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Crime and Terrorism
What Is Terrorism?



What Is Terrorism?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.95

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    antinuclear, coercion, counterterrorism, hijacking, ideological, Murrah, therein, precedent, horrific, vengeance, economic, unconventional, terrorism, far-reaching, suicide, distribution
     content words:    World Trade Center, United States, French Revolution, Red Brigades, Weather Underground, Northern Ireland, Popular Front, Israeli El Al, Tel Aviv, Alfred P.


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What Is Terrorism?
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     What do you think of when you hear the word terrorism? Many people will think about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. These were horrific attacks, especially considering over 3,000 people lost their lives that day. Unfortunately, though, that is not the only terrorist attack in history. Terrorism has existed in the world for quite a long time.
 
2     What exactly is terrorism? Well, there are many different definitions out there. However, these definitions have certain things in common. Terrorism involves extraordinary violence. It is intended to create massive fear and involves a planned attack for a purpose, often against something or someone. Terrorism is meant to have an audience. The differences between various terrorist attacks involve the people, purpose, and how it is carried out.
 
3     Terrorism is a technique; it's a criminal activity and is planned in advance. For example, did you know that the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Kenya in 1998 was planned for 5 years? You can see that terrorism is an act meant to produce fear without caring about human life. The definition of terrorism used by the government of the United States refers to intimidation of civilians, the influence of government policy by coercion or fear, or trying to change the government by assassination or kidnapping.
 
4     While terrorism is meant to be an act of violence to bring about change, it is usually not committed by those officially in the government. Usually, terrorist groups have fewer members than you would think. They want to be dramatic and attract attention by carrying out a bloody act. They hope to gain power and influence because of the act.
 
5     The terrorists want to create fear so that leadership will be questioned. The terrorists want an audience, such as a rival ethnic group, a religious group, or an entire country. The terrorists want this audience to experience far-reaching fear.

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