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Terrorism: A New Perspective

I've been wondering lately about the word "terrorism" and its various definitions. It is certainly an appropriate inquiry considering today's world environment. What does it mean and how is the word applied? Is terrorism always for a political purpose? Is it always one group against the establishment or can there be other applications as well? Can there be personal terrorism? Can it be one person against another or a small group against one person and then not for a particular political gain but for some psychotic need to control?

Generally speaking, the word terrorism is used to describe the unlawful or harmful acts committed or threatened against someone for a political or ideological gain. One group trying to effect a change in another group often uses the term to describe the acts. The disfavored group is forced to change because of actual harm done to its members or the threat of harm or continued harm. It is the attempt to force the control of one group over the lives of another.

Terrorism has mostly been used to effect the control of one group's political agenda over another's political agenda. This has been the traditional definition. The chief means to accomplish this has been through violence, a deliberate targeting of non-combatants, all things unlawful, and using whatever means to create an atmosphere of psychological instability. They want to make you afraid.

There is also a slightly different definition of the word terrorism. There is non-political terrorism, which has interested me of late. This application of terrorism is when a political agenda is not in the mind of the terrorist but for an individual or collective gain. These people have a definite and conscious motive to create a spirit of fear in someone else. They want to initiate and sustain such an environment of fear to force someone to do their bidding. You believe and say one thing and they want you to believe and say what they want you to say. Their intent is to force you to conform to their views.

Can it be said then, that when someone doesn't like what you do, say, write, and by threats of physical harm, lawsuits, imprisonment, try to coerce you to do their bidding, that they are terrorists?

I wonder.

Submitted by:

Douglas Bower

Learning a New Language Has Never Been Easier


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