Terrorism - the systematic use of terror as a means of coercion.
While terrorism has always been an important global issue, the twenty-first century has seen unprecedented attacks that have stripped bare the insular mindset of many Americans. During the first days following 9/11, cities all over the nation were unnaturally quiet. The people who did venture out spent much of their time looking up in fear and wonder. For Xers and later generations, 9/11 was the first attack to penetrate illusions of domestic immunity.
If there is an upside to the attacks it's that awareness was raised, particularly in the U.S. September 11th provoked individuals to investigate the threat of terrorism for themselves, including researching causes of terrorism and steps that individual citizens can take to help combat terrorism. What these people have learned is that everyone can help. As it takes a village to raise a child, it takes global awareness to develop unification and increased safety.
Take the following steps and fight fear of terrorism with personal empowerment.
- Learn. What is suspicious activity?
- People performing surveillance (taking pictures, notes, videos, or asking odd questions)
- People retrieving or disposing of items in a body of water
- Abandoned vehicles or vessels in odd locations
- Small planes flying over sensitive areas
- Damaged lighting or fencing near sensitive areas
- Remember that you are the best judge of what is unusual in your area. Be observant, and don't be afraid to --
Act. Call your local police. Tell the operator that you would like to make a suspicious activity report pertaining to Homeland Security.
- Trust. Provide your contact information so that if officials have any questions they can call you and take appropriate action in a timely manner. Don't rush to judgment; trust officials to take appropriate action while keeping your identity confidential.
While the causes of terrorism are as diverse as the individuals who initiate the attacks, suspicious activity is easy to spot with an observant eye. Fear of terrorism need not be rampant as it was in the weeks and months after 9/11 if everyone plays a part in protecting his or her own community. Pay attention and don't be afraid to do your part to combat terrorism.