According to the United States Department of Defense terrorism is “the calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological” (United States Training and Doctrine Command, 2007, p. 2). Terrorists use violence and intimidation to stimulate fear in many individuals. They also use the threat of various types of attacks, such as traditional attacks (e.g. bombings), and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) attacks to create an environment of fear. Although Americans may remain fearful of terrorist attacks, they remain resilient, ensuring that their infrastructure is resilient as well. An example of America’s resilience is the reconstruction of the World Trade Center. A memorial was built in place of the World Trade Center that collapsed to demonstrate that these victims may be gone, but they are not forgotten. The topics of terrorism, homegrown terrorists, CBRN attacks, and resiliency are vital in understanding how terrorist use these themes to generate fear in U.S. citizens.
Terrorism, Fear, and Intimidation
Terrorists use fear as a weapon to scare their targets, which allows them to achieve the objective of frightening civilians. Creating an environment of terror makes the terrorist feel like they have supremacy over those individuals that they are targeting (TRADOC, 2007). Creating fear over their opposition makes terrorist feel powerful (TRADOC, 2007). Terrorist may continue to feel power if the groups targeted are not resilient and fail to demonstrate to the terrorist that they are willing to fight back. Although terrorist attacks do not occur as frequently as natural disasters, when they do happen they can cause mass casualties (TRADOC, 2007). For example, the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 were not only uncommon, but killed around 3,000 individuals.
Fear of terrorist attacks causes some individuals to change their daily activities with the intentions of avoiding another or similar attacks (Eisenman et al., 2009). For example, some individuals may avoid areas near the World Trade Center in fear that another attack may take place. However, terrorism can incite feelings of fear when attacks are a continuous occurrence (Tavor, 2011). For example, terrorist attacks occurred in the United States, in Europe, and against troops that are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, terrorist are not only trying to target those that were directly affected by the attacks, but those watching the news reports after the attacks occur (Tavor, 2011). Terrorists want more than a small group of individuals to fear them, but the billions of people watching as well (Tavor, 2011). Individuals learn about terrorist attacks through the various forms of media, such as the television, radio, internet, newspaper, etc. (Tavor, 2011). Hearing...