According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, there is no single, universally-accepted definition of terrorism. In the Code of Federal Regulations, terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” In layman’s terms, terrorists cause terror and fear in order to achieve the goals that they have. They use violence in the form of propaganda, chemical, biological, projectile, radiological, nuclear, and explosive weapons to promote themselves and their objectives.
For many years, terrorism was perceived to be of little threat to the American people. However, history shows a much different story. From the Bath School Massacre of 1927 to the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, acts of terrorism have occurred on American soil. As a result of these incidents, many lives have been lost and countless others have been injured. Today, terrorism is classified as either a domestic or an international act. Domestic terrorism is an act of terrorism by a person or group that is based and operating entirely within the United States or one of its provinces. International terrorism is classified as an act of terrorism by a person or group that is based outside of the United States. However, it is apparent that there are those individuals, both from other countries and among our own population, who are willing to harm or kill another in an effort to force their own ideas and beliefs onto others. While terrorism may seem like a “big city” problem, we are greatly at risk to acts of terrorism as well. In 2009, a Jordanian national was arrested and eventually sentences to prison for planning an attack on a Dallas skyscraper. The Jordanian national chose a rural location just outside of our region to manufacture his weapons.
How to be Prepared
- Have an emergency supply kit ready
- Identify an internal room that you can shelter in and block out contaminated air
- Utilize time, distance, and shielding to minimize exposure to harmful agents
- Follow direction from officials
- Stay alert and informed at all times.
- Know emergency evacuation plans and routes for your workplace or school.