Although America is made out to be one of the greatest nations on earth, it has it's fare share of problems. Most of the problems are minor and just need to be dealt with to properly correct them; however, most of them are not as insignificant. Terrorism has recently been on the rise and it's becoming a great threat to all American's lives. From minor protests to the Unabomber and the Oklahoma City Federal Building; terrorism is rapidly growing in America and something must be done to prevent it from engulfing the basic carefree lifestyle of the American.
Terrorism is not new to the United States, in fact it's been around for quite some time. Ever since the first war in America broke out terrorism has been a constant threat. One of the earliest terrorist acts was committed in 1963 when four young girls were crushed after a bomb demolished a Baptist Church in Birmingham (Greene 1). Terrorism creates continual worries that people are, but should not have to worry about.
Terrorism can come in as many different styles as one can think and at any given time, usually when it is expected least. The Congressional Research Service warns that terrorists are not those acting on behalf of established governments or militant organizations, but are motivated by religious zeal or greed (Stanglin 1). Kroll and Associates is a New York based, security consulting firm which is currently debating whether foreign or domestic terrorism poses the greater threat (Morganthau 1). With the recent horror stories reflecting the victims of the Unabomber and the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building, Americans would have to say that domestic terrorism is the greater threat at this time.
The Unabomber, a fellow American, terrorized the country by mailing bombs and delivering other means of destruction across the country. One of the many victims, John Hauser, tells of how he was working in the engineering lab at Cal-Berkeley when he saw something that looked similar to a container which one of his colleagues frequently used to carry personal items. When he reached over to pick it up, curious to whom it belonged, it exploded, blowing his arm off to his right side. He looked down and saw that all his fingers were mangled. Each was missing two sections and his pointer a little more. He was able to read the words "Academy" in the plaster where his air force ring-which he wore on his right hand ring finger-had blown off and hit the wall. His career as an Air Force pilot was over. This is only one of the numerous victims whose life was dramatically changed by the infamous Unabomber (Hauser 40).
It is now known to the nation that Timothy McVeigh is responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. It is also known that McVeigh was a decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War. The intended purpose of terrorism is to create alarm. The goal is to attract publicity to the terrorists and their cause. McVeigh's actions were in protest of the Waco Standoff, he believed that the rights of the people involved were trampled. But is killing 150 adults and nineteen kids the best way to gain attention to a persons views on the action of the Federal Government (Combating 2)
Brian Jenkins, a counter terrorism expert for Kroll and Associates said, "The threat assessment as at an all time High." The reason for this is the ability of anyone to obtain means of destruction. Anyone can get their hands on guns these days, legally or not. Americans have seen that anyone can make a fertilizer bomb without too much trouble. Even more scary is how easily one can acquire chemical and biological agents, even nuclear weapons. In April of 1993 a fifty-four year old man was stopped at the Canadian border by customs officials who found packages of ricin, known in the chemistry world as one of the most deadly chemical agents. The man possessed enough to kill over 32,000 people. Another man was able to mail order two vials of bubonic plague which were delivered to his house. Police raided the house on a tip and found the vials along with grenade detonators and other parts. He later confessed to planning on making "germ grenades," which could have caused another plague epidemic in the U.S.. These are only a few of the many hundreds of terrorists that are caught in time (Morganthau 1-3).
Each day there are terrorists planning their great attack on the U.S.. In Oklahoma, the police arrested two people whom they discovered making fertilizer bombs in their home. The people were planning to use the bombs to attack gay bars, abortion clinics, and other establishments of controversy (Morganthau 3). Just before the Olympics this summer in Atlanta, two more people were arrested on a tip to the ATF. The people had made twelve or so pipe bombs which they were planning to take to the games with them (Morganthau 2). It is easy to realize that this is a scary time to be alive in the world.
With all this terrorism going on in the world surely American's are doomed to die a terrorist death. The Government is trying to do something about it, but can they do anything? It can't prevent Americans from possessing guns, that right is guaranteed by the Constitution. It is simply impossible to prevent the distribution of chemical and other warfare. The government; however, is trying to get the authority to bar members of terrorist groups from obtaining citizenship in the United States. It is also trying to help control the spread of terrorism by prohibiting charitable contributions to groups deemed terrorist by the President or the Secretary of State (Combating 1). Are these so called solutions going to help? Only time will tell. There isn't much anyone can do. The only hope is that terrorists might realize how ineffective terrorism is.
Terrorism is getting out of control in America. It is greatly affecting the everyday lives of those who have been victims and those closely related to terrorist acts. Whether or not the solutions proposed by the government work or not, the fact is it has got to stop.
Woods Cross High School
"Combating Terrorism." CQ Researcher. July 21, 1995: 635.
Greene, Melissa Fay. "The Fire Last Time." Newsweek. June 24, 1996: 34.
Hauser, John. "What the Unabomber Did to Me." Newsweek. April 15, 1996: 40.
Morganthau, Tom. "A Shadow Over the Olympics." Newsweek. May 6, 1996: 34.
Stanglin, Douglas; and others. "Terrorism Watch." US News and World
Report. October 9, 1995: 30.
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