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 peticular 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 one man'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 12/14/96enforcement was actually implemented. Police aren'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....
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.
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