Who knew that humanity was capable of destroying each other in hopes of declaring one’s own commitment to a diverse culture? Also deemed as terrorism, this chaotic act is pursued globally. Whether it be executed within a country’s borders or thousands of miles away in another foreign country, terrorism has connected the lands from around the world. Terrorism has not yet been defined acceptably, but it has a hazy distinction between being a terrorist or a freedom fighter depending on one’s point of view.
One of the most infamous terrorist attacks would be 9/11 in America. This historical event evoked a variety of emotions not only within the United States, but internationally. As expected, terrorism became more well known since. Responses, counters, threats, and “solutions” are continuously being proposed as a reaction to terrorism.
Within the United States, there has been a heightened emphasis to working against terrorism. Ever since the 9/11 attack, the government is focused “to build a new homeland security enterprise to better mitigate and defend against dynamic threats, minimize risks, and maximize the ability to respond and recover from attacks and disasters of all kinds” (DHS).
In other words, the Department of Homeland Security works endlessly to revolutionize its organization. They are striving to advance their skills, abilities, and technologies to be better prepared for any oncoming terrorist attacks. On the other hand, the citizens of America have to be more alert and aware of their communities as a response to terrorism. Although they may not have mighty power over security compared to the government, citizens are no longer nonchalant about their safety.
Safety and security are definitely seen as a higher priority now since the 9/11 incident. As the Department of Homeland Security states, “our nation is stronger than it was on 9/11, more prepared to confront evolving threats, and more resilient in the face of our continued challenges.” The response shown by the United States is simply growth, preparation, and concentration.
Along with the emphasis on safety and security comes strategies to counter future acts of terrorism. Specifically in the United States, counteracting mechanisms now include “weapons of mass destruction, infrastructure security, the REAL ID Act, and “If You See Something, Say Something” program.” (DHS). The given list brief, but it could truly go on and on. To explain one by one, weapons of mass destruction is progressing within terrorist groups and the weapons of America must advance as well. Weapons are continuously being developed, tested, and shared within the government to be used successfully in the face of terrorism. Devices are even created to detect any smuggling of dangerous weapons that could correlate with terrorism (DHS). Next, infrastructure security is strengthening so that these networks are able to get quickly revitalized after an attack occurred (DHS). Millions of people depend on such infrastructures, so they must be secured and stabilized as soon as possible. The government also formed the REAL ID Act which hardens the requirements to issuing IDs and limits access to federal agencies; this prevents any unknown/unwanted personnel into powerful federal frameworks (DHS). Last but certainly not least is the “If You See Something, Say Something” program. This puts the power in the citizens’ hands where they are responsible for reporting any suspicious acts to avoid possible detrimental incidents. The United States amped up their counters against terrorism to protect its people and its land.
Governments globally use the threat of terrorism to increase their surveillance of its people. As possible terrorist acts are feared, surveillance over society is essential to thwart potential encounters. Surveillance is highlighted by the advancements in equipments that are made to delve deeper into personal space. While many people find this intrusive, the government sees it as a reasonable method to catch suspicious citizens. It is no secret that technology is owned by everyone which gives easy access to surveil the population. From the hundreds of cameras built within cities, millions of laptops filled with private information within homes, and tiny proficient smartphones in everybody’s pockets, there are numerous ways to track and watch over people now. Even more, airport security has become stricter in order to protect countries from intruders. TSA hands-on inspections, full-body scanners, and even luggage scanners go past individual space to ensure safety. There have been numerous happenstances of people protesting such invasive surveillance techniques. The capabilities of surveillance over a country’s group of citizens is limitless as a response to terrorism.
Terrorism continues to pose a threat to countries worldwide. As mentioned before, terrorism has yet to be universally defined. It is remotely dangerous and challenging to have one acceptable definition for terrorism. That is why defining terrorism is a slippery slope argument where any approach would inevitably lead to negative consequences. Terrorism is simply too intricate to coin a definition for. As the quote goes, “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” When trying to determine what terrorism is, there are too many points of view that could not be settled into one unity. It will be difficult to define the word without settling who would be the innocent and who would be the criminal (Larkin), which makes the “slippery slope” evident. To one person, the accused could have portrayed an act as chaotic as terrorism, but to another the act was mere mischief for a justifiable motive. Let’s put this scenario into an example. Imagine that a group of enslaved men rebelled against its government; they brought torches, pitchforks, and overall violence. To those men and their supporters, they were simply fighting for their rights and freedoms; however, the attacked government sees this as illegal misconduct and executes them. In the past, that group would have been called “terrorists”. Now, they are labeled “heroes” and “freedom fighters” (Larkin). Terrorism has too many blurred lines that prevent it from having a distinct and exact definition, and it will only lead to a “slippery slope”.
In a nutshell, terrorism continuously enacts an innate fear in billions of people and hundreds of countries worldwide. There is no possible way to truly defeat terrorism as a whole. Terrorism has been passed down for centuries in history, and it is growing as time passes by. Yet, it is feasible to try to act and prevent terrorism from reigning upon one’s country. The concept of terrorism brings along its expected reactions, resistances, risks, and “resolutions.” Governments and their citizens endlessly strive to a safer homeland. Counteracting mechanisms are put in place in the hopes that they will achieve such a goal. Surveillances throughout the hundreds of countries are enforced to track potential terrorists. Terrorism, no matter which way it is tackled, leads to an unavoidable slippery slope.