Assignment 1

1380 words - 6 pages

The terms terrorism and domestic terrorism are very similar concepts. There are, however, slight differences in each. Entities that are apart of the Government have slightly different ways of explaining what they believe to be the correct definition of terrorism and domestic terrorism. In this paper the author will offer definitions of the two terms and state which one they agree with the most. The author will also state how the two terms are best differentiated.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines terrorism on the basis of three characteristics. In order for an act to be considered terrorism, it needs to be (1) a violent act, or acts dangerous to human life that violates laws; (2) appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerces civilian population; (ii) to influence policies of a government by coercion or intimidation; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, kidnapping, or assassination. The third characteristic that needs to be present is (3) the act needs to occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or surpass national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum (Definitions, 2013).
In slightly different words, the American Heritage Cultural Dictionary defines terrorism as “Acts of violence committed by groups that view themselves as victimized by some notable historical wrong.” Many times these groups do not have a formal connection with government affairs, but they do have financial a moral backing from sympathetic governments. These groups typically stage attacks on civilian targets that are quite unexpected. They also attack embassies and airliners, in attempts to show fear and confusion. Israel has been the sight of frequent terrorism attacks, but the United States has been on the rise (Dictionary.com, a).
Again, slightly different than the previous definitions, Title 22 of the U.S. Code, Section 2656f(d) provides a definition for terrorism. They elucidate that terrorism is a “premeditated, politically motivated, violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups of clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience,” (National Institute of Justice).
All of the definitions that the author has presented tend to share a common theme. In each of the previous definitions, the use of force that is intended to coerce or sway a course of action that furthers a social, or political goal. In most cases, the FBI definition is the one most widely used and accepted by law enforcement entities (National Institute of Justice). The author seconds that the FBI definition is the one that she agrees with the most. The FBI definition seems like the only one that doesn’t leave anything out. It is the most descriptive, and unlike the American Heritage definition, it broadens the scope of terrorists from...

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