Terrorism: A Loaded Word



  1. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorizing a civilian population



  1. A person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims.


Terrorism has become one of the most loaded words in the English language and if we use these definitions, then we are no closer to understanding what they actually mean.

Terrorism comes from the words terror and terrorize.  Terrorizing can be something as simple as bugging the hell out of your sibling, to targeting huge populations of people for violent political action.  So  where does terrorizing end, and terrorism begin?

First, lets talk about what is defined as a terrorist.

Usually, you think of someone like this..

But what about these people?

These kids may not be looking to upset the way of politics, but this is a form of terrorizing others.  Let us also look at these images.


This is also a form of terrorizing others.

So, what makes these different?   In all honesty it seems to go from bully to bigger bully.

The difference is not as big as you think.

To be a terrorist, or commit acts of terrorism is to commit violent crimes against  a large group of people for the political gain.  Think of these people as political bullies.   Some things that could be considered terrorism would be  hate crimes.  The Civil Rights Era was full of them.  The KKK was the al-Qaeda of the south.  Violence against the LGBT community, women and children could all be considered acts of terrorism.  These acts all target a specific group of people.  Though high school bullying is an awful thing that targets specific individuals, and is considered terrorizing, I would not go so far as to call it a terrorist act.  It is not done to take away political power from a whole ethic group in order to gain your own.

Another problem is the picture of terrorism that we put out.  We make terrorists seem like middle eastern men and women wearing hijabs.  That’s just not true.   I think that if we want to fight terrorism we should just be more aware of how we use it, and what it really is.






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