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Terrorism is a term that strikes fear into the nerves of most people. Humankind has practiced terrorist acts since the beginning of recorded history. The acts have made kingdoms to rise, fall, and enabled individuals to gain authority. Terrorist acts are increasingly becoming a major difficulty in the current unsteady world. A simple terrorist act is able to result in the breakage of tensions between two nations.
For example, the Israelis and Palestinians are constantly engaged in quarrels because of religious beliefs and territorial disagreements. Types of terrorist incidents include conflicts with neighboring nations, bombings of cities, kidnappings and hostage-takings, armed attacks and assassinations, arsons and firebombing, hijacking and skyjackings, bioterrorism, and cyber terrorism. There are many ways for preventing terrorist acts.
Preventing terrorist acts
Although terrorism is not new, it is a difficult word to define since varied definitions exist for the word. The Department of Defense states that 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” (cited in United States Marine Corps, p.1).
Since terrorism is revealing itself in new forms today, one method of preventing terrorist acts is by the use of a team that is specially designed to rescue the hostages captured by terrorists. This team should have the ability of going into buildings, planes, or anywhere the hostages might be to carry out the rescue mission. This can assist in combating terrorism and saving the lives of the innocent hostages.
On September 5, 1972, eight Arab terrorists made their way into the Olympic stadium in Munich, West Germany. They shot and killed two Israelis and took nine others as hostages (Bard, para.3). They then settled into the compound for a siege and made various demands to the Israeli government. After fruitless negotiations, the Arab terrorists left the stadium with their hostages for the Furstenfeldbruck military airport.
The terrorists were well trained and they easily avoided traps set by the West Germans. At the airport, there was an exchange of fire between the Arab terrorists and the West German sharpshooters. This incident left all the hostages and five Arab terrorists’ dead. If there were a trained team to handle the situation, all the hostages would not have passed away. This loss of innocent lives can be attributed to the poorly trained West German police who failed to handle the threat professionally.
Terrorist acts can also be prevented by gun control. This initiative lowers the number of dangerous weapons within the reach of terrorists. The introduction of this background check is able to reduce significantly the number of terrorism incidents. A simple measure such as enacting a rule of having a considerable waiting period at gun shows is able to lower terrorist acts.
It is likely that a group of individuals can go into the show one at a time, and buy a number of weapons to use in performing terrorist acts. Presently at gun shows, any person who is above eighteen years old is allowed to purchase weapons. Even though a total ban on guns would not bring to an end the unauthorized entry of weapons into the country, it would reduce its availability to potential terrorists.
It is important to identify potential terrorists before they are able to attack.
Most of the times it is announced after a terrorist attack that the individual responsible for the incident had terrorist connections in the past. Now if he or she had terrorist connections, why was he or she permitted to live freely? Living freely enables the terrorist to plan effectively for an attack.
Prevention of terrorist acts can be enhanced by having a monitoring system that keeps track of individuals with suspected histories of terrorism, or possibly connections to terror groups. Governmental agencies, for example, the FBI can then keep a watchful eye of the individuals’ communications.
This strategy limits the communication between the suspect, and his or her terrorist group. Even though the suspect would not be a prisoner, he or she would be on parole; this would enable him or her to continue living a normal productive life. The place where the person stays can be searched to get any clues on his or her motives. This can assist in the War on Terror since the individual would have limited opportunities of facilitating an attack.
Soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the U.S. government made major organizational changes. The Department of Homeland Security was thereafter formed on November 25, 2002. This preventive strategy is helpful in preventing further attacks on the U.S. The Department is endowed with the responsibility of preparing, preventing, and managing threats due to terrorism by gathering, analyzing, and effectively sharing intelligence information (Department of Homeland Security, 42).
In order to prevent terrorist acts, it is essential to reinforce intelligence collection to prohibit the actions of those who are intending to create havoc. Careful analysis and sharing of the sensitive information gathered should occur across all the levels of the government. Adequate investments should be made to improve the ability to share and analyze the information collected.
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Bioterrorism is one of the most dreaded forms of terrorist acts worldwide as it is able to wipe out a large number of people within a short time (Gaines, 15). All it requires is a person having a small portion of powdered anthrax or any other deadly chemical to get to a busy place, and release the virus or the chemical.
People around the place would then inhale the contaminated air as the powder spreads in the form of fine dust. The result is catastrophic since many people can die. Now it is difficult to prevent such things. However, a method of reducing the number of casualties in such a scenario is to ensure that each person is vaccinated against ailments that are spread easily, for example, anthrax or ebola.
Therefore, every effort should be made to ensure that enough doses of the vaccine are available to everyone. In addition, every country should ensure that it has adequate number of experts trained on biological warfare and countermeasures are available to combat any incident of bioterrorism.
Efforts should be made to prevent the emergence of violent Islamic radicalization in any country since most terrorists arise from such groups. Engaging key communities as partners in the fight against terrorism, identifying and countering the possible sources of Islamic radicalization, improving the ability of the governmental agencies to address radicalization issues, and enhancing the citizens understanding of radicalization, can achieve this preventive strategy.
The world is increasingly becoming digitalized. Currently, the strength of the world’s economy has been founded on the effective use of digital information. However, the worldwide digital infrastructure, composed mainly of the internet, is not free from fraudulent deals. That is why the cyberspace must be protected from terrorist threats.
This calls for a strong vision and leadership to transform policies, technology, and education in order to keep the cyberspace free from such threats. Some countries, for example, the U.S., are engaged in training Citizen Corps to increase the chances of saving more lives in the case of an attack. The Citizen Corps are trained volunteers who are ready to give assistance in case an emergency occur. As much as they give assistance, they are able to detect terrorist threats and respond accordingly to prevent the loss of lives.
The terrorists groups have demonstrated that they are eager to obtain weapons of mass destruction and use them on innocent people. Efforts should be made to prevent their acquisition of these dangerous weapons. This is achievable by detecting, interrupting, and interdicting the uncontrolled movement of terrorist groups around the world. Every country ought to enhance its border security to deter terrorists from exploiting the legitimate entry points into the country (Bush, 24).
All immigrants should be thoroughly screened to determine their eligibility of getting into any country. Since a number of potential terrorists might try to enter a country through illicit pathways, efforts should be made to disrupt this move by adopting an integrated system of individuals, technology, and tactical infrastructure through having secure borders. Appropriate technologies should be available that ensures easier identification and detection of the movement of terrorists.
In some cultures, religion and politics are connected. Therefore, a person sees it as a great honor to sacrifice his or her life on a suicide mission.
Suicide bombings are nowadays commonly used in the Middle East and in other parts of the world. Suicide bombings can be prevented by erecting two-foot concrete pillars around key buildings to avoid drive up bombings, undertaking one’s activities in secure places, maintaining vigilance against all people, and avoiding suspicious looking people.
Other prevention strategies include rejecting any requests to carry the belongings of a stranger, familiarizing oneself with emergency first aid equipment as this can control damage in case of an attack, and notifying the authorities on receiving a suspicious letter or parcel.
In spite of excellent prevention measures that can be practiced, terrorist acts are sometimes unavoidable. Therefore, efforts should be made to minimize the effects of this catastrophe by development of improved alert, notification, and warning systems. These warning systems have to be completely reliable, effective, and flexible to avoid further damages from happening.
Pre-incident alerts should relay intelligence information to people regardless of their geographical locations. The relaying of this information must go on even after the incident. This should give situational updates and suitable directions to follow to avert further loss of lives.
Terrorism against the U.S. and in other nations is still a huge problem; however, a lot can be done to reduce it by adequate initiatives for prevention, detection, and action. The War on Terror will not be won if people relax and stop taking any actions to ensure its success. The society needs to create stringent measures to prevent terrorist organizations from emerging and evolving. With these adequate preventive measures, terrorism can be reduced significantly.
Bard, Mitchell. “The Munich Massacre.” Jewish virtual library. The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. 2010. Web. https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/background-and-overview-munich-olympic-massacer
Bush, George W. “Overview of America’s National Strategy for Homeland Security.” National Strategy for Homeland Security. 5 Oct. 2007. Web. https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/nat_strat_homelandsecurity_2007.pdf
Gaines, Peter. Terrorism Past, Present and Future. New York: Bantam, 1987.
The Department of Homeland Security. United States Department of Homeland Security handbook. Washington: International Business publications, 2006.
United States Marine Corps. Individual’s Guide for Understanding and Surviving Terrorism. New York: Cosimo Publications.