What Defines Terrorism?
Terrorism. In recent years, the topic seems to be a constant headline in our media with all of the shootings, bombings and other mass murders that have taken place. But what exactly defines terrorism in today’s society? Do the atrocious acts that are committed have to be for a cause (ISIS, KKK, Al Qaeda, etc.), or for no particular reason at all? Some may argue that terrorism only occurs when an organization strikes fear into a community by killing people in their own name or for a cause. This is prominent with groups like ISIS and other groups who kill in spite of Sharia Law and Islam. It can also be found in groups like the KKK and the Aryan Brotherhood who commit their acts to promote their hateful views. This past October there was lots of buzz generated around the New York attack that occurred on the afternoon of Halloween when a driver in a pickup truck deliberately drove the vehicle into a mile-long stretch of a bike path. The suspect, Sayfullo Habibullaevic had claimed that his actions were for ISIS, a globally known terrorist organization. Several months ago, when a gunman opened fire on a concert crowd in Las Vegas, killing dozens and wounding hundreds, the attack was not broadly branded an act of terrorism. However, that label was immediately attached to the attack in New York that killed eight people. So the question remains, do you have to be affiliated with a terrorist group to be a terrorist? I say that the statistics say otherwise. If you fire into a crowd, kill at least 59 people, and injure more than 500, you are not only a mass murderer, but you are also a terrorist. The gunman that shot his weapon in Las Vegas is just as much of a terrorist as Habibullaevic who killed for ISIS in New York. Terrorism is not a state of affiliation, where you can only be a terrorist if you are a part of a terrorist organization. Instead, if one commits any atrocious act that puts lives in danger, or takes lives altogether, they are a terrorist.