example of terrorists. Austin Powers is a totally different view of the subject, but the idea is still fun. We sometimes glorify terrorists’ lives in movies by making them rich and highly respected by their “employees” and contacts with other powerful people. We, the audience, see these movies and fantasize about being the hero or villain. Cops and Robbers is a perfect example of good against evil, but foreign terrorists have an aura or certain mystique quality. We want to have the power and wealth they do and we also want to have the cunning actions of the hero. International terrorism, to me, is very mysterious and full of wonder. It is very frightening but it makes me wonder of the life behind the ringleader of the terrorist groups and his entourage. The part I don’t understand is how important national security is to the US. I take the military and government for granted and thank them very much for doing their job.
School shooting are another form of terrorism. We send our kids to school thinking that they are in a safe environment. We send them there to learn and grow up to be responsible adults. We try to teach our kids to the best of our abilities, but sometimes there are some that fall through the cracks and become the bad apple. Just like the old adage, “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch,” it can become so very true and real. Columbine High School recently commemorated the first year after the shooting. I remember watching CNN Headline New and MSNBC while the students were being rushed out of the school. A few other shooting occurred recently and I was worried about if any students were hurt I the events unfolding before my eyes. In the beginning, I assumed nothing happened but soon found out otherwise. I think why this story touched me a little bit more is because I watched all the events unfold that day and the media hype to follow. We grieve for the victims and some even learn to forgive Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. The shooters’ parents also feel remorse for what their terrorist sons did to the school, the community, the state, and the country. The parents of the terrorists seem to be caring and are struggling with the loss of a child like the victims’ parents. We have not heard much about these families and with good reason. The parents didn’t see it coming and most likely would have stopped it if they knew. (Rocky Mountain News.com, Lynn Bartels, April 15, 2000)
Attacks on schools aren’t happening just recently. A bombing on a school in Bath, Michigan happened in 1927 and forty plus students and teachers were killed. Most of the students in the wing were of kindergarten age. A demented farmer and electrician with access to dynamite decided to blow up the west wing of Bath Consolidated grade school. His motives were not clear. A. E. Kehoe killed his wife, the treasurer of the school district, outside their home before going to the school. Kehoe apparently had been planning this scheme for months and could have leveled the whole school if all the dynamite fuses were timed together. Kehoe was seen running to his car parked on the curb moments before the blast. He also ended up dying along with the school’s principal, the village postmaster, and an unidentified man in an explosion that wrecked Kehoe’s automobile. After the explosion had hurled helpless, young victims through the air, another explosion rocked the school and sent the walls and ceiling into the air and on top of the already injured children. The dust most likely muffled the sparks of the dynamite for the west wing, and as a result, the spark never reached the dynamite to cause it to explode. The west wing was saved due to rubble and faulty technology. If his plan had been carried out correctly, he would have killed two hundred sixty students. Police found a note on his barn door that stated, “Criminals are made, not born.” (Boulder News.com, collection of stories compiled on April 25, 1999)
School attacks are not new. As long as we have those crazies out there, terrorism in the schools will be there. We don’t know where or when it will happen, but it will. Just a few months ago in Champaign, a guy that was irritated with his parents chased his mother into a school. Thankfully no one in the school was hurt and his motives were not to kill any children. That example is precisely my point. We don’t know who will be the next target and whose school it will be. Judging by what I hear from experts, they say it is hard to tell which students are the ones most susceptible to being influenced by others or lashing out on people at any time. Certain characteristics of the probable school terrorists go along with people that are just loners or shy. We can’t pick out certain students that are going to attack the school and lock him/her up before anything happens. Banning guns is not the answer to solving school violence. Large inner city schools have metal detectors at the doors but sometimes that doesn’t stop all the potentially harmful objects from entering the school. It is a step in the right direction but not all schools need them so desperately or can’t afford them. For now, we need to try to deal with it as it comes and maybe educate the teachers on what to do in different types of terrorist attacks.
Attacks on abortion clinics are terroristic too. I am not going to get in hard on my beliefs because that is not the topic and it could be a whole other paper in its self. I want to say that I am firmly against the idea of abortion and my views may be a little distorted, but I will try to be as indifferent as possible. The attacks on the abortion clinics cause the doctors, nurses, other employees, and patients to fear for their life. While searching for information on abortion violence, I came upon the Washington Post. The newspaper has archives of violence occurring to people involved someway with the clinics dating all the way back to 1993. Yes, the attacks on people performing abortions have been going on for as long as abortion has been a controversial issue. The point of the archives dating that far back is to prove that it is an everyday occurrence and the employees fear for their safety everyday. I remember reading somewhere that Christians are the ones fighting for a ban against abortion and they are the ones attacking the clinics. Now to me, that doesn’t sound like a very Christian thing to do. Do we not live by a rule, “Do unto others as they would unto you?”
Coincidently enough, a fatal bombing occurred in Birmingham, Alabama just one week after the 25th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court case decision. This bombing was the first fatal bombing to occur since violence in clinics started being recorded about 17 years ago. An off-duty policeman also working as a security guard was killed and a nurse on her way to work was seriously injured. The blast occurred at 7:33 a.m., about a half hour after the clinic was scheduled to open, and was so powerful that the blast shattered glass a block away. No one was asset responsibility to the bombing at the time of the report but Alabama is one of the states that seek to ban on certain late-term abortions. The clinics bombed, New Woman All Woman Health Care center, was a clinic that tried to stop the government from banning those certain abortions. The explosion occurred right outside the front entrance of the clinic that adjoins the University of Alabama and its medical center. Three dormitories and a day care center had to be evacuated for fear of a second bomb. Windows and an awning were destroyed as a result of the blast. The bomb in front of the entrance formed a crater and debris littered the streets. James Cavanaugh of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms said, “It was not designed to damage property, it was designed to kill or injure.” (Washington Post.com, David P. Baker, January 30, 1998)
Since I hit on terrorists that scare the nation, the school children, and a hopefully small amount of women, now I can tell about an ethnic group. The Ku Klux Klan has been around for a long time and is still in existence today. Many people swear by their practices and follow them to a T. The KKK was feared more in the early 1900’s than today because rights of the people mean all of the people and not a select group. The group was also feared in the four years after it spread throughout the country in its beginnings in 1865. Many myths have surrounded the group’s origin but it was ultimately the result of six Confederate veterans being bored in a small town wanting to form a social club. The groups met in Pulaski, Tennessee, near the Alabama border. To heighten the excitement, the meetings would be secret and the officers would have titles instead of their actual names. The group was well educated and chose a mane with Greek meaning. Klux stands for “kuklos” meaning circle. Klan was an alteration of “clam.” To show off, the group wore sheets and rode through town causing curiosity of the group. After a while, they added masks and pointed hats. Word of the group spread and it ended up with initiations similar to ones of a fraternity. In the beginning, the group visited blacks’ homes and threatening them with more visits just to spook them. Eventually the visits turned into violence and the group became something it had not intended. The idea of the Klan eventually spread throughout the nation and has become what we know today. (“A Hundred Years of Terror” Southern Poverty Law Center March 5, 1997)
The group’s influence died out a bit until World War I was starting. The influx of immigrants started the rage. The group terrorized not only blacks but also people of a different religion. The group was pro-America so that meant to them as anti-black, anti-Jew, and importantly, anti-Catholic. The group was also against Asians, immigrants, bootleggers, dope, gaft, nightclubs and roadhouses, violation of the Sabbath, sex, pre and extra-marital affairs. (“A Hundred Years of Terror” Southern Poverty Law Center March 5, 1997) Basically anyone that was not acting the way the Klan wanted; they were to be punished by the Klan. The Klan terrorized anyone that wasn’t like them. It didn’t matter if you were black or white, they would let you know how they felt about your actions. They would be more lenient towards the whites, but there was no guarantee. The Klan terrorized the nation no matter where you were.
Terrorism is not just an international man of mystery traveling to foreign lands to fight off the bad guys and get the girl. It is also not just about Americans bombing a federal building because they think the government is wrong or an abortion clinic because they don’t approve of the views carried out. Terrorism is not solely about people frightening an ethnic group or cultural group. Terrorism is the use of threats to cause fear. America is threatened everyday by outside countries and I am very grateful for those who fight to keep those threats from affecting the rest of the nation and us. I am also thankful to those like the police who fight the smaller scale terrorism threats everyday. Thank you.
Baker, Donald P. ” Blast at Alabama Abortion Clinic Kills Policeman, Injures Nurse” Washington Post.com 30 January, 1998 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/abortviolence/stories/atlanta2.htm
Associated Press. “1927 school bombing killed nearly 40 children” 25 April, 1999 http://www.bouldernews.com/shooting/4251927.html
Bartels, Lynn. “Harris, Klebold families grieve privately” Rock Mountain News.com 15 April, 2000 http://www.insidedenver.com/shooting/0415kleb1.shtml
The Centre for National Security Studies. ” Recent Trends in Domestic and International Terrorism” 26 April, 1995 http://www.interlog.com/~vabiro/pubs/NCSS_trends.htm
Neiwert, David. Threat From Within. MSNBC. http://www.msnbc.com/news/257143.asp
Southern Poverty Law Center. A Hundred Years of Terror. 5 March, 1997 http://osprey.unf.edu/dept/equalop/oeop11.htm