Terrorism has become one of the major concerns of people living in the modern world. Many people worldwide die because of this phenomenon. It is important to note that the number of people’s death in terroristic attacks is decreasing.
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Thus, according to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) the number of deaths dropped 12% compared to 2009 (NCTC 2010 Report on Terrorism 5). However, to estimate the negative effects of this phenomenon it is important to define what terrorism is.
One of the major characteristic features of terrorism is that terrorists aim at drawing as much attention to their attacks, their motives and their ideas as possible (Ruby 9). In fact, terroristic attacks are not aimed at killing people as it is.
Terrorists are more concerned with public attention to their actions. Admittedly, the more people die the more attention is drawn to every instance. Thus, one of the deadliest attacks took place in New York in 2001 when more than 6,000 people died (Ruby 9).
Notably, Ruby compares the number of deaths in this attack with the number of deaths in car accidents (42,000) claiming that terroristic attacks evoke more grief as terrorists violently and arrogantly murder people to pursue their own objectives (10).
It is necessary to note that there are quite many definitions of terrorism.1 One of these definitions highlights major aspects of the phenomenon defining terrorism “as politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience” (Ruby 10). Researchers single out three central factors.
First, terrorists are considered to be politically motivated. Besides, they can be motivated by ideology. Admittedly, these two notions are closely connected. Thus, terrorists try to ‘promote’ (or make people know about) their political and ideological views.
The second central characteristic feature of terrorism is that terrorists attack noncombatants. Thus, when military people die, it is considered to be horrible but quite common. However, it is seemed unacceptable when civilians die. This draws more attention which is one of the major aims of terrorists.
Finally, the third characteristic feature is that terrorist attacks are conducted by “clandestine agents”, i.e. people (potential victims) do not anticipate any danger (Ruby 11). This covert nature of terrorism enables terrorist groups to commit various attacks. People are often unprepared to react.
Nonetheless, it is necessary to point out that the number of deaths has decreased during past two years. According to NCTC number of terrorist attack has increased by about five percent. However, the number of terrorist attacks causing deaths decreased (NCTC 2010 Report on Terrorism).
It is also important to note that now 75% of terrorist attacks take place in the Near East and South Asia. Notably, the number of terrorist attacks in Europe, Africa, Americas and western hemisphere decreased. Though, in 2010 more than 11,500 attacks took place in more than 70 countries. These attacks caused more than 13,000 deaths (the overall number of victims is about 50,000).
To sum up, terrorism is a complex phenomenon which has become one of the characteristic features of the beginning of the twenty-first century. Researchers provide several definitions of terrorism. Though, they agree that terrorism has four basic factors: terrorist attacks are aimed at drawing public attention, terrorist attacks are ideologically or politically motivated, terrorists attack civilians and terrorist attacks are conducted by clandestine agents.
NCTC 2010 Report on Terrorism. 30 Apr. 2011. Web.
Ruby, C. “The Definition of Terrorism.” Analysis of Social Issues and Public Policy 2.1 (2002): 9-14. Print.
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See Ruby for more insights into the analysis of terrorism (9-14).