The quest for peace, happiness, and tranquility are the ultimate desires of all humans. A placid emotional state that is individually subjective. Individuals have a right to pursue the happiness they desire. And yet strife, injustice, want, and oppression are what most individuals on earth experience, to varying degrees. These iniquities spawn increasing acts of terrorism and are characteristic of a variety of despondent groups. Will terrorism be a world-wide scourge in the 21st century? What interaction is there between terrorists and the television media? What is the responsibility of each person on this planet to minimize the negative consequences of terrorism?
September 11, 2001, marked a significant point in the history of humans. It distinctly highlights the culmination of 20th century injustices in the nascent 21st century (Newman, 2008). Terrorism affects people worldwide and it is now a either a subliminal or a conscious stress factor in the lives of many people today. As Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s former minister of defense, wrote: “Fear of terrorism has become the normal way of life for many people all over the world” (Eitan. 2008). Everyone on earth has been directly affected by terrorism as seen by increased security at airports, at national seaports, and at border patrol and customs centers. Every American is affected indirectly by increased taxes to pay for better homeland security and increased government preparedness.
Northern Ireland and the Middle East have been living with terrorism for decades. Terrorism has left its mark on many European and Central and South American countries. And through television, radio, and the press, many Americans have become acquainted with terrorist violence on a daily basis. Terrorist bombs, murders, and kidnappings have become so frequent that the American public has become callous towards these horrific events. As a consequence the abnormal seems normal, the unthinkable thinkable, and in some countries, such as Lebanon, the intolerable is tolerated (Said, 2006). Terrorism is a fact of life due to the news media, who have converted terrorist leaders and groups into household names.
Defining terrorism depends on which side of the issue one may find themselves. Are the subversives of El Salvador terrorists or a ‘people’s national liberation movement’? Are the contras of Nicaragua terrorists, or are they “freedom fighters”? Terrorism, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder and an individual’s political persuasion can distort that definition. Benjamin Netanyahu, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, offered this definition of terrorism: “The deliberate and systematic murder, maiming, and menacing of the innocent to inspire fear for political ends” (Netanyahu, 2001). In an article written by Michael Staples, Major James Scott Taylor Jr. defines terrorism in the following quote:
Terrorism is “usually characterized by a variety of tactics, such as...